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Math Help - Construction problem

  1. #1
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    Joined
    Nov 2009
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    Construction problem

    How to construct a circle which touches (is a tangent to) two parallel lines and another circle? The lines ans circle are given but it is not said anything else about them.
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  2. #2
    Super Member

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    Lexington, MA (USA)
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    Hello, antero!

    How to construct a circle which is tangent to two parallel lines and another circle?
    The lines and circle are given but it is not said anything else about them.

    Since the solution circle is tangent to the two parallel lines,
    . . it lies between the two lines
    . . and its center lies on the line halfway between them.

    The given circle must have a portion between the two lines.

    The diagram could look like this.
    Code:
      L ------------*--------------------------------------
                    :
                    :
                    :r
                    :
                    :
      C - - - - - - * - - - - - - - - - - - - 
    
                                      *
                                *     :     *
                            *         :         *
                          *           :R          *
      M -----------------*------------:------------*---------
                                      :
                        *             :             *
                                      o
                                      P

    We are given parallel lines L and M
    . . and a circle with center P and radius R.

    Construct the line C halfway between and parallel to lines L and M.
    The center of our circle lies on line C.
    The radius r of this circle is the distance between lines L and C.

    Spread your compass to a distance R+r.
    Using P as center, swing an arc cutting line C at point Q.

    Point Q is the center of our circle.


    This diagram should be convincing . . .

    Code:
      L ----------*-*-*------------------------------------
              *     :     *
            *       :       *
           *        :r       *
                    :
          *         :         *
      C - * - - - - o - - - - * - - - - - - - 
          *         Q *       *
                        *             *
           *            r *  *  *     :     *
            *               o         :         *
              *           *   * R     :R          *
      M ----------*-*-*--*------*-----:------------*---------
                                  *   :
                        *           * :             *
                                      o
                                      P
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