Drexel dragonThe Math ForumDonate to the Math Forum

Ask Dr. Math - Questions and Answers from our Archives
_____________________________________________
Associated Topics || Dr. Math Home || Search Dr. Math
_____________________________________________

Proof of Heron's Area Formula


Date: 12/30/97 at 01:16:24
From: Valerie Clemen
Subject: Heron's Area Formula

I need to write a proof of Heron's Area Formula.  My teacher told me 
to look in math textbooks at the library, but I couldn't find one that 
I understood.  Please help!


Date: 12/30/97 at 06:18:07
From: Doctor Anthony
Subject: Re: Heron's Area Formula

We use the formula  area = (1/2)bc.sin(A)

And sin(A) = 2 sin(A/2).cos(A/2)    so area = bc.sin(A/2).cos(A/2)

Next we find expressions for cos(A/2) and sin(A/2) in terms of 
s, a, b, c, where a, b, c are the sides of the triangle and s is 
the semi-perimeter.

So  s = (a+b+c)/2

                                    b^2 + c^2 - a^2
  cos(A) =   2cos^2(A/2) - 1    =   ----------------
                                         2bc


                                   b^2 + c^2 - a^2
               2cos^2(A/2) = 1 + ------------------
                                        2bc


                               (b+c)^2 - a^2      (b+c-a)(b+c+a)
                            =  --------------   = --------------
                                    2bc                2bc

                                 (2s-2a)2s
                            =   -----------
                                    2bc

                                   s(s-a) 
                     cos^2(A/2) = ---------
                                     bc

                                    b^2 + c^2 - a^2
Next   cos(A) = 1 - 2 sin^2(A/2) = ----------------
                                         2bc

                                       b^2 + c^2 - a^2
                    2sin^2(A/2) = 1 - ----------------
                                            2bc

                                   a^2 - (b-c)^2      (a-b+c)(a+b-c)
                                =  --------------  =  --------------
                                       2bc                  2bc

                                   (2s-2b)(2s-2c)
                                =  --------------
                                        2bc

                                    (s-b)(s-c)
                    sin^2(A/2)  =  ------------
                                         bc

 We can now return to the formula for area of the triangle:

     (1/2)bc.sin(A) = bc.sin(A/2).cos(A/2) 

                      bc.sqrt[s(s-a)(s-b(s-c)]
                    = ------------------------
                               bc

                    = sqrt[s(s-a)(s-b)(s-c)]


-Doctor Anthony,  The Math Forum
 Check out our web site!  http://mathforum.org/dr.math/   
    
Associated Topics:
High School Euclidean/Plane Geometry
High School Geometry

Search the Dr. Math Library:


Find items containing (put spaces between keywords):
 
Click only once for faster results:

[ Choose "whole words" when searching for a word like age.]

all keywords, in any order at least one, that exact phrase
parts of words whole words

Submit your own question to Dr. Math

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

_____________________________________
Math Forum Home || Math Library || Quick Reference || Math Forum Search
_____________________________________

Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994-2013 The Math Forum
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/