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Trigonometry is a branch of mathematics involving the study of triangles, and has applications in fields such as engineering, surveying, navigation, optics, and electronics. Also the ability to use and manipulate trigonometric functions is necessary in other branches of mathematics, including calculus, vectors and complex numbers. Right-angled Triangles In a right-angled triangle the three sides are given special names. The side opposite the right angle is called the hypotenuse (h) – this is always the longest side of the triangle. The other two sides are named in relation to another known angle (or an unknown angle under consideration).

If this angle is known or under consideration

h

θ

this side is called the opposite side because it is opposite the angle

This side is called the adjacent side because it is adjacent to or near the angle Trigonometric Ratios In a right-angled triangle the following ratios are defined sin θ = opposite side length o = hypotenuse length h cosineθ = adjacent side length a = hypotenuse length h

tangentθ =

opposite side length o = adjacent side length a

where θ is the angle as shown

These ratios are abbreviated to sinθ, cosθ, and tanθ respectively. A useful memory aid is Soh Cah Toa pronounced ‘so-car-tow-a’

Page 1 of 5

19.7cm. Solve the equation for the unknown. b 27o 42 In this problem we have an angle. This means we need the angle whose sine is 0.6082 sin θ = opposite side = 13. 2. adjacent side = 42.7 cm opposite side hypotenuse 13.4 cm The known sides are the opposite side and the hypotenuse. (1) Method 1. hypotenuse = 19.6082 from the calculator. The ratio that relates the opposite side and the hypotenuse is the sine ratio. The ratio that relates these two sides is the tangent ratio. or sin −1 0. 13. Substitute values from given information.4cm.6082.90 Page 2 of 5 . Determine which ratio to use. ∴ θ = 42. 4. 3. Examples Find the value of the indicated unknown (side length or angle) in each of the following diagrams. the opposite side and the adjacent side.4 sin θ = 19. Write the relevant equation. tan θ = opposite side adjacent side Substitute in the equation: (opposite side = b.7 sin θ = 0. and θ = 27o) b 42 b = 42 × tan 27° b = 21.4 tan 27° = (2) transpose to give θ In this triangle we know two sides and need to find the angle θ.Unknown sides and angles in right angled triangles can be found using these ratios.

64 = 7.7 2 + x 2 x 2.29 + x 2 ∴10.2 Page 3 of 5 .Pythagoras’ Thoerem Pythagoras’ Theorem states that in a right angled triangle the square of the length of the hypotenuse side (h).22 4. is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.35 = x 2 ∴ x = 3. h h 2 = a 2 + b 2 b a Pythagoras’ Theorem can be used to find a side length of a right angled triangle given the other two side lengths Example 1 find the value of h h =6 +8 ∴ h 2 = 100 ∴ h = 10 2 2 2 ∴ h 2 = 36 + 64 6 cm h Pythagoras’ Theorem for this triangle square root of 100 8 cm Note Measurements must be in the same units and the unknown length will be in these same units so h will be 10 cm Example 2 find the value of x 4.2 2 = 2.7 ∴17.

8 cm (d) θ z 6.2 6. (a) (b) 35o 4.5 α (e) 500 (f) b 34 27o 42 a Page 4 of 5 .Exercise Find the value of the indicated unknown (side length or angle) in each of the following diagrams.71 mm a 62o a 14 cm (c) 4.2 cm 20.

8cm. α=37. cosine and tangent – sine = opposite hypotenuse cosine = adjacent hypotenuse tangent = opposite adjacent 60o 45o 2 2 1 30o 45o 1 3 1 From these two triangles. cosine and tangent of the angles 30o. tan 60o = 3 2 2 1 3 1 sin 30 o = . 1 1 .4 (f) 47. tan 30 o = 2 2 3 sin 45 o = Answers Exercise (a) 2. cos 45 o = . cos 60o = . 45o and 60o can be found.1 Page 5 of 5 .70 (d) 18. cos If we take the two triangles below. cos 30 o = . and apply the basic trigonometry rules for sine.6cm (c) z=7. tan 45 o = 1 2 2 3 1 sin 60o = .7mm (b) 6. exact answers for sine. sin.Special angles and exact values There are some special angles that enable us to obtain exact solutions for the functions and tan.80 (e) 44.

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