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FEC Cambridge International School

Xixang,Shenzhen May 28, 2010


Guangdong,China Solving Trig. equations Jay D.

Period
What is the period of a function?

The period of a function f (x) is the smallest positive value p such that f (x) = f (x + p)
for all x in the domain of f (x). You need to remember the period of these three basic trigono-
metric functions:

function period
sin x 360
cos x 360
tan x 180

Notice now that according to the above definition, we have

sin(x 360) = sin x


cos(x 360) = cos x
tan(x 180) = tan x for all x.

You should understand and remember the basic shape for each of the graphs of sin, cos and
tan x over their periods.

sin x cos x
y y
1 1

0 3 2 2 x 0 3 2 2 x
2 2
1 1

tan x

2 0 x
2

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360
The period of sin(bx) and cos(bx) is b
.

180
The period of tan(bx) is b
.

If sin = a and the angle = sin1 (a) then

= + 360 k or
= (180 ) + 360 k where k = 0, 1, 2, 3,

If cos = a and the angle = cos1 (a) then

= + 360 k or
= + 360 k where k = 0, 1, 2, 3,

If tan = a and the angle = tan1 (a) then

= + 180 k where k = 0, 1, 2, 3,

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Example 1.
Solve the equation sin(3x + 15) = 0.8 for x in the interval 0 x 360.
Answer

3x + 15 = sin1 (0.8) + k 360 3x + 15 = (180 53.1) + k 360


3x + 15 = 53.1 + k 360 3x + 15 = 126.9 + k 360
3x = 38.1 + k 360 3x = 111.9 + k 360
x = 12.7 + k 120 x = 37.3 + k 120
k = 0, x1 = 12.7 k = 0, x4 = 37.3
k = 1, x2 = 12.7 + 120 = 132.7 k = 1, x5 = 37.3 + 120 = 157.3
k = 2, x3 = 132.7 + 120 = 252.7 k = 2, x6 = 157.3 + 120 = 277.3
k = 1, x = 12.7 120 = 107.3 Out of given range. k = 1, x = 37.3 120 = 82.7 (Out of given r

Examples
1. Solve the equation 10 sin2 5 cos2 + 2 = 4 sin . Give all roots in the interval
0 360.

2. (a) Give an example of a trigonometric function which has a period of 180.

(b) Solve for x the equation sin 3x = 0.5, giving all solutions in the interval
0 x 180.

3. For the function y = 29 20 sin(3x 45) , determine the maximum and minimum values

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of y and the least positive value of x at which these occur.

4. Solve the equation tan2 2 tan = 1 giving solutions in the interval 0 360.

5. The function t is defined by t(x) = tan 3x.


(a) State the period of t(x).

1
(b) Solve the equation t(x) = 2
for 0 x 180.

(c) Deduce the smallest positive solution of each of the following equations.
i. t(x) = 12

ii. t(x) = 2

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