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Areas of Composite Shapes

Areas of Composite Shapes

A compound shape is a shape that is built up from two or more simple shapes. A simple shape is a shape for which a formula for calculating area is readily available, such as triangles, rectangles and circles.

To calculate the area of a complex shape, divide the complex shape into a number of simple shapes. There are often a number of ways to divide the shape up: it does not matter which combination is used so long as the whole complex shape is taken into account.

The area of each simple shape is calculated separately; then added together as a total for the compound shape.

Dividing up a complex shape

Example 1

What is the area of this shape?

Area for a complex shape consisting of a triangle and a rectangle question

Split the compound shape into two simple shapes: a rectangle and a triangle:

Area for a complex shape consisting of a triangle and a rectangle answer

The area of the rectangle part is 12 x 10 = 120 cm2.

The missing dimension for the triangle part is 20 - 12 = 8cm.

Area of a triangle A = `frac(1)(2)bh`
Substitute: = `frac(1)(2) xx 10 xx 8`
= 40 cm2.

Area of compound shape

= area of rectangle + area of triangle

= 120 + 40

= 160 cm2.

Answer: 160 cm2

Example 2

A stained glass window is being manufactured as the centrepiece of a new home. The stained glass will cost £250 per square metre. How much will the stained glass cost for the window?

Area for a window with a semicircle question

Area for a window with a semicircle answer

The lower part of the window is a rectangle:

Area of a rectangle A = `b xx h`
Substitute: = `2 x 1.34`
= 2.68 cm2.

The upper part of the window is a semicircle (half a circle).

The diameter of the semicircle is the width of the window;

the radius is half of that = 1m.

Area of a whole circle A = `πr^2`
Area of a semicirclee A = `frac(1)(2) xx πr^2`
Substitute: = `frac(1)(2) xx π xx 1^2`
= 4.25 cm2.

Area of entire window = 2.68 + 1.57 = 4.25 m2

Cost of window = 250 x 5.82 = £1062.50

Answer: £1062.50