Finding theta in terms of h and l of a right triangle

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johnbean
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Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 1:11 am
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Finding theta in terms of h and l of a right triangle

Postby johnbean » Sat May 21, 2011 1:24 am

Hi, first post, but need help quick. I am writing a program in visual basic (irrelevant) and need to figure out a theta value from a right triangle, but need it in terms of certain variables. The figure is shown below with variables theta, l, and h. I need the theta value in terms of h and l.

So far I got theta = sin-1( sqrt(h*l)/l), however, this wasn't correct.

Another approach I took led me to sin(theta) tan(theta) = h/l . But I am unsure how to get theta isolated.

Any help is appreciated.

Image

Thanks,

John

nona.m.nona
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Re: Finding theta in terms of h and l of a right triangle

Postby nona.m.nona » Sat May 21, 2011 11:14 am

johnbean wrote:...I need the theta value in terms of h and l.....

Image

For clarity, I will use upper-case "L" for the "length" of the longer side of the original (largest) right triangle.

If the remaining portion of the original triangle's hypotenuse is labeled as "x", then the hypotenuse has length x + h. The remaining angle may be labelled . It is elementary to prove that one then has three right triangles:

largest: angle contained by sides L and x + h
middle: angle contained by sides L and x
smallest: angle contained by sides and

From the largest and middle triangles, one may arrive at two expressions for the cosine of which may be used to create an equation. Solve this "quadratic" for the "value" of x in terms of L and h by applying the Quadratic Formula.


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