udaymathapati wrote:

The figure attached shows the dimensions of a semicircular cross section of a one-way tunnel. The single traffic lane is 12 feet wide and is equidistant from the sides of the tunnel. If vehicles must clear the top of the tunnel by at least ½ foot when they are inside the traffic lane, what should be the limit on the height of vehicles that are allowed to use the tunnel?

A. 5½ ft

B. 7½ ft

C. 8 ½ ft

D. 9½ ft

E. 10 ft

My approach:

Equation of the circle -- x^2 + y^2 = a^2 (a is the radius of the circle which is 10 feet.)

The diameter of the semicircle is 20 and the traffic lane is 12 feet wide and located at equal distance from the sides of the tunnel. The width of the traffic lane should be 4 feet away from each of the sides.

If we position the center of the tunnel (center of the semicircle) to overlap exactly on the origin of the x-y coordinate graph then the center of the semicircle would be the origin (0,0) and the end points of the traffic lane would be (-6,0) and (6,0).

Let us take one of the edges of the traffic lane -- (6,0). We need to find distance from the x-axis to the edge of the semi-circle ... that is the y coordinate.

Making use of the equation of the circle -- x^2 + y^2 = 100 .. we already know x coordinate which is 6.

Hence y^2 = 100 - 36.

y^2 = 64. Hence y is 8. Hence the height of the tunnel at the edge of the traffic lane is 8 feet high. Minimum clearance should be 1/2 feet hence the maximum height of the vehicles allowed is 7.5 feet.

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