I think the easiest way to do this is with trigonometry, but I've forgotten most of the maths I learnt in school. I'm writing a program (for demonstrative purposes) that defines a Shape, and calculates the interior angles of the shape, based on the number of sides.
Now I'm trying to calculate the area based on the length of each of those sides.
So given a square, we know it has 4 sides. And given that the length of each of those sides is 8, we should be able to calculate the area (I know a square is easy... but the same formula needs to work for polygons with more/less sides).
What I've done, is this:
- Calculated the interior angles in the polygon as
interior_angle = 180 - (360 / num_sides).
- Divided the polygon into an equal number of isosceles triangles and then divided each of those into 2 right-angled triangles, assuming this simplifies the logic. This is where I'm stuck.
Since the interior angle of the polygon is known, I've divided that by 2 in order to get the angle on one corner of these triangles, knowing that there's another angle of 90º. So my logic tells me:
# Polgygon: sides = 4, length = 8 interior_angle = 180 - (360 / sides) = 90 a = interior_angle / 2 = 45 # Given that tan(a) = height / base base = length / 2 = 4 tan(a) = height / base # therefore height = tan(a) * base = tan(45) * 4
This gives me
6.47 as the height (I think that's wrong... shouldn't it just be a round 3?).
Now to get the area of the entire polygon, I just have to calculate the area of each triangle and multiple that by the number of sides:
area = 0.5 * height * length * sides
For my 8 * 8 square, this gives me
51.83, so I've clearly got my logic wrong. If there's a simpler way to calculate the area of a uniform polygon, based on the number of sides and the length of each side, please educate me :) I just need to convert the maths into code for a computer program.