<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Relating angles and their functions

When working with right triangles, the same rules apply regardless of the orientation of the triangle. In fact, we can evaluate the six trigonometric functions of either of the two acute angles in the triangle in [link] . The side opposite one acute angle is the side adjacent to the other acute angle, and vice versa.

Right triangle with angles alpha and beta. Sides are labeled hypotenuse, adjacent to alpha/opposite to beta, and adjacent to beta/opposite alpha.
The side adjacent to one angle is opposite the other.

We will be asked to find all six trigonometric functions for a given angle in a triangle. Our strategy is to find the sine, cosine, and tangent of the angles first. Then, we can find the other trigonometric functions easily because we know that the reciprocal of sine is cosecant, the reciprocal of cosine is secant, and the reciprocal of tangent is cotangent.

Given the side lengths of a right triangle, evaluate the six trigonometric functions of one of the acute angles.

  1. If needed, draw the right triangle and label the angle provided.
  2. Identify the angle, the adjacent side, the side opposite the angle, and the hypotenuse of the right triangle.
  3. Find the required function:
    • sine as the ratio of the opposite side to the hypotenuse
    • cosine as the ratio of the adjacent side to the hypotenuse
    • tangent as the ratio of the opposite side to the adjacent side
    • secant as the ratio of the hypotenuse to the adjacent side
    • cosecant as the ratio of the hypotenuse to the opposite side
    • cotangent as the ratio of the adjacent side to the opposite side

Evaluating trigonometric functions of angles not in standard position

Using the triangle shown in [link] , evaluate sin α , cos α , tan α , sec α , csc α , and cot α .

Right triangle with sides of 3, 4, and 5. Angle alpha is also labeled.
sin α = opposite  α hypotenuse = 4 5 cos α = adjacent to  α hypotenuse = 3 5 tan α = opposite  α adjacent to  α = 4 3 sec α = hypotenuse adjacent to  α = 5 3 csc α = hypotenuse opposite  α = 5 4 cot α = adjacent to  α opposite  α = 3 4

Using the triangle shown in [link] , evaluate sin   t , cos   t , tan   t , sec   t , csc   t , and cot   t .

Right triangle with sides 33, 56, and 65. Angle t is also labeled.

s i n   t = 33 65 , cos   t = 56 65 , t a n   t = 33 56 , sec   t = 65 56 , csc   t = 65 33 , cot   t = 56 33

Finding trigonometric functions of special angles using side lengths

We have already discussed the trigonometric functions as they relate to the special angles on the unit circle. Now, we can use those relationships to evaluate triangles that contain those special angles. We do this because when we evaluate the special angles in trigonometric functions, they have relatively friendly values, values that contain either no or just one square root in the ratio. Therefore, these are the angles often used in math and science problems. We will use multiples of 30° , 60° , and 45° , however, remember that when dealing with right triangles, we are limited to angles between  and 90° .

Suppose we have a 30° , 60° , 9 triangle, which can also be described as a π 6 ,   π 3 , π 2 triangle. The sides have lengths in the relation s , 3 s , 2 s . The sides of a 45° , 45° , 90° triangle, which can also be described as a π 4 , π 4 , π 2 triangle, have lengths in the relation s , s , 2 s . These relations are shown in [link] .

Two side by side graphs of circles with inscribed angles. First circle has angle of pi/3 inscribed. Second circle has angle of pi/4 inscribed.
Side lengths of special triangles

We can then use the ratios of the side lengths to evaluate trigonometric functions of special angles.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply
Practice Key Terms 5

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Contemporary math applications. OpenStax CNX. Dec 15, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11559/1.6
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Contemporary math applications' conversation and receive update notifications?