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Circumcircles and Incircles of Triangles

I. Circumcircle of a Triangle

Theorem: All triangles are cyclic,
i.e. every triangle has a circumscribed
circle or circumcircle.
Given ABC, construct the perpendicular bisectors of
sides AB and AC.
(Recall that a perpendicular bisector is a line that
forms a right angle with one of the triangle's sides and
intersects that side at its midpoint.)
These bisectors will intersect at a point O.
So we have that OD t AB and OE t AC.
Now observe that


It is also the case that

ODB by the Side-Angle-Side Theorem.
being corresponding sides of congruent triangles.

OEC by the Side-Angle-Side Theorem.

OA = OC being corresponding sides of congruent triangles.

Now consider any point X on segment AE. We find from the Pythagorean Theorem that
OA =

OE 2 + EA2 =

OE 2 + ( EX + XA ) 2


OE 2 + EX 2 = OX .

Therefore, OA > OX.
In a similar way, we can establish that r = OA = OB = OC is greater than the distance from O
to any other point Z on ABC.
Hence, the circle with center at O and radius r circumscribes the triangle.

Observ ve that :BO OC = 2 × :BAC : due to the Inscribed and a Central Angle Theorem. let O denote thhe center of its circumcirrcle. the circumcennter lies at thhe ceenter of the hypotenuse. Then BOM B y Theorem.2 The cirrcumcenterr's position depends d on the type of triangle i. Iff and only if it is a right triangle. That is. the circumcenteer lies insidee the trianglee. (1) Let M be b the midpo oint of BC. iii. :B BOC = 2 α . the circumcenteer lies outsidde the trianglle. If and a only if itt is obtuse (ha as one angle bigger than a right anglle). h Theorem m: The ratio that appearss in the Law of Sines is the diameter of the circum mcircle of ABC: d = c a b = = sin α sin β ssin γ Proof Given ABC . ii. COM C by the Side-Side-Siide α O α . If and a only if a triangle is acute a (alll angles smaaller than a right r angle).

Since corresponding sides of congruent triangles are equal. Incircle of a Triangle Theorem: A circle can be inscribed in any triangle. every triangle has an incircle. E and F on sides AB. sin α Hence. OE t BC and OF t CA. O . we may conclude that d = a b c . we also know that OD = OF and OD = OE. Proof Given ABC . d = BOM we see that 2 ⋅ BM a BM BM + MC BC = . From (1) and (2) it follows immediately that :BOM = α . . Locate the points D . = = = 2 ⋅ BO 2⋅r 2⋅r BO d a . (2) since corresponding angles in congruent triangles are equal. Now in the right triangle sin α = Therefore. by applying the Law of Sines. we know that :OMB =:OMC = 1 2 :BMC = 1 ο × 180 2 = 90ο . These angle bisectors must intersect at a point. For the same reason. Observe that AOD y AOF and BOD y BOE by the Angle-Side-Angle Theorem.3 So we have that :BOM =:COM = 1 2 :BOC .e. bisect the angles at the vertices A and B. = = sin α sin β sin γ II. BC and CA respectively so that OD t AB. i.

we note that Area ( ABC ) = Area ( AOB ) + Area ( BOC ) + Area ( COA ) . Moreover. any point equidistant from segments CA and AB must lie on line OA: the bisector of :CAB . . it is the only one.4 Hence. 2 × Area ( ABC ) Perimeter ( ABC ) . and similarly. Therefore. Consequently. Theorem: The radius r of the incircle for r = ABC is given by 2 × Area ( ABC ) Perimeter ( ABC ) . Further. Proof Given ABC with incircle having center at O. Area ( ABC ) = r × Perimeter ( 2 Area ( ABC ) = 1 2 ( BC × r ) + That is. since any point equidistant from segments AB and BC must necessarily lie on line OB: the bisector of :ABC . r = ABC ). O must be the center of the incircle for the ABC. it follows from the Pythagorean Theorem. Thus. So. the incircle for any triangle is unique. Therefore. OD = OF = OE . 1 2 ( CA × r ) . So the circle with center O and radius r is an incircle for the triangle. that r = OD = OF = OE is the shortest distance from the point O to each of the sides of ABC. 1 2 ( AB × r ) + Area ( ABC ) = r 2 ( AB + BC + CA ) .

Find the radii of each of the circles in the given equilateral triangle. a. Find the radii of each of the three circles in the figure below. b. . Take the side length to be 1 unit in each case. 2.5 Exercises 1.