Similar triangles present one of the biggest tools students have to solve many geometry questions. And yet, whenever the opportunity arises, the students often fail to spot the similarity between two triangles. Sometime they spot the similarity but fail to apply the ratios correctly. Today we will start with some familiar cases in which we apply similarity of triangles and then move on to some tricky and difficult cases. We hope that after solving all these problems, you’ll not have any issue in spotting and solving similarity.
In practical scenario, we always prove that two triangles are similar by proving that their corresponding angles are equal. For example, look at the very simple figure below:
If you can prove that = and = then and are similar. In which case the ratios of the corresponding sides are equal. The best way to write the ratio of the sides is to write both the triangles in the order of the angle which are equal (for example here = , = and = so write ABC and PQR only) and then write the ratio by picking same corresponding points from the two written triangles. Therefore,
Since the ratios of all the lengths (sides, perpendicular bisectors, medians, etc.) become the same
Also, since area = length length, the ratio of the areas of the two triangle is square of the ratio of the sides. That means
Now let’s apply these concepts to these problems. But first, let’s have a look at some common similar triangles scenarios which occur very often. These figures should automatically scream ‘similarity’ in our minds:
Specially notice the second figure in the examples above, here but equal to . Therefore, writing the triangles in the order of angles which are equal,
Now let’s see some problems:
Problem 1: In the diagram given below, If AB: CD = 3: 1, the ratio of CD: PQ is (CAT 2003- Leaked)
1. 1: 0.69 2. 1: 0.75 3. 1: 0.72 4. None of these
This question is a mix of two common scenarios that we gave above, i.e. 3rd and 4th. Let’s use them one by one:
Therefore, if BP = 3x, CP = x.
Problem 2: In the figure, AB // DC. If the areas of and are 4 and 9 respectively, find the area of
1. 5 2. 6 3. 6.5 4. 9
Now In base BD is divided in the ratio 2: 3, therefore, the area will also be divided in the ratio 2: 3.
Problem 3: In the square ABCD, AB is extended and E is a point on AB such that CE intersects AD at F and BD at G. The length of FG and GC are 3 and 5 units, respectively. What is the length of EF?
1. 4 2. 5 3. 4.
If the students can notice, this question is a mix of the 2nd and 4th of the common scenarios that we have mentioned. Let’s solve this one by using both the similarity scenarios.
therefore, if BC = 5x, DF = 3x, then AF = 5x – 3x = 2x.
Now, therefore, therefore, or
Problem 4: Consider the triangle ABC shown in the following figure where BC = 12 cm, DB = 9 cm, CD = 6 cm and . What is the ratio of the perimeter of the triangle ADC to that of the triangle BDC? (CAT 2005)
1. 2. 3. 4.
The question is really very simple if we write the two similar triangles in the order of the corresponding angles which are equal. Here
Therefore, writing the ratios in the same order,
or AC = 8, and AB = 16. Now you can find the answer 🙂
Problem 5: Given right triangle ABC, AD = DB, DE is perpendicular to AB, AB = 20 and AC = 12, find the area of the quadrilateral ADEC.
1. 58.5 2. 56 3. 45 4. 37.5
Again, like the previous question, we write the triangles in the order of the corresponding angles which are equal. Therefore,
or DE = 7.5. And now required area = area of larger triangle – area of smaller triangle
Problem 6: PQRS is a rectangle. Diagonals PS and RQ intersect at point T. A perpendicular TU is drawn on PQ from T. U and R are joined. UR and PS intersect at V and a perpendicular VW is drawn on PQ. Now WR is drawn, intersecting PT at X and a perpendicular XY is drawn on PQ. If PQ = 90 units, find the length of PY.
1. 40 2. 22.5 3. 20 4. 15
Problem 7: In the figure given below, O is a point inside the triangle PQR. Line segments ST, UV, XW are drawn through O, parallel to the sides PR, RQ and PQ respectively. The areas if three triangles SOV, WOU and TOX are 9, 25 and 36 respectively. What is the area of triangle PQR?
1. 148 2. 169 3. 196 4. 200
We can see that the three triangles
OTX are similar (equal corresponding angles because of parallel lines). Since their areas are in the ratios 9: 25: 36, their sides will be in the ratios 3: 5: 6. So let, SO = 3x, WU = 5x, and OT = 6x. Check the figure below:
Since SOWP is a parallelogram, WP = 3x. For the same reason UR = 6x. Therefore, PR = 3x + 5x + 6x = 14x. Now
and the sides are in the ratio 3x: 14x = 3: 14. Therefore, the areas would be in the ratio, 9: 196. Therefore, the area of triangle PQR = 196
Let’s check out a problem where you cannot see similarity at first sight.
Problem 8: Both right triangle ABC and isosceles triangle BCD, have height 5 cm from base BC = 12 cm. Find area of triangle BEC.
Join A and D, and also drop a perpendicular, DP, from D to BC. Since BDC is an isosceles triangle and AB // DP, AD = BP = 6.
Now, A and D have the same height. Therefore, AD // BC. Therefore, Since therefore, the ratio of the heights also is 1: 2. Therefore, the height of Therefore, area