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Dimensional Analysis in Math

Any physically meaningful equation (and any inequality and in equation) must have the same dimensions
on the left and right sides. Checking this is a common application of performing dimensional analysis.
Dimensional analysis is also routinely used as a check on the plausibility of derived equations and
computations. It is generally used to categorize types of physical quantities and units based on their
relationship to or dependence on other units.
Q. 1 In any ABC, (where a, b and c are sides of the triangle and A, B and C are the respective angles),

a cos A b cos B c cos C

abc
(1)1/r

(2) r/R

(3) R/ r 2

(4) R

Explanation: - Now let us discuss this problem dimensionally, side a, b and c are having the dimensions of length
(as they represent the sides of a triangle) and cos A is dimensionless as it is a ratio of length. (base/ hyp.). So
dimension of Numerator is of Length (as Length + Length = Length) and dimension of denominator is also of
length. Therefore

a cos A b cos B c cos C


is dimensionless. (Length divided by Length).Here R and r are the
abc

circumradius and inradius and the dimension of them would be of length. From this logic we can say that option
(1) is incorrect as it has a dimension of Length1 (1/r), also option (3) is also incorrect as it also has the
dimension of Length1 (R/ r 2 ,) Option (4) is also incorrect as its dimension is of Length. The only correct
answer is option (2).

Q 2. If p1 , p 2 , p3 are altitudes of a triangle ABC from the vertices

A, B, C

and is the area of the triangle, then

p12 p 22 p 32 is equal to
(1)

abc

(2)

a2 b 2 c2
4 2

a2 b2 c2
(3)
3

a2 b2 c2
(4)

Explanation: - We know that, side a, b, and c are having the dimension of length (as they represent the sides of a
triangle), is Length2 . (As it is area of the triangle) and also p1 , p 2 , p3 are having the dimension of Length.
(As they represent altitudes).

So dimensionally p12 p 22 p 32 = Length2 .


Dimension of option (1) is Length1 .
Dimension of option (2) is Length2 .
Dimension of option (3) is Length4 .
Dimension of option (4) is Length0 . (Dimensionless).

So the correct option is (2)

Q 3. In a triangle ABC, r2 r3 + r3 r1 + r1 r2 =
(Where r1, r2 and r3 are the ex-radius in front of sides a, b and c )
(1) s2

(2) s

(3) s/r3

(4) R

We know that r1, r2 and r3 are having the dimension of Length. (as they are ex-radii).
2
So the dimension of r2 r3 + r3 r1 + r1 r2 would be Length .

Dimension of option (1) is Length2 .


Dimension of option (2) is Length .
Dimension of option (3) is Length2 .
Dimension of option (4) is Length .

So the correct option is (1)

Q.4

In any triangle ABC, the value of a(b 2 c 2 ) cos A b(c 2 a 2 ) cos B c(a 2 b 2 ) cosC is
(1) 3abc2

(2) 3a 2 bc

(3) 3abc

(4) 3ab 2 c

Explanation: - The dimension of the question is of Length3 and the only option correct dimensionally is option
(3).Rest of all options are having the dimension of Length4 . (You can apply the concept of symmetry also).

Q.5

The value of the determinant a

bc

c
c 2 is -

ca ab

(1) abc (a b) (b c) (c a)

(2) (a b) (b c) (c a) (a + b + c)

(3) (a b) (b c) (c a) (ab + bc + ca)

(4) (a b) (b c) (c a)

Explanation: - The dimension of the determinant is determined by multiplying the diagonal elements.
(a)( b 2 ). (a.b), that means if I assume the dimension of a, b and c as of length, then the dimension of
the diagonal would be Length5 .
Now Dimension of option (1) is Length6 .
Dimension of option (2) is Length4 .
Dimension of option (3) is Length5 .
Dimension of option (4) is Length3 .

So correct answer is option (3).

Q 6.

The value of

bc
b c
2

ca
2

c a
2

a b is
2

a 2 b2

(1) (a b) (b c) (c a)
(3) (a b) (b c) (c a) (ab + bc + ca)

(2) abc (a b) (b c) (c a)
(4) (a + b + c) (a b) (b c) (c a)

Explanation: - The dimension of the determinant is determined by multiplying the diagonal elements.
(1)(c + a). ( a 2 + b 2 ) , that means if I assume the dimension of a, b and c as of length., then the dimension of
the diagonal would be Length3 .
Now Dimension of option (1) is Length3 .
Dimension of option (2) is. Length6
Dimension of option (3) is Length5 .
Dimension of option (4) is Length4 .

Hence correct option is (1).

Q 7.

If = a

c and P =

a2

b2

c2

(1) 2

abc

a 2 b2 c2

abc

a 2 b2 c2

a 3 b3 c3 ,then P is equal to

a 2 b2 c2

a 3 b 3 c3

a 4 b4 c4

(3) 2

(2) 3

(4) 3

Explanation: - The dimension of is determined by multiplying the diagonal elements.


(1)(b). ( c 2 ) , that means if I assume the dimension of a, b and c as of Length. So the dimension of the
diagonal would be Length 3 .
And dimension of P would be Length6 (3) ( a 2 + b 2 + c 2 ) ( a 4 + b 4 + c 4 )
Now Dimension of option (1) is Length3 .
Dimension of option (2) is. Length3
Dimension of option (3) is Length6 .
Dimension of option (4) is Length9 .

