Upon request by some students, I’ll discuss a few trigonometry formulae here and also some of their uses in A’levels. I’ve previously discussed the use of factor formulae here under integration.

I’ll start with the R-Formulae. It should require no introduction as it is from secondary Add Math. This formulae is not given in MF26, although students can derive it out using existing formulae in MF26.

a \text{cos} \theta \pm b \text{sin} \theta = R \text{cos} (\theta \mp \alpha)

a \text{sin} \theta \pm b \text{cos} \theta = R \text{sin} (\theta \pm \alpha)

where R = \sqrt{a^2 + b^2} and \text{tan} \alpha = \frac{b}{a} for a > 0, b > 0 and \alpha is acute.

Here is a quick example,

f(x) = 3 \text{cos}t - 2 \text{sin}t

Write f(x) as a single trigonometric function exactly.

Here, we observe, we have to use the R-Formulae where

R = \sqrt{3^2 + 2^2} = \sqrt{13}

\alpha = \text{tan}^{\text{-1}} (\frac{2}{3})

We have that

 f(x) = \sqrt{13} \text{cos} ( t + \text{tan}^{\text{-1}} (\frac{2}{3})).

I’ll end with a question from HCI Midyear 2017 that uses R-Formulae in one part of the question.

A curve D has parametric equations

x = e^{t} \text{sin}t, y = e^{t} \text{cos}t, \text{~for~} 0 \le t \le \frac{\pi}{2}

(i) Prove that \frac{dy}{dx}  = \text{tan} (\frac{\pi}{4} - t).

I’ll discuss about Factor Formulae soon.  And then the difference and application between this two formulae.

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