# http://www.mathcentre.ac.uk/resources/Engineering%20maths%20first%20aid%20kit/latexsource%20and%20diagrams/4_2.pdf ```4.2
The Trigonometrical Ratios
Introduction
The trigonometrical ratios sine, cosine and tangent appear frequently in many engineering problems. This leaflet revises the meaning of these terms.
1. Sine, cosine and tangent ratios
Study the right-angled triangle ABC shown below.
C
hypotenuse
side opposite to θ
θ
A
B
The side opposite the right-angle is called the hypotenuse. The side opposite to θ is BC.
The remaining side, AB, is said to be adjacent to θ.
Suppose we know the lengths of each of the sides as in the figure below.
C
10
8
θ
A
6
B
We can then divide the length of one side by the length of one of the other sides.
The ratio BC
is known as the sine of angle θ. This is abbreviated to sin θ. In the triangle shown
AC
we see that
8
= 0.8
sin θ =
10
is known as the cosine of angle θ. This is abbreviated to cos θ. In the triangle
The ratio AB
AC
shown we see that
6
cos θ =
= 0.6
10
is known as the tangent of angle θ. This is abbreviated to tan θ. In the triangle
The ratio BC
AB
shown we see that
8
tan θ = = 1.3333
6
In any right-angled triangle we define the trigonometrical ratios as follows:
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4.2.1
c Pearson Education Ltd 2000
sin θ =
BC
opposite
=
hypotenuse
AC
cos θ =
tan θ =
opposite
BC
=
AB
AB
=
hypotenuse
AC
2. Some standard, or common, triangles
2
√2
1
45°
30°
√3
1
1
sin 45◦ = √ ,
2
1
sin 30◦ = ,
2
√
3
◦
,
sin 60 =
2
60° 1
1
cos 45◦ = √ ,
2
√
3
cos 30◦ =
,
2
1
cos 60◦ = ,
2
tan 45◦ = 1
1
tan 30◦ = √
3
√
tan 60◦ = 3
3. Using a calculator
If we know the angles in a right-angled triangle the trigonometrical ratios can be found using a
scientific calculator. Look for the sine, cosine and tangent buttons on your calculator and make
sure that you can use them by verifying that
sin 50◦ = 0.7660,
cos 32◦ = 0.8480
Your calculator will be able to handle angles measured in either radians or degrees. It will be
necessary for you to choose the appropriate units. Study your calculator manual to learn how
to do this. Check that
4. Finding an angle when a trigonometrical ratio is known
If we are given, or know, a value for sin θ, cos θ or tan θ we may want to work out the corresponding angle θ. This process is known as finding the inverse sine, inverse cosine or inverse
tangent. Your calculator will be pre-programmed for doing this. The buttons will be labelled
invsin, or sin−1 , and so on.
Check that you can use your calculator to show that if sin θ = 0.75 then θ = 48.59◦.
Mathematically we write this as follows:
if sin θ = 0.75, then θ = sin−1 0.75 = 48.59◦
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4.2.2
c Pearson Education Ltd 2000
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