Incircle and excircles of a triangle
- Incircle redirects here. For incircles of non-triangle polygons, see Tangential quadrilateral or Tangential polygon.
In geometry, the incircle or inscribed circle of a triangle is the largest circle contained in the triangle; it touches (is tangent to) the three sides. The center of the incircle is called the triangle's incenter.
An excircle or escribed circle of the triangle is a circle lying outside the triangle, tangent to one of its sides and tangent to the extensions of the other two. Every triangle has three distinct excircles, each tangent to one of the triangle's sides.
The center of the incircle can be found as the intersection of the three internal angle bisectors. The center of an excircle is the intersection of the internal bisector of one angle and the external bisectors of the other two. Because the internal bisector of an angle is perpendicular to its external bisector, it follows that the center of the incircle together with the three excircle centers form an orthocentric system.
See also Tangent lines to circles.
- 1 Relation to area of the triangle
- 2 Nine-point circle and Feuerbach point
- 3 Gergonne triangle and point
- 4 Nagel triangle and point
- 5 Coordinates of the incenter
- 6 Equations for four circles
- 7 Euler's theorem
- 8 Other incircle properties
- 9 Other excircle properties
- 10 Incircle in a quadrilateral
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Relation to area of the triangle
The radii of the incircles and excircles are closely related to the area of the triangle. Suppose has an incircle with radius r and center I. Let a be the length of BC, b the length of AC, and c the length of AB. Now, the incircle is tangent to AB at some point C′, and so is right. Thus the radius C'I is an altitude of . Therefore has base length c and height r, and so has area . Similarly, has area and has area . Since these three triangles decompose , we see that
where is the area of and is its semiperimeter.
The radii in the excircles are called the exradii. Let the excircle at side AB touch at side AC extended at G, and let this excircle's radius be and its center be . Then is an altitude of , so has area . By a similar argument, has area and has area . Thus
So, by symmetry,
By the law of cosines, we have
Combining this with the identity , we have
But , and so
which is Heron's formula.
Combining this with , we have
From these formulas one can see that the excircles are always larger than the incircle and that the largest excircle is the one tangent to the longest side and the smallest excircle is tangent to the shortest side. Further, combining these formulas formula yields:
Nine-point circle and Feuerbach point
The circle tangent to all three of the excircles as well as the incircle is known as the nine-point circle. The point where the nine-point circle touches the incircle is known as the Feuerbach point.
Gergonne triangle and point
The Gergonne triangle(of ABC) is defined by the 3 touchpoints of the incircle on the 3 sides. Those vertices are denoted as TA, etc. The point that TA denotes, lies opposite to A.
This Gergonne triangle TATBTC is also known as the contact triangle or intouch triangle of ABC.
The three lines ATA, BTB and CTC intersect in a single point called Gergonne point, denoted as Ge - X(7).
The touchpoints of the three excircles with segments BC,CA and AB are the vertices of the extouch triangle. The points of intersection of the interior angle bisectors of ABC with the segments BC,CA,AB are the vertices of the incentral triangle.
Nagel triangle and point
The Nagel triangle of ABC is denoted by the vertices XA, XB and XC that are the three points where the excircles touch the reference triangle ABC and where XA is opposite of A, etc. This triangle XAXBXC is also known as the extouch triangle of ABC. The circumcircle of the extouch triangle XAXBXC is called the Mandart circle. The three lines AXA, BXB and CXC are called the splitters of the triangle; they each bisect the perimeter of the triangle, and they intersect in a single point, the triangle's Nagel point Na - X(8).
Trilinear coordinates for the vertices of the intouch triangle are given by
Trilinear coordinates for the vertices of the extouch triangle are given by
Trilinear coordinates for the vertices of the incentral triangle are given by
Trilinear coordinates for the vertices of the excentral triangle are given by
Trilinear coordinates for the Gergonne point are given by
or, equivalently, by the Law of Sines,
Trilinear coordinates for the Nagel point are given by
or, equivalently, by the Law of Sines,
It is the isotomic conjugate of the Gergonne point.
Coordinates of the incenter
The Cartesian coordinates of the incenter are a weighted average of the coordinates of the three vertices using the side lengths of the triangle as weights. (The weights are positive so the incenter lies inside the triangle as stated above.) If the three vertices are located at , , and , and the sides opposite these vertices have corresponding lengths , , and , then the incenter is at
Trilinear coordinates for the incenter are given by
Barycentric coordinates for the incenter are given by
Equations for four circles
Let x : y : z be a variable point in trilinear coordinates, and let u = cos2(A/2), v = cos2(B/2), w = cos2(C/2). The four circles described above are given by these equations:
Euler's theorem states that in a triangle:
where R and rin are the circumradius and inradius respectively, and d is the distance between the circumcenter and the incenter.
For excircles the equation is similar:
Other incircle properties
Suppose the tangency points of the incircle divide the sides into lengths of x and y, y and z, and z and x. Then the incircle has the radius
and the area of the triangle is
If the altitudes from sides of lengths a, b, and c are ha, hb, and hc then the inradius r is one-third of the harmonic mean of these altitudes, i.e.
The product of the incircle radius r and the circumcircle radius R of a triangle with sides a, b, and c is
Some relations among the sides, incircle radius, and circumcircle radius are:
Any line through a triangle that splits both the triangle's area and its perimeter in half goes through the triangle's incenter (the center of its incircle). There are either one, two, or three of these for any given triangle.
Denoting the distance from the incenter to the Euler line as d, the length of the longest median as v, the length of the longest side as u, and the semiperimeter as s, the following inequalities hold:
Denoting the center of the incircle of triangle ABC as I, we have
The distance from any vertex to the incircle tangency on either adjacent side is half the sum of the vertex's adjacent sides minus half the opposite side. Thus for example for vertex B and adjacent tangencies TA and TC,
The incircle radius is no greater than one-ninth the sum of the altitudes.:p. 289
Other excircle properties
The circular hull of the excircles is internally tangent to each of the excircles, and thus is an Apollonius circle. The radius of this Apollonius circle is where r is the incircle radius and s is the semiperimeter of the triangle.
The following relations hold among the inradius r, the circumradius R, the semiperimeter s, and the excircle radii r'a, rb, rc:
The circle through the centers of the three excircles has radius 2R.
Incircle in a quadrilateral
Some (but not all) quadrilaterals have an incircle. These are called tangential quadrilaterals. Among their many properties perhaps the most important is that their opposite sides have equal sums. This is called the Pitot theorem.
- Altitude (triangle)
- Circumscribed circle
- Ex-tangential quadrilateral
- Harcourt's theorem
- Inscribed sphere
- Power of a point
- Steiner inellipse
- Tangential quadrilateral
- Triangle center
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- Derivation of formula for radius of incircle of a triangle
- Weisstein, Eric W., "Incircle", MathWorld.
- Triangle incenter Triangle incircle Incircle of a regular polygon With interactive animations
- Constructing a triangle's incenter / incircle with compass and straightedge An interactive animated demonstration
- Equal Incircles Theorem at cut-the-knot
- Five Incircles Theorem at cut-the-knot
- Pairs of Incircles in a Quadrilateral at cut-the-knot
- An interactive Java applet for the incenter