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7

Applications
of
Trigonometry
AREA OF A
TRIANGLE
1
2
=


From elementary geometry, the formula
for the area of the triangle is


length of base
height
Area of a triangle

Given the lengths of two sides and the angle
opposite the third side, we can compute the area
of the triangle using the formula below. Suppose that
a triangle has sides a and b and that the included
angle is .

Then the area of the triangle is given by the formula


Area of a triangle
sin
2
ab
=
1
2
=
sin
h
b
=
1
2
=
1
sin
2
ab =
Proof:
Draw a perpendicular from the vertex opposite
side a. From elementary geometry, we
have:

ah






Area of a triangle
ah

Area of a triangle
Example 1

Suppose that a triangle has sides of length
22 feet and 31 feet and that the angle between these
sides is
37
. What is the area of the triangle?
Solution

By the formula for the area of a triangle,
1
sin
2
ab =
( )
1
22 31sin37
2
=
2
205.22 ft =
Area


ABC A 57 C Z =
31 a cm =
42 b cm =
Example 2


,
, and .
Find the area of the triangle to the nearest
ten square centimetres.
In
1
sin
2
A ab C =
( )( )
1
31 42 sin57
2
=
2
cm
Solution:



= 546

The area is approximately 550
2
cm
Example 3
A farmer has a triangular field with sides 120
yards, 170 yards, and 220 yards. Find the area of the
field in square yards. Then find the number of acres if
1 acre = 4840 yards.
Solution:
We need to find an angle so we can use the
area formula. Let a = 120, b = 170, c = 220 . Find
C Z
.

2 2 2
2 c a b abCosC = +
( )( )
2 2 2
220 120 170 2 120 170 CosC = +






48400 14400 28900 40800CosC = +
5100 40800CosC =
5100
40800
CosC =
1
5100
40800
C Cos

| |
=
|
\ .
97.2 C =
1
sin
2
A ab C =
( )( )
1
120 170 sin97.2
2
=
10120 =
10120
2.1
4840
=
Now find the area




square yards

Thus the area of the field is 2.1 acres.

The number of acres is found by:
Heron's (or Hero's) formula states that the
area A of a triangle whose sides have lengths a, b,
and c is
where s is the semiperimeter of the triangle:
Proof:

( )( )( )
2 2 2 2
a b c a b c a b c a b c
s s a s b s c
+ + + + + +
=
Lets rewrite the expression under the radical solely in
terms of a, b, and c. We have:
( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
2 2 2 2
b c a b c a a b c a b c ( ( + + + +
=
( (

( ) ( )
2 2
2 2
4 4
b c a a b c
( (
+
= ( (
( (

2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2
4 4
b c bc a a b c bc
( (
+ + +
=
( (

Lets now apply the Law of Cosines to replace
2
a
in each of the expressions in the numerator:

2 2 2
2
4
b c bc a
(
+ +
(

( )
2 2 2 2
2 cos 2
4
b c bc bc c b o + + + +
=
cos
2
bc bc o +
=
( )
1 cos
2
bc o +
=
2 2 2
2
4
a b c bc
(
+
(

( )
2 2 2 2
2 cos 2
4
b c bc b c bc o + +
=
cos
2
bc bc o +
=
( )
1 cos
2
bc o
=
( )( )( )
sin
2
bc
s s a s b s c
o
=
( )( )( )
( ) ( )
1 cos 1 cos
2 2
bc bc
s s a s b s c
o o ( ( +
=
( (

( )
2
2 2
1 cos
4
b c
o
=
2 2 2
sin
4
b c o
=
This gives us









2 2 2
2
a b c
s
+ +
=
23 26 31
40
2
s
+ +
= =
Find the area of a triangle with sides 23 cm, 26 cm,
and 31 cm, to the nearest ten square centimetres.


Solution:





Find s, where
Example 4
Now use
( )( )( )
A s s a s b s c =
( )( )( )
40 40 23 40 26 40 31 =
( )( )( )
40 17 14 9 =

The area is approximately 290 .
2
293cm =
2
cm
Example 5
Suppose that a triangle has sides of length 12
cm, 15 cm, and 11 cm. Use Herons formula to
determine the area of the triangle.
Solution:
In this case we, we have
( )
1
12 15 11
2
s = + +


=19
Therefore, by Herons formula
Area =
2
65.24cm =
( )( )( )
s s a s b s c
( )( )( )
19 19 12 19 15 19 11 =
4256 =
Example 6
The distance as the crow flies from San Jose,
Antique to Bacolod City is 568 mi, from Bacolod City
to Roxas City is 536 mi, and from Roxas City to San
Jose, Antique is 247 mi. What is the area of the
triangular region having these three places as
vertices? (Ignore the curvature of Earth)
Solution
If we let a = 568, b = 536, and c = 247
The semi-perimeter s is

( )
1
568 536 247 675.5
2
= + + =
s
Using Herons formula, the area
( )( )( )
A s s a s b s c =
( )( )( )
675.5 675.5 568 675.5 536 675.5 247 =
2
65900mi ~
CREDITS
1. http://www.ping.be/~ping1339/gonio.htm#
Area-of-a-triangle
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Triangle.TrigArea.
svg
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heron's_formula