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Las Pias City National Science High School

Carnival Park St., BFRV, Talon II, Las Pias City

Subject: TRIGONOMETRY
Topic: SOLUTION TO OBLIQUE TRIANGLES

Analysis and Evaluation on the Solution and Application of Oblique


Triangles on Modern Trigonometry

Proponents
Millares, Clarence
Quinsoy, Kim
Segubre, Steven Michael
Torcelino, Carlos Inigo
Tuala, Bhejay

Trigonometry Teacher
Ms. Marissa L. Serrano

CHAPTER 1
Introduction
Oblique triangles are any triangles except right triangles. These
triangles may be acute or obtuse. Sometimes, the study of oblique triangles
may be the study of all triangles including right triangles. In trigonometry
the study of oblique triangles are essential to further find new modalities in
studying this field.
An oblique triangle is determined or solvable if a side and any two
other parts are known, whether this might be both sides, both angles, or a
side and an angle. With this two given situations, the measures of the sides
and the interior angles, and possibly the area, of the triangle can be solved.
However, since oblique triangles do not contain any right interior
angle, the basic application of the six trigonometric functions and the famous
and well-rounded Pythagorean Theorem cannot be used directly.
Nonetheless, two theorems of geometry give trigonometry useful laws to
deal with this problem: Law of Cosines and the Law of Sines.
The Law of Sines is vital for studying triangles, specifically on studying
oblique triangles. The Law of Sines can be used when two angles and a side
of a triangle are known. This law is important because, as said above, it can
be applied in all kinds of triangles. The law has the formula a over sin A= b
over sin B= c over sin C which is useful on oblique triangles in trigonometry.

In addition, the Law of Cosines, with the formula a2 = c2 +b2 - 2bc (cos
A), is also important in solving these types of triangles. This law is used
primarily in two situations: when two sides and their included angle are
given, and when three sides are given. This is to fulfill the missing
requirement before using the law of sines.
Before, solving these types of triangles will need an actual diagram of
the polygon and several measuring tools. However, with the use of these
laws, it has been easy for Mathematicians to determine the polygons size
without manually measuring the triangle. Though there are other laws that
can be used, the common used of calculators lead people to only use these
two.
The researchers believe that by studying these types of oblique
triangles and determining their solution provides information to further find
new modalities in studying trigonometry and its application to the everyday
life. It also adds new knowledge on the field of Mathematics as other
formulas may be discovered in answering daily questions.
Also, all of these are essential and vital to human life because this
gives accuracy and precision for engineers and architects in their own work.
Especially with these, humans especially researchers can further find ways in
improving the quality of life.

CHAPTER 2
Methodology
Oblique triangles are triangles that do not have a 90 angle. Because
of this, we cannot solve this triangle using the Pythagorean Theorem. So in
order for you to know how to solve on oblique triangles, you must first know
the law of sines and the law of cosines.
LAW OF SINES
LAW OF SINE

First, lets take a look at ABC.


Remember that the sides of the triangle MUST
be opposite of its angle of the same name.

sinA sinB sin C


=
=
a
b
c
Fig. 21: LAW OF SINE

The lowercase letters would


Fig. 2.2: ABC

represent the sides and the


uppercase letters represent the
angles of the triangle. The law of
sine is used to prove triangle congruencies, namely, ASA (Angle-Side-Angle)
and AAS (Angle-Angle-Side). Because, in order for us to solve an oblique
triangle using the law of sines, we should have 2 known angles and 1 known
side.

Example
We have here on the right
Fig. 2.3: DEF

DEF. Going through the triangle


counter-clockwise without skipping
any given angle or side, wed start
with F which measures 61. Next is
D which measures 44. Lastly, we
have a known side named side f (because the name of the side must be
opposite its angle) has a measure of 52. Now we can say that we have an
Angle-Angle-Side or AAS, a congruency theorem. With that, we can now
solve this oblique triangle.
If you are going to look at the figure, we can
say that we only need to find out the values of
side d and side e. And because the law of sines
says that (sin A)/a = (sin B)/b, we can substitute
it using the letter of the other angle or side. Lets
start first with d since its angle is already given.
Fig. 2.4: How to solve d

So what we are going to do is rename the


equation, substitute the given measures in the equation. And lastly, isolate
the variable that we are going to solve, and that is d. Looking at the detailed
solution for side d, the value of d is 41.3.