Hence correct option is (3).

1 1

a b
1 1
1 bc

b c
1 1
1 ca

c a
1 ab

Q 8.

(1) 0

Is equal to:

(2) abc

(3)

1
abc

(4)

1 1 1

a b c

Explanation: - The dimension of the determinant is determined by multiplying the diagonal elements.
(1)(bc).(

1 1
) , that means if I assume the dimension of a, b and c as of Length. So the dimension of the
c a

diagonal would be Length .


Now Dimension of option (1) is could be anything, as 0 length is possible and 0 area is also possible.

Dimension of option (2) is. Length3


Dimension of option (3) is Length3
Dimension of option (4) is Length1 .

Hence correct option is (1).

Q 9. If G be the geometric mean of x and y , then


(1) G 2

(2)

1
1

G2 x 2 G2 y 2

1
G2

(3)

1
G3

(4) 3G 2

Explanation: - If I assume the dimension of x and y as length, then dimension of G will also become length.
The dimension of

1
1
2
would be Length2 .
2
2
G x
G y
2

Therefore the correct option would be option (2)

Q. 10 If H is the harmonic mean between p and q , then the value of

(1) 2

(2)

pq
pq

(3)

H H
is

p q

pq
pq

(4)

p2
q2
q

Explanation: - If I assume the dimension of p and q as length, then dimension of H will also become length.
The dimension of

H H
would be Length0 . That is dimensionless.

p q

Therefore the correct option would be option (1)

Q.11 The angle of intersection of ellipse


ab

ab

(1) tan 1

x2
a

y2
b2

ab

ab

(2) tan 1

and circle x 2 y 2 ab , is

ab

(3) tan 1

a b

ab

(4) tan 1

Explanation: - As we know that in co ordinate geometry, In Point (x, y), x is the distance of point from y axis and
y is the distance of point from x axis. Therefore their dimension would be of length. From
x 2 y 2 ab ,

we can conclude that dimension of a and b are also of length.

x2
a

y2
b2

1 and

a b
is the answer as
ab

We also know that tan is a ratio (Dimensionless) therefore tan 1

ab

is
ab

dimensionless. Rest all are tan 1 ( Length1 ). Which is incorrect.

Q.12 The line

lx my n 0

will be a tangent to the circle x 2 y 2 a 2

(1) n 2 (l 2 m 2 ) a 2

(2) a 2 (l 2 m 2 ) n 2

(3)

n(l m ) a

(4) a (lm) n

Explanation: - In this question I can take the dimension of l and m as Length then dimension of n would
become

Length2 . The dimension of a would be of length.


Option 1 n 2 (l 2 m 2 ) a 2 implies ( Length4 ). ( Length2 ) = Length2 , which is incorrect.
Option 2 a 2 (l 2 m 2 ) n 2 implies ( Length2 ). ( Length2 ) = Length4 , which is correct.
Option 3

n(l m ) a

implies ( Length2 ). ( Length ) = Length , which is incorrect.

Option 4 a (lm) n implies ( Length ). ( Length ) ( Length ) = Length2 ,which is incorrect.

The only correct answer is option (2).

Q.13 If OA and OB are the tangents from the origin to the circle x 2 y 2 2 gx 2 fy c 0 and C is the centre
of the circle, the area of the quadrilateral OACB is
(1) g c( g 2 f 2 c)

(2)

c( g 2 f 2 c )

(3) c g 2 f 2 c

(4)

g2 f 2 c
c

Explanation : - (As we can add the quantities of same dimension).


From dimensional analysis, we can say that dimension of g and f is of Length and that of c is of Length2 .
We have been asked the area of quadrilateral, so the answer should have the dimension of Length 2 .
Option 1 gf c( g 2 f

c) implies ( Length3 ), which is incorrect.

Option 2 a 2 (l 2 m 2 ) n 2 implies ( Length2 ), which is correct.


Option 3

n(l m ) a

implies ( Length3 ), which is incorrect.

Option 4 a (lm) n implies ( Length1 ), which is incorrect.

Practice Questions Single option Correct


If , , are the altitudes of a ABC and 2s denotes its perimeter, then 1 + 1 + 1 is equal to-

Q.1

(1)

(2)

(3) s.

(4)

If the harmonic mean between a and b be H , then the value of

Q.2

(1) a b

Q 3.

(2) ab

(3)

1
1
is

H a H b

1 1

a b

b a

a b

(4)

In any triangle ABC, (b + c a) tan (A/2) =


(1)

(2) 2

(3) 2/s

(4) 1/

Q 4. If H is the orthocenter of ABC and if AH = x, BH = y, CH = z, then


(1)

abc
x y z

(2)

1
xyz

(3)

1
abc

a b c
=
x y z

(4) abc

Q 5. If , , are the lengths of the altitudes of ABC, then 2 + 2 + 2 =


(1)
(3)

(2) cot A + cot B + cot C

cot A cot B cot C

(4)

cot A cot B cot C

Q 6. If , , are the lengths of the altitudes of ABC, then


(1)

(2) 1/

cos A

(3) R

cos B

cos C

(4) 1/R

Q 7. Two tangents drawn from the origin to the circle x 2 y 2 2 gx 2 fy c 0 will be perpendicular to each other, if
(1) g 2 f 2 2c

(2)

(3)

(2) g f c 2

(3)

(3) g f c

(1)

(3)

(4) g f 2c

(4)

(1)