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Investigating Circles

Math SL

Rachel McIntosh

Introduction
The aim of this task is to investigate the relationship between circles and their intersecting points.
.

In the diagram aside, Circle 2 (C2) is introduced has the centre point P
and has to intersect the centre of the original circle, C1 at point O.
Circle 3 (C3) has the centre A, where A is the point where C1
and C2 intersect. The point P is the intersection between C3
with the line OP.

To determine the value of OP I will be using variables O P and

r to evaluate the relationship between the circles and their
intersecting points
This circle diagram will be the foundation when examining the
relationship between circles and their intersecting points

DETERMINING OP
Letting r=1 , find OP, when OP= 2, OP=3 and OP=4.
To find OP the points A, O, P and P ( AOP) were used to create a
triangle
one below

such as the

OP WHEN OP = 2
Because both AP and OP equal 2, It is established that it is an isosceles triangle.
This means that angle O and angle A must be of the same value.
To determine the angle the Cosine rule: cos = OA2 + OP2 - AP2 / 2 x OA x OP is used.
cos = 12 + 22 - 22 / 2 x 1 x 2
= cos-1 (1/4)
= 75.5225
Therefore both AOP and OAP = 75.5225

out

the triangle O, P, A so I now have the

triangle OAP
Since AOP = 75.5225 OPA is also
75.5225.
To find OAP:
180- (AOP + OPA) = OAP
180- 151.044 = 28.955
Therefore OAP = 28.955

Now that all three angles of OAP, I can evaluate the length of OP.The sine rule: sin a/ A = sin b/B
sin75.5225/ 1 = sin28.955 / OP
OP x sin75.5225 = sin28.955
OP = sin28.955 / sin75.5225
OP = 0.5 or

1/
2

The same method will be used below to determine the values of OP when OP = 2 and OP= 3.

OP when OP = 3
cos = 12 + 32 - 32 / 3 x 1 x 3
= cos-1 (1/6)
= 80.4059
Therefore both AOP and OAP = 80.4059
AOP = 80.4059 and OPA = 80.4059
Therefore to find OAP:
180- (AOP + OPA) = OAP
180- 160.8118 = 19.1881
Therefore OAP = 19.1881
sin 80.4059/ 1 = sin19.1881 / OP
OP x sin80.4059 = sin19.1881
OP = sin19.1881 / sin80.4059
OP = 1/3

OP when OP = 4
cos = 12 + 42 - 42 / 4 x 1 x 4
= cos-1 (1/8)
= 82.8192
Therefore both AOP and OAP = 82.8192
AOP = 82.8192 and OPA = 82.8192
Therefore to find OAP:
180- (AOP + OPA) = OAP
180- 165.6384 = 82.8192
Therefore OAP = 14.3615
sin 82.8192/ 1 = sin 82.8192 / OP
OP x sin 82.8192 = sin 82.8192
OP = sin 82.8192 / sin 82.8192
OP =

CONCLUSION FROM FINDINGS

From these results we begin to see a pattern emerging which creates the formula: OP = 1 /OP
As OP is always the positive inverse of OP.
However, it could also be OP = r /OP.
To determine the correct general formula, I will need to keep OP constant and change the values of r.

WHEN OP IS CONSTANT AND R IS

INTERCHANGEABLE.
let OP=2 and find OP, when r = 2, r = 3 and r = 4.

When OP is constant at 2, and r= 2 there will be a

different value of OP.
To determine the angle of both A and O I have used the
cos rule.
cos = OA2 + OP2 - AP2 / 2 x OA x OP
cos = 22 + 22 - 22 / 2 x 2 x 2
cos = 0.5
Therefore of O and A = 60
Therefore AOP and OAP = 60
Therefore OPA also equals 60 as the following
triangle is isosceles, so P and 0 are equal.
This means that
180 - (60 + 60 ) = 60
So OAP is 60
So, using the sin rule:
sin60 / 2 = sin 60 / OP
OP sin60 = 2 sin60
OP = 2 sin60 / sin60
OP = 2

CONCLUSION FROM FINDINGS

If we apply this method to r= 3 and r=4 a pattern begins to emerge like before.
From the results its noticed that OP is equal to the squared value of the radius
dividedby OP.
Therefore OP = r2 / OP
This doesnt fit my previous formula of OP = r /OP. as the previous formula was
developed with r=1, not showing a difference if r was squared or not.
r

OP

OP

Formula

12 2

12 3

12 4

22 2

9/2

32 2

42 2

However OP = r2 / OP does fit the previous results.

This is a more reliable formula as I have experimented with more data.
So far, the results throughout this investigation are: The formula OP = r2 / OP works with all of the above
results.

FURTHER INVESTIGATION OF VALUES OF R AND

OP
Using graphmatica, I will now investigate further values of r and OP to find and test the validity of the current
formula, OP = r2 / OP.

1) r= 1 and OP = 1/2

KEY:
Circle 1 ( radius = 1)
Circle 2 ( radius = 1/2)

In the above diagram it can be seen that C3 cannot be sketched as there is no intersect of C1 and C2 that would
provide point A as the centre of C3.
Therefore I have established that when r = 1 and OP = 1/2 , OP cannot be defined.
This means that there is a limitation to my general statement, OP = r 2 / OP because r needs to be greater than
OP2 or r > OP2.

KEY:
Circle 1 ( radius = 3)
Circle 2 ( radius = 2)
Circle 3 ( radius = 3)

2) r= 3 and OP = 2
In the above diagram, C1 has the radius of 3 and OP is 2. Using the point of intersection of C1 and C2 as the
centre, C3 has been drawn.
Shown in the diagram, C3 has the x-intercept of 4.5, meaning that point OP is 4.5. This result works with my
general statement of OP = r2 / OP as
32 / 2 = 9/2 or 4.5

CONCLUSIVE TABLE OF RESULTS

In the following table, I have calculated the value of OP for more various values of r and OP as well as
including previous results.
r

OP

OP

Formula

2/10

not defined

n/a

1/2

not defined

n/a

3/4

4/3

12 3/4

1/2

12 2

1/3

12 3

1/4

12 4

1/5

12 5

100

1/100

12 100

1000

1/1000

12 1000

2/10

not defined

n/a

1/2

not defined

n/a

3/4

9/32

3/42 2

22 2

9/2

32 2

42 2

not defined

n/a

VALIDITY OF GENERAL STATEMENT AND THE

LIMITATIONS
From the results above, it shows that the formula OP = r2 / OP works. However there are some values which are
not defined in the above table.
This is for reasons such as:
The radius must be a positive number, because it cannot be 0, or be a negative number, because it refers to
length.
If the radius of circle 2 is less than half the radius of circle 1, then the circle wont be large enough to intersect
with circle 1, therefore meaning the value of OP cannot be defined.
When the radius is less than the inverse of OP, circle 3 and OP will not intersect.
Therefore my general statement that OP = r2 / OP does not work for all values of r.
It should then therefore be written like:
OP = r2 / OP provided that r = ( r > 0 , r > OP2 , r < 2OP )

CONCLUSION
Through the experimentation of various values, its been discovered that there are the following limitations to the
formula OP = r2 / OP:
. r has to be greater than 0,
.r has to be greater that the squared value of OP
. r has to be less than twice the value of OP
The use of the program graphmatica enabled me to further explore and discover these limitations, in order to
arrive at a conclusive formula OP = r2 / OP provided that r = ( r > 0 , r > OP2 , r < 2OP ).