2014 AMC 12B Problems/Problem 12

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Problem

A set S consists of triangles whose sides have integer lengths less than 5, and no two elements of S are congruent or similar. What is the largest number of elements that S can have?

$\textbf{(A)}\ 8\qquad\textbf{(B)}\ 9\qquad\textbf{(C)}\ 10\qquad\textbf{(D)}\ 11\qquad\textbf{(E)}\ 12$

Solution

Define $T$ to be the set of all integral triples $(a, b, c)$ such that $a \ge b \ge c$, $b+c > a$, and $a, b, c < 5$. Now we enumerate the elements of $T$:

$(4, 4, 4)$

$(4, 4, 3)$

$(4, 4, 2)$

$(4, 4, 1)$

$(4, 3, 3)$

$(4, 3, 2)$

$(3, 3, 3)$

$(3, 3, 2)$

$(3, 3, 1)$

$(3, 2, 2)$

$(2, 2, 2)$

$(2, 2, 1)$

$(1, 1, 1)$

It should be clear that $|S|$ is simply $|T|$ minus the larger "duplicates" (e.g. $(2, 2, 2)$ is a larger duplicate of $(1, 1, 1)$). Since $|T|$ is $13$ and the number of higher duplicates is $4$, the answer is $13 - 4$ or $\boxed{\textbf{(B)}\ 9}$.

 2014 AMC 12B (Problems • Answer Key • Resources) Preceded byProblem 11 Followed byProblem 13 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5 • 6 • 7 • 8 • 9 • 10 • 11 • 12 • 13 • 14 • 15 • 16 • 17 • 18 • 19 • 20 • 21 • 22 • 23 • 24 • 25 All AMC 12 Problems and Solutions