
Triangles of a Polygon
Definition: The triangles of a polygon are the triangles created by drawing
line segments from one
vertex of a polygon to all the others.
Try this Adjust the number of sides of the polygon below, or drag a vertex
to note the number of triangles inside the polygon.
Regular Polygon case
In the case of
regular polygons,
the formula for the number of triangles in a polygon is:
where
n is the number of sides (or vertices)
Why? The triangles are created by drawing the
diagonals from one
vertex to all the others.
Since there would be no diagonal drawn back to itself,
and the diagonals to each adjacent vertex would lie on top of the adjacent sides,
the number of diagonals from a single vertex is three less the the number of sides, or n3.
The number of triangles is one more than that, so n2.
This can be used as another way to calculate the sum of the
interior angles
of a polygon. The
interior angles of a triangle
always sum to 180°. The number of triangles is n2 (above).
Therefor the interior angles of the polygon must be the sum of all the triangles' interior angles, or
180(n2).
Irregular Polygon case
For
convex ,
irregular polygons,
dividing it into triangles can help if you trying to find its area. For example, in the figure on the right, it
may be possible to find the area of each triangle and then sum them.
For most
concave ,
irregular polygons
, the triangles are of little practical use.
Related polygon topics
General
Types of polygon
Area of various polygon types
Perimeter of various polygon types
Angles associated with polygons
Named polygons
(C) 2009 Copyright Math Open Reference. All rights reserved

COMMON CORE
Math Open Reference now has a Common Core alignment.
See which resources are available on this site for each element of the Common Core standards.
Check it out
