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TRIGONOMETRIC

EQUATIONS

Firstly recall the graphs of y = sin x, y = cos x and y = tan x.


y = sin x

Note: sin x is positive


for 0 < x < 180,
and negative for
180 < x < 360.

y = cos x

Note: cos x is positive


for 0 x < 90, and
for 270 < x 360
and negative for
90 < x < 270.

y = tan x

Note: tan x is positive


for 0 < x < 90, and
for 180 < x < 270
and negative for
90 < x < 180. and
for 270 < x < 360.

We can summarise the information in the following diagram:


90
sin +ve
sin +ve
cos ve
cos +ve
tan ve
tan +ve

180
0 , 360
sin ve
sin ve
cos ve
cos +ve
tan +ve
tan ve
270
This can be simplified to show just the positive ratios:
90
S
sin +ve
all +ve
or just:
180
0, 360
T
cos +ve
tan +ve
270

A
C

N.B. You may find a mnemonic will


help you memorise the positions.

SolvingTrigonometricEquations
CASTRule
QuadrantII

Sine


Tangent
QuadrantIII

QuadrantI

All


Cosine
QuadrantIV

Findthemeasureof 0 <3600
a)cos =0.6691
b)tan =1.2435
Thereferenceangleis480.
Thereferenceangleis510.
Theangle isfound
Theangle isfound
inQuadrantsIIandIII.
inQuadrantsIandIII.

1320and2280

510and2310
5.2.2

Solving Trigonometric Equations


with a Given Interval

Example : Solve sin x = 0.5; 360 < x 360


The sine of an angle is negative in the 3rd and 4th quadrants.
= sin1 0.5 = 30

N.B. The negative is ignored


to find the acute angle.
Hence the solutions in the given range are:
x = 150, 30, 210,

330

In problems where the angle is not simply x, the given range


will need to be adjusted.

The positive ratio diagram can be used to solve trigonometric equations:


Example :
Using:

Solve cos x = 0.5; 0 x < 360

S A
T C

We can see that the cosine of an


angle is positive in the two quadrants
on the right, i.e. the 1st and 4th
quadrants.

= cos1 0.5 = 60

Hence the solutions in the given range are:


x = 60, 360 60

so x = 60, 300

Example 3: Solve 3 + 5 tan 2x = 0; 0 x 360.


Firstly we need to make tan 2x the subject of the equation:
3
tan 2x =
5
The tangent of an angle is negative in the 2nd and 4th quadrants.

tan 1

= 30.96
5

The range must be adjusted for the angle 2x. i.e. 0 2x 720.
Hence: 2x = 149.04, 329.04, 509.04, 689.04.
x = 74.5, 164.5, 254.5, 344.5.

Solve Trigonometric Equations


Trig equations are usually solved for a
values of the variable between 0 degrees
and 360 degrees.
But there are solutions outside that interval.
These other solutions differ by integral
multiples of the period of the function

1
2

sin x = is a trigonometric equation.


x = 6 is one of infinitely many solutions of y = sin x.
y
-19
6
-3

-11
6

-7
6

5
6

-2 -

13
6

17
6

2 3

25
6
4

1
x y=2

-1

All the solutions for x can be expressed in the form of


a general solution.
x = + 2k and x = 5 + 2k (k = 0, 1, 2, 3, ).
6

Example: Solve tan x = 1.


The graph of y = 1 intersects the graph of y = tan x infinitely
y
many times.
- 2
4

-
4

+ + 2
4

+ 3

y=1
-

y = tan(x)
x = -3 x = -
2
2

x = x = 3 x = 5
2
2
2

Points of intersection are at x = and every multiple of added or


4

subtracted from 4 .
General solution: x = + k for k any integer.
4

Example:
Solve the equation 3sin x + 2 = sin x for x .
2

3sin x + 2 = sin x
3sin x sin x + 2 = 0
2sin x + 2 = 0
sin x =

2
2

Collect like terms.

-
1 4

y=-

x = 4 is the only solution in the interval 2 x 2 .

