# Triangle Trigonometry

Topics
x Basis of Trigonometry x The Six Ratios x Solving Right Triangles x Special Right Triangles x Law of Sines x Law of Cosines

Basis of Trigonometry
xTrigonometry, or "triangle measurement," developed as a means to calculate the lengths of sides of right triangles. xIt is based upon similar triangle relationships.

Right Triangle Trigonometry
x You can quickly prove that the two right triangles with an acute angle of 25°are similar x All right triangles containing an angle of 25° are similar
You could think of this as the family of 25° right triangles. Every triangle in the family 25°similar. is We could imagine such a family of triangles for any acute angle.
25°

4

Right Triangle Trigonometry
x In any right triangle in the family, the ratio of the side opposite the acute angle to the hypotenuse will always be the same, and the ratios of other pairs of sides will remain constant.

5

The Six Ratios
x If the three sides of the right angle are labeled as
hy

the hypotenuse, s the side opposite a particular acute angle, A, and s the side adjacent to the acute angle A,
s

po

opposite

us ten e

A

x six different ratios are possible.

The Six Ratios
opposite sin( A) = hypotenuse adjacent cos( A) = hypotenuse opposite tan( A) = adjacent
hypotenuse csc( A) = opposite

7

Solving Right Triangles
x With these six ratios, it is possible
to solve for any unknown side of the right triangle, if another side and an acute angle are known, or s to find the angle if two sides are known.
s

Once upon a time, students had to rely on tables to look up these values. Now the sine, cosine, and tangent of an angle can be found on your calculator.

Sample Problem
x In right triangle ABC, hypotenuse is 6 cm long, and ∠A measures 32°. Find the length of the shorter leg.
Make a sketch 32° s If one angle is 32°, the other is 58° s The shorter leg is opposite the smaller angle, so you need to find the side opposite the 32° angle.
s

58°

6

9

Choosing the Ratio
x ... Find the length of the shorter leg.
You need a ratio that talks about opposite and hypotenuse s Can use sine (sin) or cosecant (csc), but since your calculator has a key for sin, sine is more convenient.
s

58°

6 32°

10

Solving the Triangle
x sin( 32 ) = 6
58° 6 32°

From your calculator, you can find that sin(32°) ≈ 0.53, so
x 0.53 = 6

x ≈ 3.2

Special Right Triangles
x 45 – 45 – 90 Triangle
The legs are of equal length s The length of the hypotenuse is 2
s

45 °

2 sin( 45 ) = = 2 s 2 2 cos( 45 ) = = 2 s 2 s

s

s s

s

2

s tan( 45 ) = = 1 s

times the leg

Special Right Triangles
x 30 – 60 – 90 Triangle
The side opposite the 30° angle is half the hypotenuse s The side opposite the 60° angle is half the hypotenuse times 3
s

30 °

1 sin( 30 ) = = h 2
h 3 3 cos( 30 ) = = h 2
2 1

1 2

h

3 tan( 30 ) = 1 = 3 h 3 2
13

1 2

h

Special Right Triangles
x 30 – 60 – 90 Triangle
The side opposite the 30° angle is half the hypotenuse s The side opposite the 60° angle is half the hypotenuse times 3
s
1

60 °

sin( 60 ) =

2

h 3 h
1 2

3 = 2

1 cos( 60 ) = = h 2
1

h

tan( 60 ) =

2

h 3
1 2

h

= 3

14

Memory Work
x Know these values as well as you know your own name.
sin
30° 45° 60°
1 2
2 2

cos
3 2
2 2

tan
3 3

1
3

3 2

1 2

15

Non-Right Triangles
xAll these relationships are based on the assumption that the triangle is a right triangle. xIt is possible, however, to use trigonometry to solve for unknown sides or angles in non-right triangles.

a b c = = sin( A) sin( B) sin( C)

Law of Sines

x In geometry, you learned that the largest angle of a triangle was opposite the longest side, and the smallest angle opposite the shortest side. x The Law of Sines says that the ratio of a side to the sine of the opposite angle is constant throughout the triangle.

Sample Problem
xIn ∆ABC, m∠A = 38°, m∠B = 42°, and BC = 12 cm. Find the length of side AC.
s Draw

a diagram to see the position of the C given angles and side. s BC is opposite ∠A A s You must find AC, the side opposite ∠B.

B

Sample Problem
x.... Find the length of side AC.
s Use

the Law of Sines with m∠A = 38°, m∠B = 42°, and BC = 12
a b = sin( A) sin( B)

12 sin( 42 ) = b sin( 38 )

12 b = sin( 38 ) sin( 42 )

12 sin( 42 ) 12 .6691 b= ≈ sin( 38 ) .6157 b ≈ 13.041
19

b g

Warning
xThe Law of Sines is useful when you know
s the

sizes of two sides and one angle or s two angles and one side.

xHowever, the results can be ambiguous if the given information is two sides and an angle other than the included angle (ssa).

Warning
xThe Law of Sines gives a unique solution when the given information is
s sas s asa s aas

Remember that these are all sufficient conditions for congruent triangles.

xThe ambiguous case is ssa, which is not a way of proving triangles congruent.

Law of Cosines
c 2 = a 2 + b 2 − 2ab cos(C )

x If you apply the Law of Cosines to a right triangle, that extra term becomes zero, leaving just the Pythagorean Theorem. x The Law of Cosines is most useful
when you know the lengths of all three sides and need to find an angle, or s when you two sides and the included angle.
s

Largest angle opposite longest side

Sample Problem

xTriangle XYZ has sides of lengths 15, 22, and 35. Find the measure of the largest angle of the triangle.
c 2 = a 2 + b 2 − 2ab cos( C)
15 35 22

352 = 152 + 22 2 − 2 ⋅15 ⋅ 22 ⋅ cos( C ) 1225 = 225 + 484 − 660 cos( C) 1225 = 709 − 660 cos( C)

Sample Problem
x... Find the measure of the largest angle of the triangle.
516= − 660 cos( C)
15 35 22

516 − cos( C) = = .7818 660 C = cos−1 ( − .7818) ≈ 1414 .