The 9-81-90 Triangle

In a previous post (right here), I explained the 18-72-90 triangle, derived from the regular pentagon. It looks like this:

18-72-90 triangle

I’m now going to attempt derivation of another “extra-special right triangle” by applying half-angle trigonometric identities to the 18º angle. After looking over the options, I’m choosing cot(θ/2) = csc(θ) + cot(θ). By this identity, cot(9°) = csc(18°) + cot(18°) = 1 + sqrt(5) + sqrt[2sqrt(5) + 5].

Since cotangent equals adjacent over opposite, this means that, in a 9-81-90 triangle, the side adjacent to the 9° angle has a length of 1 + sqrt(5) + sqrt[2sqrt(5) + 5], while the side opposite the 9° angle has a length of 1. All that remains, now, is to use the Pythagorean Theorem to find the length of the hypotenuse.

By the Pythagorean Theorem, and calling the hypotenuse h, we know that h² = (1)² + {[1 + sqrt(5)] + sqrt[2sqrt(5) + 5]}² = 1 + {2[(1 + √5)/2] + sqrt[(2√5) + 5]}² = 1 + {2φ + sqrt[(2√5) + 5]}², where φ = the Golden Ratio, or (1 + √5)/2, since I want to use the property of this number, later, that φ² = φ + 1.

Solving for h, h = sqrt(1 + {2φ + sqrt[(2√5) + 5]}²) = sqrt{1 + 4φ² + (2)2φsqrt[(2√5) + 5] + (2√5) + 5} = sqrt{6 + 4(φ + 1) + 4φsqrt[(2√5) + 5] + (2√5)} = sqrt{6 + 4φ + 4 + 4φsqrt[(2√5) + 5] + (2√5)} = sqrt{10 + 4[(1 + √5)/2] + 4φsqrt[(2√5) + 5] + (2√5)} = sqrt{10 + 2 + (2√5) + 4φsqrt[(2√5) + 5] + (2√5)} = sqrt{12 + (4√5) + 4[1 + √5)/2]sqrt[(2√5) + 5]} = sqrt{12 + (4√5) + (2 + 2√5)sqrt[(2√5) + 5]}, the length of the hypotenuse. Here, then, is the 9-81-90 triangle:

9-81-90 triangle


The 27-63-90 Triangle


The 27-63-90 Triangle

I’m not as pleased about finding this special right triangle as I was with the previous ones. For one thing, I didn’t use a regular polygon to derive it, but instead used the 36-54-90 triangle I had previously found, and applied a half-angle trigonometric identity to find the tangent of 27 degrees, as the tangent of half of 54 degrees. According to this identity, tan(27⁰) = (1 – cos(54⁰))/sin(54⁰). Once this gave me the leg lengths, I simply used the Pythagorean Theorem to determine the length of the hypotenuse. Finally, I checked all of this using decimal approximations.

The triple-nested radical in the expression for the hypotenuse is no cause for celebration, either. If anyone knows of a way to put this in simpler exact terms, please let me know.

The 15-75-90 Triangle


The 15-75-90 Triangle

As the 30-60-90 triangle is based on an equilateral triangle, the 45-45-90 triangle is based on a square, the 18-72-90 and 36-54-90 triangles are based on the regular pentagon (see, and the 22.5-67.5-90 triangle is based on the regular octagon (see previous post), so the 15-75-90 triangle is based on the regular dodecagon, shown here with three radii (red) and a single diagonal (purple). The 15-75-90 triangle is shown in yellow. An argument from symmetry is sufficient to show that angle EFC is the right triangle in this triangle, and the larger of its two acute angles (angle FCE) is one-half of an interior angle of this dodecagon. The interior angle of a regular decagon measures 150 degrees (the proof of this is trivial), and so angle FCE must measure half that amount, or 75 degrees. This leaves 15 degrees for angle CEF, via the triangle sum theorem.

What about the side lengths of the 15-75-90 triangle, though? First, consider the red diagonals shown, and let them each have a length of 2. Angles DAF and FAE each measure 30 degrees, since 360/12 = 30, and they are central angles between adjacent radii. This makes angle DAE 60 degrees by angle addition, and triangle DAE is known to be isosceles, since the two red sides are radii of the same regular dodecagon, and therefore are congruent. By the isosceles triangle theorem and triangle sum theorem, then, angles ADE and AED each also measure (180-60)/2 = 60 degrees, so triangle ADE is therefore equilateral, with the purple side, DE, also having a length of two. Symmetry is sufficient to see that DE is bisected by radius AC, which leads to the conclusion that EF, the long leg of the 15-75-90 triangle, has a length of 1.

Segment AF is a median, and therefore also an altitude, of equilateral triangle ADE, and splits it into two 30-60-90 triangles, one of which is triangle AEF. Its hypotenuse, AE, is already known to have a length of 2, while its short leg, EF, is already known to have a length of 1. Segment AF is therefore the long leg of this 30-60-90 triangle, with a length of √3.

AF, length √3, and FC, the short leg of the 15-75-90 triangle, together form dodecagon radius AC, already set at length 2. By length subtraction, then, FC, the 15-75-90 triangle’s short leg, has a length of 2 – √3. A test is prudent at this point, by taking the tangent of the 15 degree angle FEC in the yellow triangle. Tan(15 degrees) is equal to 0.26794919…, which is also the decimal approximation for FC/EF, or (2 – √3)/1.

All that remains to know the length ratios for the sides of the 15-75-90 triangle is to determine the length of EC, its hypotenuse, via the Pythagorean Theorem. The square of length EC must equal the square of 1 plus the square of (2 – √3), so EC, squared, equals 1 + 4 – 4√3 + 3, or 8 – 4√3. The hypotenuse (EC) must therefore be the square root of 8 – 4√3, which is √(8-4√3)) = 2√(2-√3)).

The short leg:long leg:hypotenuse ratio in a 15-75-90 triangle is, therefore, (2-√3):1:2√(2-√3)).

The 22.5-67.5-90 Triangle


22p5-67p5-90-triangle corrrected

In the diagram above, a regular octagon is shown nested inside square LMNP. The central angles of this octagon, such as angle HAF, each measure 360/8 = 45 degrees. Segments HA and FA are radii, and G is the midpoint of HF, making GF a half-side and GA an apothem. Since this apothem bisects angle HAF, angle GAF is 22.5 degrees, making the yellow triangle a 22.5-67.5-90 triangle.

Let FH = 2, as well as FK (and the other six sides of the regular octagon, as well), and GF would then equal 1, since G is the midpoint of FH. Triangle KNF is a 45-45-90 triangle with hypotenuse length 2, giving it a leg length of 2/√2, or simply √2. This makes segment XN (with X the midpoint of EK) have a length of 1 + √2, and the light blue segment, AG, has this same length of 1 + √2, by horizontal translation to the left.

The hypotenuse of the yellow 22.5-67.5-90 triangle can then be found using the Pythagorean theorem, since it is is known that the short leg (GF) has a length of 1, while the long leg (AG) has a length of 1+√2. Let this hypotenuse (AF, shown in red) be x, and then x2 = 12 + (1 + √2)2 = 1 + 1 + 2√2 + 2 = 4 + 2√2, so x, and therefore the hypotenuse, has a length of √(4+2√2).

The 22.5-67.5-90 triangle, therefore, has a short leg:long leg:hypotenuse ratio of 1:1+√2:√(4+2√2).