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Find the area of the largest rectangle that can be inscribed in a semicircle of radius "r"?

  • maths -

    place your sketch on the x-y grid with the centre at (0,0)
    let the radius of the semicircle be r, where r is a constant
    so the base of the rectangle is 2x, let its height be y
    then x^2 + y^2 = r^2
    y =(r^2 - x^2)^(1/2)

    area = 2xy
    = 2x(r^2-x^2)^(1/2)
    d(area)/dx = (2x)(1/2)(r^2 - x^2)^(-1/2) (-2x) + 2(r^2-x^2)^(1/2)
    = 0 for a max/min of area

    2(r^2 - x^2)^(1/2) = 2x^2/(r^2-x^2)^(1/2)
    x^2 = r^2 - x^2
    2x^2 = r^2
    x^2 = r^2/2
    x = r/√2 = (√2/2)r

    then largest area
    = 2x√(r^2 - x^2)
    = (4√2/2)r (r^2 - r^2/2^(1/2)
    = 2√2r(r/√2) = 2r^2

    or, in a real simple way

    suppose we look at the whole circle, the largest "rectangle we can fit inside the circle is a square, where x = y
    then the sides of the square are 2x and 2y,
    and the area is 4xy, but x=y and x^2 + x^2 = r^2 ---> x^2 = r^2/2
    so the largest area = 4x^2
    = 4(r^2/2) = 2r^2

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