Almost Equilateral Triangles
We shall define an almost equilateral triangles to be a triangle for which two sides are equal and the third differs by no more than one unit. The smallest such triangle with integral length sides and area is 5-5-6.
Prove that infintitely many almost equilateral triangles with integral length sides and area exist.
By the definition an almost equilateral triangles measuring a-a-b is isosceles.
Using the Pythagorean Theorem: a2 = (b/2)2 + h2, so 4a2 = b2 + 4h2.
As b = a 1, b2 = a2 2a + 1
4a2 = a2 2a + 1 + 4h2
3a2 2a 1 + 4h2 = 0
9a2 6a 3 12h2 = 0
9a2 6a + 1 12h2 = 4
(3a 1)2 12h2 = 4
((3a 1)/2)2 3h2 = 1
By writing x = (3a 1)/2 and y = h, we get the Pell equation: x2 3y2 = 1. Given one solution, it is well known that Pell equations have infinitely many solutions, and for completeness we shall prove this.
However, we must first show that integer x corresponds to an integer solutions for a; b being integer follows as b = a 1.
As x = (3a 1)/2, we get a = (2x1)/3
It should be clear that x cannot be divisible by 3, otherwise x2 3y2 would be a multiple of 3 and could not be equal to 1.
So given that x 1 mod 3, 2x 1 mod 3, and so one of 2x+1 or 2x1 will be a multiple of 3. Hence for every integer solution of the equation x2 3y2 = 1, we have an integer solution for a and b. Now we shall prove that infinitely many solutions exist.
Given (x,y), a solution pair to the Pell equation x2 3y2 = 1, consider the larger pair (x2+3y2,2xy):
|(x2+3y2)2 3(2xy)2||=||x4 + 6x2y2 + 9y4 12x2y2|
|=||x4 6x2y2 + 9y4|
In other words, if (x,y) is a solution then (x2+3y2,2xy) will also be a solution, and as (7,4) leads to the first solution 5-5-6, we prove that infinitely many almost equilateral triangles with integral length sides and area exist.
Note that although the infinite solution set of the Pell equation x2 3y2 = 1 is in a one-to-one mapping with the set of almost equilateral triangles we are seeking, this particular iterative method: (x,y) (x2+3y2,2xy), will NOT produce every solution.