The maximum slope of a wheelchair ramp is 1:12. For a wheelchair ramp made with these specifications, what angle does the ramp make with the flat ground?

### Inverse Trigonometric Ratios

Recall that the **sine,** **cosine,** and **tangent** of angles are ratios of pairs of sides in right triangles.

- The
**sine**of an angle in a right triangle is the ratio of the side*opposite*the angle to the*hypotenuse.* - The
**cosine**of an angle in a right triangle is the ratio of the side*adjacent*to the angle to the*hypotenuse*. - The
**tangent**of an angle in a right triangle is the ratio of the side*opposite*the angle to the side*adjacent*to the angle.

You can use the trigonometric ratios to find missing sides of right triangles when given at least one side length and one angle measure. You can use the ** inverse trigonometric ratios** to find a missing angle in a right triangle when given two sides.

- The
**inverse sine**of a*ratio*gives the*angle*in a right triangle whose sine is the given ratio. Inverse sine is also called**arcsine**and is labeled \begin{align*}\sin^{-1}\end{align*} or**arcsin**. - The
**inverse cosine**of a*ratio*gives the*angle*in a right triangle whose cosine is the given ratio. Inverse cosine is also called**arccosine**and is labeled \begin{align*}\cos^{-1}\end{align*} or**arccos**. - The
**inverse tangent**of a*ratio*gives the*angle*in a right triangle whose tangent is the given ratio. Inverse tangent is also called**arctangent**and is labeled \begin{align*}\tan^{-1}\end{align*} or**arctan**.

*Note that in each case the “-1” is to indicate* *inverse*, and is not an exponent.

To find the measure of an angle using an inverse trigonometric ratio, you will need to use your calculator. Most scientific and graphing calculators have buttons that look like \begin{align*}[\sin^{-1}], [\cos^{-1}]\end{align*}, and \begin{align*}[\tan^{-1}]\end{align*}. You will want to make sure that your calculator is in degree mode so that the angle measure that the calculator produces is in degrees.

Let's take a look at some example problems.

1. Solve for \begin{align*}\theta\end{align*}.

The side **opposite** the given angle is length 10 and the **hypotenuse** is length 22. This is a sine relationship.

\begin{align*}\sin \theta &= \frac{10}{22}\\ \theta &= \sin^{-1} \left(\frac{10}{22}\right)\\ \theta & \approx 27.04^\circ\end{align*}

2. Find \begin{align*}m \angle B\end{align*}.

The side **opposite** \begin{align*}\angle B\end{align*} is length 15 and the side **adjacent** to \begin{align*}\angle B\end{align*} is length 8. This is a tangent relationship.

\begin{align*}\tan B &= \frac{15}{8}\\ m \angle B &= \tan^{-1} \left(\frac{15}{8}\right)\\ m \angle B & \approx 61.93^\circ\end{align*}

3. Find \begin{align*}m \angle A\end{align*}.

You only need to know two sides of the triangle in order to find the measure of one of the angles. Since you are given all three sides, you can choose which two sides you want to use.

The side **adjacent** to \begin{align*}\angle A\end{align*} is length 12.7 and the **hypotenuse** is length 15. These two sides are a cosine relationship.

\begin{align*}\cos A &= \frac{12.7}{15}\\ m \angle A &= \cos^{-1} \left(\frac{12.7}{15}\right)\\ m \angle A & \approx 32.15^\circ\end{align*}

### Examples

#### Example 1

Earlier, you were asked what angle a ramp makes with the flat ground.

*The maximum slope of a wheelchair ramp is 1:12. For a wheelchair ramp made with these specifications, what angle does the ramp make with the flat ground?*

Draw a picture to represent this situation.

The side opposite the given angle is length 1 and the side adjacent to the given angle is length 12. This is a tangent relationship.

\begin{align*}\tan \theta &= \frac{1}{12}\\ \theta &= \tan^{-1} \frac{1}{12}\\ \theta &\approx 4.76^\circ\end{align*}

The wheelchair ramp makes approximately a \begin{align*}4.76^\circ\end{align*} angle with the ground.

#### Use the triangle below for #2-#4.

#### Example 2

Find \begin{align*}m \angle A\end{align*}.

The given sides are opposite and adjacent to \begin{align*}\angle A\end{align*}. This is a tangent relationship.

\begin{align*}\tan A &= \frac{3.5}{6.2}\\ \angle A &= \tan^{-1} \frac{3.5}{6.2}\\ \angle A & \approx 29.45^\circ\end{align*}

#### Example 3

Find \begin{align*}m \angle B\end{align*}.

\begin{align*}\angle A\end{align*} and \begin{align*}\angle B\end{align*} are complementary:

\begin{align*}m \angle B &= 90^\circ-m \angle A\\ &= 90^\circ-29.45^\circ\\ &= 60.55^\circ\end{align*}

You could also use inverse tangent to find \begin{align*}m \angle B\end{align*}.

#### Example 4

Find \begin{align*}AB\end{align*}.

With all angle measures and two sides, you could use sine, cosine, or the Pythagorean Theorem to find \begin{align*}AB\end{align*}. Using the Pythagorean Theorem:

\begin{align*}AB^2 &= 3.5^2+6.2^2\\ AB^2 &= 50.69\\ AB & \approx 7.12\end{align*}

### Review

1. What is the difference between \begin{align*}\sin^{-1}\end{align*} and \begin{align*}\sin\end{align*}?** **

2. When do you use regular trigonometric ratios and when do you use inverse trigonometric ratios?

Solve for \begin{align*}\theta\end{align*}.

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10. How could you have found \begin{align*}\theta\end{align*} in #9 without using an inverse trigonometric ratio?

Find all missing information (sides and angles) for each triangle.

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14. How are inverse cosine and inverse sine of the same ratio related?

15. How are inverse tangents of \begin{align*}a\end{align*} and \begin{align*}\frac{1}{a}\end{align*} related?

### Review (Answers)

To see the Review answers, open this PDF file and look for section 7.4.