2011 AMC 12A Problems/Problem 24

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Consider all quadrilaterals $ABCD$ such that $AB=14$, $BC=9$, $CD=7$, and $DA=12$. What is the radius of the largest possible circle that fits inside or on the boundary of such a quadrilateral?

$\textbf{(A)}\ \sqrt{15} \qquad \textbf{(B)}\ \sqrt{21} \qquad \textbf{(C)}\ 2\sqrt{6} \qquad \textbf{(D)}\ 5 \qquad \textbf{(E)}\ 2\sqrt{7}$

Solution 1

Note as above that ABCD must be tangential to obtain the circle with maximal radius. Let $E$, $F$, $G$, and $H$ be the points on $AB$, $BC$, $CD$, and $DA$ respectively where the circle is tangent. Let $\theta=\angle BAD$ and $\alpha=\angle ADC$. Since the quadrilateral is cyclic(because we want to maximize the circle, so we set the quadrilateral to be cyclic), $\angle ABC=180^{\circ}-\alpha$ and $\angle BCD=180^{\circ}-\theta$. Let the circle have center $O$ and radius $r$. Note that $OHD$, $OGC$, $OFB$, and $OEA$ are right angles.

Hence $FOG=\theta$, $GOH=180^{\circ}-\alpha$, $EOH=180^{\circ}-\theta$, and $FOE=\alpha$.

Therefore, $AEOH\sim OFCG$ and $EBFO\sim HOGD$.

Let $x=CG$. Then $CF=x$, $BF=BE=9-x$, $GD=DH=7-x$, and $AH=AE=x+5$. Using $AEOH\sim OFCG$ and $EBFO\sim HOGD$ we have $r/(x+5)=x/r$, and $(9-x)/r=r/(7-x)$. By equating the value of $r^2$ from each, $x(x+5)=(7-x)(9-x)$. Solving we obtain $x=3$ so that $r=\boxed{\textbf{(C)}\ 2\sqrt{6}}$.

Solution 2

To maximize the radius of the circle, we also need to maximize its area. To maximize the area of the circle, the quadrilateral must be tangential (have an incircle). In a tangential quadrilateral, the sum of opposite sides is equal to the semiperimeter of the quadrilateral. $14+7=12+9$, so this particular quadrilateral has an incircle. By definition, given $4$ side lengths, a cyclic quadrilateral has the maximum area of any quadrilateral with those side lengths. Therefore, to maximize the area of the quadrilateral and thus the incircle, we assume that this quadrilateral is cyclic.

For cyclic quadrilaterals, Brahmagupta's formula gives the area as $\sqrt{(s-a)(s-b)(s-c)(s-d)}$ where $s$ is the semiperimeter and $a, b, c,$ and $d$ are the side lengths. Breaking it up into $4$ triangles, we see the area of a tangential quadrilateral is also equal to $r*s$. Equate these two equations. Substituting $s$, the semiperimeter, and $A$, the area and solving for $r$,we get $\boxed{\textbf{(C)}\ 2\sqrt{6}}$.

Solution 3 (Trigonometry)

By Pitot's Theorem, since $AB+CD=AD+BC$, there exists a circle tangent to all four sides of quadrilateral $ABCD$. Thus, we need to find the radius of this circle.

Let the circle be tangent to $AB$, $BC$, $CD$, and $AD$ at points $P$, $Q$, $R$, and $S$, respectively. Also, let $AP=x$. Then $AS$ also equals $x$. Let the center of the circle be $O$. Observe that $AO$ bisects angle $\angle A$, so $\cot\frac{A}{2}=\frac{x}{r}$. Moreover, $\cot\frac{C}{2}=\frac{9-(14-x)}{r}=\frac{x-5}{r}$. But $\angle \frac{C}{2}=90^\circ-\angle \frac{A}{2}$, so $\cot\frac{C}{2}=\tan\frac{A}{2}$, and we find that $\frac{r}{x}=\frac{x-5}{r}$. Hence, $r^2=x(x-5)$.

Similarly, $\cot\frac{B}{2}=\frac{14-x}{r}$, and $\cot\frac{D}{2}=\frac{12-x}{r}=\tan\frac{B}{2}=\frac{r}{14-x}$. Therefore, $r^2=\frac{12-x}{14-x}$. Putting this together with the above equation yields \[(12-x)(14-x)=x(x-5)\]\[\Longrightarrow x^2-26x+168=x^2-5x\]\[\Longrightarrow 21x=168\]\[\Longrightarrow x=8.\] Thus, $r^2=8(8-5)=8(3)=24$, and $r=\boxed{\textbf{(C)}\ 2\sqrt{6}}$.

See also

2011 AMC 12A (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 23
Followed by
Problem 25
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All AMC 12 Problems and Solutions

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