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What is meant by 'scale factor'?

By Lisa Kelly on the 11th of June, 2012

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    It means that when numbers of small figure are multiplied by the same number to obtain the larger figure of the corresponding values.

    Example:

    Ratio 2:5 = 2x10:5x10 = 20:50,

    the scale factor is 10 in this case.

    Refine By Cecil on the 16th of January, 2013

Suggested reading…

Enlarge a shape by a negative scale factor

First, you should look at our C Grade topic - 'Enlarge a shape by any positive scale factor'

Enlarging a shape by a negative scale factor follows exactly the same process as all other enlargements.

Enlargement by a negative scale factor does not mean the shape gets smaller! It only gets smaller if the scale factor is between 0 and 1.

Two special things happen when you enlarge a shape by a negative scale factor though:
- The shape will end up on the opposite side of the centre of enlargement, compared to the original
- The shape will end up upside down.

If a scale factor is zero, then there would be no shape because after multiplying each coordinate by zero, all coordinates would be the origin. Hence, a dilation cannot have a scale factor of 0.

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