After solving side d, we still havent solved the triangle yet because the
measure of E and side e is still unknown. And since we cannot solve side e
without having the mE, we should solve it first. Because we have two
angles that are given already, we could add them and then subtract it to
180 to solve E. 180 (61 + 44) =

Fig. 2.6: DEF with


all the measures of
its sides and angles

75. mE = 75. Using the law of sines,


we can now solve side e. And by using it,

57.4

41.3

we are going to have a value of 57.4.

75

And here in Fig. 2.6, you can see all the


measures of the sides and angles of DEF.
The law of sines can only be used to solve AAS or ASA triangle
congruencies, if the given measures were only the sides (SSS) or two sides
and an included angle (SAS), we should use the law of cosines.
LAW OF COSINES
This law is used to prove the SSS (Side-Side-Side) and SAS (SideLAW OF COSINE

Angle-Side) triangle congruencies. Here in this

a =b +c 2 bc cosA
law, we only need at least two sides of the
oblique triangle. This law is also used when the
largest angle of the oblique triangle is an
obtuse angle.

b2=a2 +c 22 ac cosB
c 2=a 2+ b22 ab cosC

Example
In this example, we have a triangle given all of
its sides. Using the law of cosine, we are going to
solve the angles of the GHI*. Now, the first
thing youre going to do is to solve the largest
angle, which is G. (TAKE NOTE: The largest
angle is opposite the longest side.)
To solve G, we first need to find the

g2=h 2+i 22 hi cosG

formula that we are going to use. Since we are

92=82+ 322 ( 8 ) (3) cosG

going to find for G, we will put side g

81=64 +92(24)cosG

isolated on the left of the equation. Using the


the original formulas for the law of cosine,
substitute everything in and we have

81=7348 cosG
8173=48 cosG

8173
=cosG
48

g2 = h2 + i2 - 2hi (cos G) as our formula.


Substitute all the values in, and simplify until
we are left out with 81 = 73 - 48 (cos G).
Since -48 is together with cos G, transpose 73
to the other side of the equation then simplify.
Next divide both sides of the equation by -48.

8
=cosG
48
1
=cosG
6
cos1

1
=G
6

99.59=G 99.6

And now we have 8/(-48)= cos G, which can be simplified to -1/6 = cos G.
How can we solve G? You are going to find the inverse function of -1/6. So,

cos-1 (-1)/6 = G. And we are going to have an answer of 99.59 or simply,


99.6.
Thats just the largest angle of our triangle, we still have two to go.
Since we already have 1 angle measure, we can find the second angle
through the law of sines.

sinG sinh
=
g
h

Lets say our second angle is H. If we are


going to use the law of sine, we need to isolate
sin 99.6 sinh
=
sin H in 9the equation.
8
If we are going to isolate
8sin 99.6
=sinh
sin H, we9 need
to find its inverse to find H.
7.888
=sinh
Solving9the
inverse of the sin H, we have
0.8764=sinh
61.2111 or approximately 61.2.
1
sin 0.8764=H
61.2111=H 61.2
Lastly, in order to
Fig. 2.10: Solving h using

find I, youThe
can
just
LAW
OF SINE
subtract the sum of G and H to 180. So, 180

Fig.19.2
2.11:
GHI with
all the
measures
of its sides
and angles

(99.6 + 61.2) = 19.2. I = 19.2. Taking a


look at Fig. 2.11, theres GHI with the measures
of all its angles and sides.