2
2

Solving Second Degree (Quadratic)


Trigonometric Equations
Notes

Solving Second Degree Equations


Example:
Solve. 0 x 360
tan2x 3tanx 4 = 0
let x = tan x
x2 3x 4 = 0
(x 4)(x + 1) = 0
x4=0
x=4

x+1=0
x = -1

tan x = 4

tan x = -1

x = 76
x = 256

x = 135
x = 315

Solving Second Degree Equations


Example:
Solve. 0 x 360
3cos2x 5cosx = 4
let x = cos x
3x2 5x 4 = 0
x
b b2 4ac
x
2a

5 73
6
x 2.26
x 0.59
x

5 2 4 3 4
2 3

Solving Second Degree Equations


x = 2.26

x = -0.59

cos x = 2.26 cos x = -0.59


x=
x = 234

x = 126

Solving Second Degree Equations


Example: Solve. 0 x 360
2cos2x = cosx
let x = cos x
2x2 = x
2x2 x = 0
x(2x 1) = 0
x = 0 2x 1 = 0
x = .5
cos x = 0

cos x = .5

x = 90
x = 270

x = 270

Solving Second Degree Equations


Example:

Solve. 0 x 360
3sinx + 4 = 1/sinx
let x = sin x
3x + 4 = 1/x
x(3x + 4) = x(1/x)
3x2 + 4x = 1
(3x 1)(x + 1) = 0

Solving Second Degree Equations


3x - 1= 0 x + 1 = 0
x = .333 x = -1
sin x = .333
x = 19
x = 161

sin x = -1

x = 270

Solving Second Degree Equations


Example:

Solve. 0 x 360
2cos2x sinx = 1
Use the identity cos2x = 1 sin2x
2 (1 sin2x) sinx = 1
2 2sin2x sinx = 1
2sin2x sinx + 1 = 0
2sin2x + sinx - 1 = 0

Solving Second Degree Equations


2sin2x + sinx - 1 = 0
let x = sin x
2x2 + x - 1 = 0
(2x - 1)(x + 1) = 0
2x - 1 = 0
x = x = -1

x+1=0

sin x =
x = 30
x = 150

sin x = -1
x = 270

The trigonometric equation 2 sin2 + 3 sin + 1 = 0 is


quadratic in form.
2 sin2 + 3 sin + 1 = 0 implies that
(2 sin + 1)(sin + 1) = 0.
Therefore, 2 sin + 1 = 0 or sin + 1 = 0.
It follows that sin = - 1 or sin = -1.
2

Solutions:
= - + 2k and = 7 + 2k, from sin = - 1
6
6
2
= - + 2k, from sin = -1

Example: Solve 8 sin = 3 cos2 with in the


interval [0, 2].
Rewrite the equation in terms of only one trigonometric function.
8 sin = 3(1 sin2 )

Use the Pythagorean Identity.

3 sin2 + 8 sin 3 = 0.

A quadratic equation with sin x


as the variable
(3 sin 1)(sin + 3) = 0 Factor.
Therefore, 3 sin 1 = 0 or sin + 3 = 0
Solutions: sin = 1 or sin = -3
3
= sin1( 1 ) = 0.3398 and = sin1( 1) = 2.8107.
3
3
s

Solve: 5cos2 + cos 3 = 0 for 0 .


The equation is quadratic. Let y = cos and solve 5y2 + y 3 = 0.
y = (-1 61 ) = 0.6810249 or -0.8810249
10
Therefore, cos = 0.6810249 or 0.8810249.
Use the calculator to find values of in 0 .
This is the range of the inverse cosine function.
The solutions are:
= cos 1(0.6810249 ) = 0.8216349 and
= cos 1(0.8810249) = 2.6488206

Example:

Solve 6 sin2 x + sin x 1 = 0; 0 x < 360

A quadratic equation!
It may help to abbreviate sin x with s:
i.e. 6s2 + s 1 = 0
Factorising this:

(3s 1)(2s + 1)= 0

1
sin x
3

= 19.47

or

1
sin x
2

= 30

So, x = 19.5, 160.5, 210, 330. (To nearest 0.1.)

Summary of key points:


To solve a Trigonometric Equation:
Re-arrange the equation to make sin, cos or tan of
some angle the subject.
Locate the quadrants in which the ratio is positive,
or negative as required.
Using:

S A
T C

Adjust the range for the given angle.


Read off all the solutions within the range.
This PowerPoint produced by R. Collins; ZigZag Education 20082010