An acute triangle intersects with another triangle to form a four-sided polygon. Given all angles, and given the distance of two sides of the polygon, find the other two sides of the polygon. See image (not drawn to scale).
- The angles that form the acute triangle are: 11°, 81°, 88°
- The angles that form the other triangle are: 71°, 81°, 28°
- side a = 57 inches
- side b = 70.25 inches
- find side c & d
The acute triangle is actually an isosceles triangle (11°, 84.5°, 84.5°) with an arbitrary line drawn through it. I have used the Law of Sines and SOH CAH TOA to find the midpoints of the acute/isosceles triangle. I thought I could use the same techniques to find sides c & d, but I can't seem to figure out how to create an equation that relates the two intersecting triangles. My gut tells me that a calculation should be possible given the constraining angles and distances.
I am building a tree-house, where the the four-sided polygon represents the main deck. I need to figure out the correct spacing of joists that will lay between the legs of the isosceles triangle. Because I am working in a live tree, nothing is square and true. I expect I will need to install 6 joists, but I won't know for sure unless I lay it out. Since it is such a pain in the neck to put even one joist down, I want to plan ahead. I'd like to minimize the amount of time tying into my safety line, going up and down, measuring for length, measuring for angle, and test fitting, and so forth.
I know if I carefully sketch it out, mechanical-drawing style, I could measure the distance on the paper, but that has its own challenges. I've also attempted to sketch it out using computer software, which for me has a high learning curve. Using a calculation allows me to keep squishy things in check, like material inconsistencies, flexing of fasteners, and movement of the tree itself. It also gives me a better way to check my work. Lastly, without having to use my Dad Voice, I want my kids to understand that there is more to math than just homework.