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Advanced Math/Observation Wheel


This question is based on the information I gave you before on the "Observation Wheel" word problem.
I would really like your help! I have been trying to solve them but I just get stuck!

The questions are " Write an equation for side "a" of the triangle with respect to the height of a capsule "h". "
And " Using right triangle trig, write an equation that relates thetha, r, and a ."

The best way to approach problems is to first write down the various relationships you can see just by inspection. For instance, the center of the wheel is the height at the bottom, 3ft, plus the radius of the wheel; 3 + r. We also notice that this distance is given by a + h, so we have a = 3+r-h.

The second question simply involves a basic trigonometric definition. How are a, r and theta related? For the right triangle, r is the hypotenuse and a is the side adjacent to the angle theta, therefore cos(theta) = a/r.

You just need to memorize the trigonometric definitions. The don't change and they are not that hard to remember. Practice!


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randy patton


college mathematics, applied math, advanced calculus, complex analysis, linear and abstract algebra, probability theory, signal processing, undergraduate physics, physical oceanography


26 years as a professional scientist conducting academic quality research on mostly classified projects involving math/physics modeling and simulation, data analysis and signal processing, instrument development; often ocean related

J. Physical Oceanography, 1984 "A Numerical Model for Low-Frequency Equatorial Dynamics", with M. Cane

M.S. MIT Physical Oceanography, B.S. UC Berkeley Applied Math

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