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Question

A student has a tennis ball can with a flat top and bottom containing three tightly fitting tennis balls. To the student’s surprise, the circumference of the top of the can is longer than the height of the can. The student wants to know if this fact can be explained without performing any measurements. How do you respond?

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Answered 1 year ago

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1 of 3## Solution:

Since there are three tightly fitted tennis balls, all with the same diameter ($d$), inside the can we determine the height of the can ($h$) in terms of the radius ($r$) of the tennis balls as:

$\begin{aligned} h &= 3 \cdot d \\\\ &= 3 \cdot (2 r) \\\\ &= \boxed{6 r} \end{aligned}$

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