Isosceles Triangle

An isosceles triangle is a triangle which has any two of its sides equal to each other. Also, the angles opposite these equal sides are equal. In general, a triangle is a polygon which has three sides and three vertices. The sides and angles of the triangle could vary. The types of triangles can be classified based on the sides and angles. Based on the sides, a triangle is classified into three types namely: Scalene, Isosceles and Equilateral. Whereas based on the angles, a triangle is classified into three types namely: Acute Angled, Obtuse Angled and Right Angled. In this article, we are going to discuss the isosceles triangle definition, properties, area and perimeter formulas with many solved examples.

Table of contents:

Isosceles Triangle Definition

An Isosceles triangle is a triangle which has two equal sides. Also, the two angles opposite to the two equal sides are equal. In other words, we can say that “An isosceles triangle is a triangle which has two congruent sides”. Suppose in a triangle △ABC, if sides AB and AC are equal, then △ ABC is an isosceles triangle where ∠ B = ∠ C. The theorem that describes the isosceles triangle is “if the two sides of a triangle are congruent, then the angle opposite to them are also congruent”.

Isosceles Triangle

The triangle having all the three sides equal is called an Equilateral triangle. Also, the triangle having all the three unequal sides is called a Scalene triangle.

Isosceles Triangle Properties

  1. As the two sides are equal in this triangle, the unequal side is called the base of the triangle.
  2. The angles opposite to the two equal sides of the triangle is always equal.
  3. The altitude of an isosceles triangle is measured from the base to the vertex(topmost ) of the triangle.
  4. A right isosceles triangle has the third angle as 90 degrees.

Generally, the isosceles triangle is classified into different types namely, 

  • Isosceles acute triangle
  • Isosceles right triangle
  • Isosceles obtuse triangle

Now, let us discuss in detail about these three different types of an isosceles triangle.

Isosceles Acute Triangle

As we know that the different dimensions of a triangle are legs, base, and height. All the isosceles triangle has an axis of symmetry along the perpendicular bisector of its base. Depends on the angle between the two legs, the isosceles triangle is classified as acute, right and obtuse. The isosceles triangle can be acute if the two angles opposite to the legs are equal and are less than 90 degrees (acute angle).

Isosceles Right Triangle

A right isosceles triangle has two equal sides, wherein one of the two equal sides act as perpendicular and another one as a base of the triangle. The third side, which is unequal, is termed as the hypotenuse. Therefore, we can apply here the famous Pythagoras theorem, where the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the square of base and perpendicular.

Suppose, the sides of the right isosceles triangle are a, a, and h, where a  is the two equal sides and h is the hypotenuse, then;

h = √(a2 + a2) = √2a2 = a√2

or h = √2 a

Isosceles Obtuse Triangle

We know that the obtuse triangle is a triangle in which one of its angle is greater than 90 degrees (right angle). Also, it is not possible to draw a triangle with more than two obtuse angles. We know that the obtuse triangle can be a scalene triangle or isosceles triangle. Therefore, the isosceles obtuse triangle is a triangle, which has two equal sides with an obtuse angle.

Also, read:

Isosceles Triangle Formulas

We know that an isosceles triangle is a two-dimensional shape with three sides. The measures to compute the isosceles triangle are the area and perimeter. Now, let us discuss the area and the perimeter of the isosceles triangle in detail. 

Isosceles Triangle Area

The area of an isosceles triangle is defined as the region occupied by it in the two-dimensional space. Generally, the isosceles triangle is half the product of the base and height of an isosceles triangle. The formula to calculate the area of an isosceles triangle is given by:

The area of an isosceles triangle A = ½ × b × h Square units

where b is the base and h is the height of the triangle.

Isosceles Triangle Perimeter

As we know the perimeter of any shape is the boundary of the shape. Similarly, the perimeter of an isosceles triangle is defined as the sum of the three sides of an isosceles triangle. The perimeter of an isosceles triangle can be found if we know its base and side. The formula to calculate the perimeter of the isosceles triangle is given by:

The perimeter of an isosceles Triangle, P = 2a + b units

where ‘a’ is the length of the two equal legs of an isosceles triangle and b is the base of the triangle.

Isosceles Triangle Altitude

When an altitude is drawn to the base of the isosceles triangle, it bisects the vertex angle. As it bisects the base, the two congruent triangles are created. The altitude of the triangle forms the required right angle and the altitude becomes the shared legs. Also, the congruent legs of a triangle become the congruent hypotenuse. Therefore, the altitude of drawn to the base of the isosceles triangle bisects the base.

Examples

Example 1:

Find the area of an isosceles triangle given its height as 6 cm and base as 4 cm?

Solution:

Given that,

Base = 4 cm and height = 6 cm

We know that the area of an isosceles triangle is ½ × b × h square units

Now, substitute the base and height value in the formula

Area of an isosceles triangle is ½ × b × h

A = ½ × 4 × 6 = 12 cm2

Therefore, the area of an isosceles triangle is 12 cm2.

Example 2:

Find the perimeter of an isosceles triangle, with side 6 cm and base 4 cm.

Solution:

Given: Base = 4 cm

Length of the two equal arms = 6 cm

We know that the formula to calculate the perimeter of an isosceles triangle is  P = 2a + b units

Now, substitute the values in the perimeter formula, we get

P = 2(6) + 4 = 12 + 4 = 16 cm

Hence, the perimeter of an isosceles triangle is 16 cm

Frequently Asked Questions on Isosceles Triangle

Define isosceles triangle.

An isosceles triangle is a triangle with two equal sides. Also, the angles opposite to the two equal sides are also congruent.

Mention the different classifications of isosceles triangle.

Depends on the angles between the two legs of a triangle, the isosceles triangle is classified as:
Isosceles acute triangle
Isosceles right triangle
Isosceles obtuse triangle

What is the area of the isosceles triangle?

The area of the isosceles triangle is defined as half the product of base and height of a triangle. The formula to calculate the area of an isosceles triangle is (½)bh square units.

What is the perimeter of an isosceles triangle?

Since the isosceles triangle has two equal sides, the formula to calculate the perimeter is 2a+b units, where “a” is the length of two equal legs and “b” is the base of the isosceles triangle.

Mention two important properties of isosceles triangle.

The angles opposite to the two equal sides of a triangle are also equal.
The two equal sides of an isosceles triangle are called the legs and the unequal side is called the base.

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