Posts Tagged ‘triangle’

Area of a Triangle

Here is a general formula to calculate the area, A, of a triangle with width w and height h as shown in the diagram.

A = ½ wh

triangle of width w and height h

triangle of width w and height h


In order to work out the area of a triangle we can draw it within a rectangle that touches all three corners and has a base of equal width as shown below.

triangle inside rectangle

triangle inside rectangle

From this diagram we can now consider the are of the triangle on the left and the one on the right seperatley and then add them together to get the area of the whole triangle. We can see that each of these triangles cuts the rectangle they are in in half so they half the area of that rectangle,

ie) the left hand triangle has the area ha/2 and the right hand one has the area hb/2 so the total are of the triangle is

A = ha/2 + hb/2

Now we can take out the h/2 as a common factor to get

A =(a+b) h/2

but a+b = w since that was how the triangle was constructed hence we get the formula for the area

A = wh/2


Trigonometry: Sin, Cos and Tan

February 3, 2008 15 comments

This is the basics of using sine, co-sine and tangent for a right angled triangle. To do this you’ll probably need a scientific calculator

Trigonometry Triangle

To perform calculations we are going to use the triangle above.
The three main relationships are:

Tan(x) = o/a
Sin(x) = o/h
Cos(x) = a/h

so if h = 5 and x = 30
a = Cos(30)h = 4.330

We can also use a inverse of the functions
ie) x = tan-1(o/a)
x = sin-1(o/h)
x = cos-1(a/h)

so if o = 5 and a = 10
x = tan-1(5/10) = 26.565

Using this information we can work out any side or angle in a right angled triangle as long as we have to other pieces of information (like a side and a angle or 2 sides). This is used a lot in resolving forces in physics and allows us to derive some other more complex equations.

Soon ill be adding a maths section to my site Breakingwave