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Difference between area and perimeter

Just on reading the title of the articles, there might be some of you who would have frowned. These are probably people who hated mathematics right from their primary schools right through their high schools! According to a study, more than half of the people who study it hate mathematics or simply do not understand it. That includes some who absolutely dread anything related to calculations or maths. However, it must be acknowledged that mathematics is one of the most important disciples that is very significant for certain other disciples such as physics, business, finance, accounting, chemistry, bio-statistics etc. Not only this, we continuously use maths intentionally or unintentionally in our daily lives and would not be able to get through our daily routines without it. For example calculating how much time do we have before we miss the bus or how much money should still be in our wallets after a day of shopping, all requires mathematics. The greater our ability to understand and apply maths in our daily lives, the more self-sufficient we become as the greater the number of tasks that we can perform all by ourselves. Having some simple concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and calculating fractions, percentages etc. can make our daily tasks a lot easier and also make us immune to people or organizations tricking money out of us. Area and perimeter are two more of these mathematical concepts that we should know, and that would ensure some sort of convenience in our lives.

Although the two are commonly confused with each other, they are very different. It is actually difficult to understand why the two are confused with each other. One reason may be that they are taught together in schools. Another one could be that they are both concerned with measurements about two-dimensional shapes. In any case, we hope that by the time you finish reading this article, you have a very clear idea of what each of the two are.

Area is a physical quantity that expresses the extent of any two-dimensional shape or figure, or planar lamina in a plane. To understand it better consider the thickness to be given or constant, then the area would be the amount of material needed to fashion a model of a particular shape.  We can explain this with the help of an example; common situations where area is important include measuring plot size before sale or estimating the amount of paint needed for a paint job. In both these cases, one dimension is fixed or of no significance. The remaining two dimensions are used to calculate area and then determine the concerned values such as the cost and quantity of paint respectively. Remember that since we use two dimensions, area is a squared measure with units of cm2, m2 and so on.

In contrast to this, perimeter is a measure of the length of the path that surrounds a two-dimensional shape or figure. To understand it better, think of measuring the length of the outline of a shape. The perimeter is important in cases where the length of the boundary is important. For example if you want to build a boundary wall or a fence around your house, you would be more interested in the perimeter. Another example would be if you wanted to build a boundary around a swimming pool, then once again the perimeter would be needed. Since the perimeter measures the length it is a measure of the first degree and not squared like the area. Hence, we can use the units of cm, m and so on.

Summary of differences expressed in points

1. Area-expresses the extent of any two-dimensional shape or figure, or planar lamina in a plane, consider the thickness to be given or constant, then the area would be the amount of material needed to fashion a model of a particular shape; perimeter is a measure of the length of the path that surrounds a two-dimensional shape or figure, think of measuring the length of the outline of a shape. The perimeter is important in cases where the length of the boundary is important

2. Units of area are squared, such as cm2, m2; units of perimeter are not squared such as cm, m

3. Area needed when the enclosed region needs to be considered, such as plot size; perimeter needed when the length of the boundary is needed, such as when building a fence


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[0]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/Area_conversion_-_square_mm_in_a_square_cm.png

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