# Solving trigonometric equations?

• Jun 12th 2013, 06:52 PM
FatimaA
Solving trigonometric equations?
Hi, I'm working on this problem, and it's throwing me off a bit because it's a little different from what I've been doing.

Solve 4(cos^2(3x)) 3 = 0 for [0, 2π). Give exact answers.

Here is what I've done so far:

4 (cos^2(3x)) - 3 = 0

4 (cos^2(3x)) = 3 (added 3)

cos^2(3x) = 3/4 (divided by 4)

The three is throwing me off a little and I don't know what the next step is.

• Jun 12th 2013, 07:00 PM
topsquark
Re: Solving trigonometric equations?
Quote:

Originally Posted by FatimaA
Hi, I'm working on this problem, and it's throwing me off a bit because it's a little different from what I've been doing.

Solve 4(cos^2(3x)) 3 = 0 for [0, 2π). Give exact answers.

Here is what I've done so far:

4 (cos^2(3x)) - 3 = 0

4 (cos^2(3x)) = 3 (added 3)

cos^2(3x) = 3/4 (divided by 4)

The three is throwing me off a little and I don't know what the next step is.

You have $cos^2(3x) = 3/4$. That square in the cosine is getting in the way, don't you think?

-Dan
• Jun 12th 2013, 07:18 PM
FatimaA
Re: Solving trigonometric equations?
Thank you, Dan.

I determined:

4 (cos^2(3x)) - 3 = 0

4 (cos^2(3x)) = 3 (added 3)

cos^2(3x) = 3/4 (divided by 4)

√cos^2(3x) = √3/4

cos3x = +/- √3/(2)

3x = π/6 + (nπ)

and

3x = 5π/6 + nπ

x = π/18 + (nπ)/3

and

x = (5π)/18 + (nπ)/3
• Jun 12th 2013, 07:22 PM
Prove It
Re: Solving trigonometric equations?
Since \displaystyle \begin{align*} \cos{(3x)} = \pm \frac{\sqrt{3}}{2} \end{align*}, you should find that \displaystyle \begin{align*} 3x \end{align*} can give FOUR solutions (one for each quadrant of the unit circle), and then dividing by 3 will give you 12 solutions (as the period is diminished to \displaystyle \begin{align*} \frac{1}{3} \end{align*} of the original period).
• Jun 12th 2013, 07:33 PM
FatimaA
Re: Solving trigonometric equations?
Hi Prove it,

I determined that there were the four solutions and then, dividing by three, I came up with:

x = π/18 + (nπ)/3

and

x = (5π)/18 + (nπ)/3

• Jun 12th 2013, 07:43 PM
Prove It
Re: Solving trigonometric equations?
You have only gotten TWO of the possible solutions from the unit circle. There are FOUR.
• Jun 12th 2013, 07:56 PM
FatimaA
Re: Solving trigonometric equations?
x = π/18 + (nπ)/3

and

x = (5π)/18 + (nπ)/3

and

x = (7π)/18 + (nπ)/3

and

x = (11π)/18 + (nπ)/3
• Jun 12th 2013, 08:38 PM
Prove It
Re: Solving trigonometric equations?
That's better, although you should be adding \displaystyle \begin{align*} \frac{2n\pi}{3} \end{align*} to each, not \displaystyle \begin{align*} \frac{n\pi}{3} \end{align*}.

Now that you have the four starting solutions, what are the twelve solutions in the region \displaystyle \begin{align*} x \in [0 , 2\pi ) \end{align*}?