In the drawing below two circles A and B, each having a radius of 1 are tangent to each other and also tangent to a horizontal line. Circle C1 having a diameter d1 is inscribed within circle A, circle B, and the horizontal tangent line. Circle C2 having a diameter d2 is inscribed within circles A, B, and C1. Circle C3 having a diameter d3 is inscribed within circles A, B, and C2. For n = 2, 3, 4,… circle Cn having a diameter dn is inscribed within circles A, B, and Cn-1. Find dn as a function of the sum of the first n integers 1 + 2 + 3 + ∙ ∙ ∙ + n.
[Problem submitted by Vin Lee, LACC Associate Professor of Mathematics.]
Solution for Problem 8:
For each circle, Cn, let rn be its radius. Form a right triangle whose hypotenuse, c, is the line segment connecting the center of circle C1 to the center of circle B and whose other two sides, a and b, are horizontal and vertical respectively. Then using the Pythagorean Theorem
Now repeat this procedure forming a right triangle whose hypotenuse is the line segment connecting the center of C2 to the center of B and whose other sides are horizontal and vertical. For this circle
For C3 and C4 this procedure gives the following results:
Doubling these radii gives the following sequence of diameters: