2007 UNCO Math Contest II Problems/Problem 9
A circle is inscribed in an equilateral triangle whose side length is . Then another circle is inscribed externally tangent to the first circle but inside the triangle as shown. And then another, and another. If this process continues forever what is the total area of all the circles? Express your answer as an exact multiple of (and not as a decimal approximation).
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Let be the equilateral triangle and let be the internal common tangent of the two largest circles, with the points and laying on the sides and , respectively.
Let be the point of tangency of the two circles.
Let be the inscribed circle's radius, with being its center and being the midpoint of . Let be the triangle's altitude. We can calculate using Pythagoras' Theorem:
From there we have . This means the scale factor of the similar triangles and is (because the ratio of their altitudes is equal to .)
Since the smaller circle is inscribed in , its radius is 3 times smaller than , i.e. equal to . Repeating this trend infinitely and summing all the areas gives us:
We have the geometric progression with a scale factor of and a common ratio of :
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