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I'm forgetting my geometry. Can I solve this triangle?

  1. May 7, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    So I'm doing a physics problem, and I think I'd get the right answer if I solved this triangle. I don't know any angles. The base is 56 meters long, its height is 500 meters, and the difference between the other two sides is 4 meters. Can I figure out the sides based on this information?
    If not, can I at least find out the difference in position of the vertex between the two unknown sides if they were equal vs in this situation? I hope that makes sense.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2014 #2
    Yes. You have enough information to figure out the sides. Think Pythagorean Theorem.

  4. May 7, 2014 #3
    I am assuming you mean by dropping a perpendicular that is the height of the triangle, so it is split into two right triangles? I can't figure out what to do from there though because I don't know how the 52 m side is split.
  5. May 7, 2014 #4
    Split it into y and 56-y, and then get two equations in two unknowns. Of course, the other two sides are x and x+4.

  6. May 7, 2014 #5
    Thanks, I finally figured it out! Unfortunately, I got the wrong answer, so I'm approaching the actual physics problem wrong. At least I got some good geometry practice out of it :)
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