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What are some real-life examples of trapezoids?

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Quick Answer

Real-life examples of trapezoids include certain table tops, bridge supports, handbag sides and architectural elements. Since a trapezoid cannot be three-dimensional, many real-life examples of trapezoids are only partly designed with that shape. For example, the surface of a table might be a trapezoid, but its legs and supports are not.

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Full Answer

A trapezoid is a two-dimensional shape with four straight sides and two parallel sides. The angles and lengths of the non-parallel side vary depending on the trapezoid's shape.

A handbag is often designed with two trapezoids as the largest sides of the purse. The top and bottom of each side are parallel, but the top edge is usually shorter than the bottom edge.

Similarly, a truss bridge often features multiple trapezoids along the sides that connect the base of the bridge to the structure overhead. The steel or aluminum supports form adjacent trapezoids, with the two parallel sides being the top and bottom of the bridge sides.

In modern architecture, trapezoids are often used to create unusual shapes, both for the entirety of a structure and for individual elements. Additionally, the windows used on A-frame gables are typically shaped like trapezoids. The parallel sides of each shape run left to right, with the bottom sides horizontal and the upper sides slanted upward to form the triangular gable end.

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