Associated Topics || Dr. Math Home || Search Dr. Math

```
Date: 05/25/98 at 15:52:07
From: Travis Bullard

Is there a simple formula to calculate the radius of a circle where
the chord length and a distance from the centre of the chord to the
circumference are known? This is for my dad who is a carpenter. He
needs it to scribe archways in windows and door openings.

```

```
Date: 06/06/98 at 12:52:26
From: Doctor Jeremiah

Hi Travis:

There is a fairly simple equation to find the radius:

|-------------L-------------|

+++++++              ---  ---
+               +          |    |
+                     +       d    |
+                         +     |    |
+---------------------------+   ---   |
R
|
|
|
+  <=== circle center  ---

Here is the information we have:

L is the Length of the chord length
d is the distance from the centre of the chord to the circumference

Here is the information we are trying to find:

R is the Radius of the circle

Let's add a few dimensions to our drawing:

The radius (R) of the circle is the distance from the center to any
point on the circumference.

We also need the length from the end of the chord to halfway along
where it crosses the center mark. This is the chord length divided
by two.

The distance from the center of the circle to the chord is the radius
of the circle (R) minus the distance from the chord to the edge.

|-----L/2-----|

+++++++
+               +
+                     +
+                         +
+---------------------------+   ---
+                              |
+                           |
R                       R-d
+                     |
+                 ---

If we draw it like this where d and L are known then we have a right
angle triangle:

+++++++
+               +
+                     +
+                         +
+------L/2----+ ------------+
+           |
+        |
R    R-d
+  |
+

The Pythagorean Theorem can be used:

R^2 = (L/2)^2 + (R-d)^2

Now we just have to solve for R. That means we have to expand (R-d)^2
by squaring it. Then we simplify and collect terms. The resulting
equation is quite simple.

If you need more help write me back.

-Doctor Jeremiah,  The Math Forum
Check out our web site! http://mathforum.org/dr.math
```
Associated Topics:
High School Conic Sections/Circles
High School Geometry
High School Practical 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
Math Forum Home || Math Library || Quick Reference || Math Forum Search