99.6

61.2

CHAPTER 3
Research on the Topic Itself
Since oblique triangles do not have any interior right angle, the Pythagorean
Theorem and the six trigonometric functions cannot be applied to answer the
problems involving these triangles easily. However, two new laws are made
so that two of the trigonometric functions, sine and cosine to be exact, can
be used to solve the measurements of the sides and interior angles of any
triangle by showing the relationships of each side to the polygons angles.
DERIVATION
The Laws of Sines and Cosines are used to identify the measures of the sides
and interior angles of any triangle, with or without any interior right angle.
The Law of Sines
Figure 3.1 is an oblique triangle. A perpendicular was drawn from vertex B.

Figure 3.1

From the illustration, it can be deduced that:

sin A = h/d h = c (sin A)


sin C = h/a h = a (sin C)

Since both c (sin A) and a (sin C) both equate to h, we can therefore


conclude:

c (sin A) = a (sin C) (sin A)/a = (sin C)/c

Another perpendicular bisector was drawn from vertex A of the same


triangle, as shown in Figure 3.2.

Figure 3.2
From the illustration, it can also be deduced that:

sin B = k/c k = c (sin B)


sin C = k/b k = b (sin C)

Due to both c (sin B) and a (sin C) are equal to k, then:

c (sin B) = b (sin C) (sin B)/b = (sin C)/c

Both (sin A)/a and (sin B)/b are equal to (sin C)/c, therefore:

(sin A)/a = (sin B)/b

From these three equations, the Law of Sines was made. This law can be
simply stated mathematically as:

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

The Law of Cosines


Figure 3.3 is an oblique triangle. A perpendicular bisector was drawn from
vertex B down to side AC, as shown below.

Figure 3.3
It can now be observed that:

sin A = h/c h = c (sin A)


cos A = r/c r = c (cos A)

Using the Pythagorean Theorem in triangle BCD, we can have:

a2 = h2 + (b-r)2

Since we have known the value of h and r, we can substitute their value to
the former equation.

a2 = h2 + (b-r)2
a2 = (c (sin A))2 + (b - (c (cos A))2

(substitute the value of h and r by c (sin A) and c (cos A), respectively)


a2 = c2 (sin A)2 +b2 - 2bc (cos A) + c2 (cos A)2
(expand (c (sin A))2 and (b - (c (cos A))2)
a2 = c2 (sin A)2 + c2 (cos A)2 +b2 - 2bc (cos A)
(the terms are reordered)
a2 = c2 ((sin A)2 + (cos A)2) +b2 - 2bc (cos A)
(c2 (sin A)2 + c2 (cos A)2 was grouped, and c2 was factored out)
a2 = c2 (1) +b2 - 2bc (cos A)
(due to the identity sin2 + cos2 = 1, (sin A)2 + (cos A)2 was changed to 1)
a2 = c2 +b2 - 2bc (cos A)
The resulting equation is the equation for the Law of Cosines.
Area of a Triangle
Conventionally, the area of a triangle is bh/2. However, in trigonometry, this
formula could be expressed in terms of trigonometric ratios.

The area of triangle ABC in figure 3.4 is ah/2. If you look at figure 3.4 below
again, the following statement can be made:

Figure 3.4

sin C = h/b h = b (sin C)

With this, we can say that the height is equal to the length of side b
multiplied to sin C. Substituting this value to the h in the formula of area, we
can therefore conclude that:

A = ab (sin C)/2

SHORTCUTS AND OTHER TECHNIQUES


The Law of Sines
The researchers have found out that the equation for Law of Sines can be
rewritten, such that all the terms in each side of the equation are expressed
as products of three values, two of the three sides and the angle opposite
the other side.

