# Law of Cosines in Algebra

## Exploring the Law of Cosines in Trigonometry

Trigonometry is a branch of mathematics that uses the principles of triangles to determine various properties and measurements. By applying different triangle formulas, we can solve for unknown angles, lengths, or the area of a right-angled triangle. In this article, we will delve into one of these key formulas - the law of cosines.

### What is the Law of Cosines?

The law of cosines is a rule that can be used to find missing sides or angles in a triangle. It applies to triangles with sides a, b, and c, and angles A, B, and C. There are two versions of this law that can be applied to a given triangle.

• For the first version, a² = b² + c² - 2bc · cos(A). This formula is commonly used when we know the lengths of two sides and the angle between them, to determine the length of the third side.
• The second version is cos(A) = (b² + c² - a²) / 2bc. This formula comes in handy when we know the lengths of all three sides and need to find a missing angle.

When to Use the Law of Cosines?

The law of cosines is useful for solving triangles in two situations - when we know two sides and the included angle (SAS), or when all three sides are known (SSS).

Examples of Using the Law of Cosines

### Example 1

Let's consider the following triangle and find the value of x.

Insert image of triangle

Solution:

Based on the law of cosines, we can write the equation a² = b² + c² - 2bc · cos(A). Substituting the given values, we get:

x² = 8² + 5² - 2 x 8 x 5 x cos(30°)

x² = 64 + 25 - 80 x 0.866

x² = 89.4

x = 9.45

### Example 2

Let's find the value of angle A in the following triangle.

Insert image of triangle

Solution:

Applying the law of cosines, we can write the equation cos(A) = (b² + c² - a²) / 2bc. Substituting the given values, we get:

cos(A) = (6² + 7² - 5²) / 2 x 6 x 7

cos(A) = (36 + 49 - 25) / 84

cos(A) = 60 / 84

cos(A) = 0.714

A = 44.4°

Key Takeaways of the Law of Cosines in Trigonometry

• The law of cosines helps us find missing sides or angles in a triangle.
• The first version of the law of cosines states that a² = b² + c² - 2bc · cos(A).
• The second version of the law of cosines states that cos(A) = (b² + c² - a²) / 2bc.
• The law of cosines is useful for solving triangles when we know two sides and the included angle (SAS), or when all three sides are known (SSS).

### How to Find Angles Using the Law of Cosines in Trigonometry?

If all three sides of a triangle are known, we can use the equation cos(A) = (b² + c² - a²) / 2bc to determine the value of angle A.

### When to Use the Law of Cosines in Trigonometry?

The law of cosines is applicable in two main cases - when we know two sides and the included angle (SAS), or when all three sides are known (SSS).

### How to Use the Law of Cosines in Trigonometry?

To utilize the law of cosines in trigonometry, we follow the same steps mentioned earlier - substitute the given values into the relevant equation and solve for the unknown.

In Conclusion

The law of cosines is a valuable tool in the world of trigonometry. By understanding and using its different versions, we can easily find missing information in triangles and solve various problems involving them.