## Dictionary Definition

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a scale factor as "a numerical factor by which each of a set of quantities is multiplied."## Understanding a Scale Factor

When a shape is enlarged, the length of each side becomes larger (or smaller). Each side becomes larger (or smaller) by same amount. The length of each side is multiplied by a scale factor.## A Real Example of a Scale Factor

A scale factor is easier to understand with an example. The image below shows a light blue shape being enlarged to a dark blue shape.The scale factor is**2**. Each side of the dark blue shape is

**2 ×**longer than the corresponding side of the light blue shape.

## Types of Scale Factors

Scale factors have different effects depending on how large the number is.Scale Factor | Description | |
---|---|---|

Greater than 1 | The shape gets larger | |

Equal to 1 | The shape stays the same size | |

Greater than 0, less than 1 | The shape gets smaller | |

Negative | The shape is on the other side of the center of enlargement, and is the other way around |

## What Is an Enlargement?

An enlargement resizes a shape. An enlargement makes a shape larger or smaller. An enlargement is a type of transformation.## Scaling Lengths, Areas and Volumes

If a scale factor is**k**:

- Each
**length**on the image will be**k times**the length of the object. - The
**area**of the image will be**k**the area of the object.^{2}times - The
**volume**of the image will be**k**the volume of the object.^{3}times

## You might also like...

transformationsunderstanding enlargementsenlarging a shapeenlarging a shape with a fractional scale factor

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