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


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

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


bc (sin A) = ac (sin B) = ab (sin C)
Other than that, the researchers have not found any other shortcut or
technique that can simplify further the Law of Sines.
The Law of Cosines
Sadly, the researchers have not found any technique or shortcut to alter the
equation for the Law of Cosines.
However, it should be taken note that the variable of the equation can be
interchanged depending on the variable being asked.

a2 = c2 +b2 - 2bc (cos A)


b2 = a2 +c2 2ac (cos B)
c2 = a2 +b2 2ab (cos C)

Observe that the variable on the left side of the equation cannot be seen on
the right side of the equation, and the angle, which its cosine is important to
solve the equation, must be the interior angle opposite the side indicated on
the left portion of the equation. This could be a clue in rewriting the
equation.
Nevertheless, there is only one equation for the Law of Cosines, not three.
The two other mentioned equations are just other forms of the first one.

Area of a Triangle
From the formula of the area of a triangle stated beforehand in this research
paper and the other technique or form of the Laws of Sines, it can be
observed that ab (sin C) from A = ab (sin C)/2 can be changed to bc (sin A)
or ac (sin B). Furthermore, the same technique suggested by the
researchers in writing the Laws of Sines can be used to find the
measurements of other sides and interior angles if ever sufficient
information is still not present on the problem given.
THE AMBIGUOUS CASE
Problems arise on the determinacy of a triangle given only two of its sides
and an angle opposite to one of the said sides. In case of such discrepancies,
it is necessary first and foremost to determine whether the said angle is
acute or obtuse. After doing so, solutions can be concluded based on the
properties of the given information for each type of angle.
For Acute Angles
Five different cases exist for the given information above with the use of the
Law of Sines (SparkNotes Editors, n.d.).

If the side opposite the given angle, b, is shorter than the other given
side, a, and less than a certain length, then (a (sin B)/ b) > 1 , and no
solution exists, because there exists no angle whose sine is greater
than one. Refer to figure 3.5 for the polygons illustration.

Figure 3.5

If the side opposite the given angle is shorter than the other given
side, there exists an exact length at which (a (sin B)/ b) = 1, and A =
90. Exactly one solution exists, and a right triangle is determined.

Figure 3.6 illustrates the shape.


Figure 3.6

If the side opposite the given angle is shorter than the other given
side, but longer than in the previous case, then (a (sin B)/ b) < 1, and
two triangles are determined, one in which A = x, and one in which A
= (180 x), such as in figure 3.7.

Figure 3.7

If the side opposite the given angle is equal in length to the other
given side, then A = B, and an isosceles triangle is determined, as

shown in figure 3.8.


Figure 3.8

If the side opposite the given angle is longer than the other given side,

then (a (sin B)/ b) < 1, and a triangle is determined, like in figure 3.9.
Figure 3.9

For Obtuse Angles


With the same given information stated in the first paragraph of the article,
except this time, the angle is obtuse rather than acute, three different cases
can be made to determine if there is such triangle or not, again, with the use
of the Law of Sines (SparkNotes Editors, n.d.).

If the side opposite the given angle is less than the other given side (b
< a), then arcsin (a (sin B)/ b) + B > 180; there is no solution and no

triangle is determined, illustrated in figure 3.10.


Figure 3.10

Like in the previous case, if the side opposite the given angle is equal
to the other given side (b = a), then arcsin (a (sin B)/ b) + B = 180.

There is no solution, and, no triangle is determined, like figure 3.11.

Figure 3.11

If the side opposite the given angle is greater than the other given

side, then exactly one triangle is determined, shown in figure 3.12.


Figure 3.12
CHAPTER 4
Analysis
The researchers found out another way of rewriting the Laws of Sine.
They also discovered an additional means of writing the formula of the Area
of a Triangle. But, unfortunately, they have not found another way of
rewriting the formulas of the Laws of Cosine. All of these new ways of
rewriting the formulas of the said topics are not shortcuts, but are all
rewriting or other techniques of these formulas.
The rewritten formulas are of no significant difference than the original
ones, the researchers just found out that these formulas can be written in
another way. Since the new formulas do not differ from the original ones,
the researchers preferred using the original formulas. The researchers

recommended using the original formulas because these are easier to


memorize than the new ones. Also, the original formulas are the simplest
way to solve problems involving these techniques

CHAPTER 5
Discussion

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v=07w-wk8kRRE
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