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# Trigonometric inequalities in a triangle

by drs. R. Kooistra

## Nieuw Tijdschr. Wisk. 45(1957/58), 108-115

Sommario
This article presents a survey of more or less symmetrical forms of
known inequalities on trigonometric ratios of angles of a triangle.

A. Angoli interi.
I. Sum of trigonometric ratios.
(a) From the known formula
X A B C
cos A = 1 + 4 sin sin sin
2 2 2
and the inequalities 0 < sin A2 sin B2 sin C2 1
8
(see B, part Ib), both valid for
any triangle, follows immediately:
X 3
1< cos A (1)
2

For the right triangle, the right hand can be strengthened, since in this
triangle is (see B, part II):

A B C 1  
0 < sin sin sin 21
2 2 2 4
and thus X
1< cos A 2 (2)
where the equality holds if the triangle is also isosceles.

Translated from Dutch into English by Ercole Suppa

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We can deduce (2) more directly: if C = 90 , then we have:
X A+B AB AB
cos A = cos A + cos B = 2 cos cos = 2 cos
2 2 2
from which (2) can be obtained.

center H gives:
X
2R < HA < 3R

## where R is the radius of the circumscribed circle.

P
(b) To determine the boundaries of sin A, we use the following auxiliary
proposition (see Volume 39 and Volume 9 p. 41 p. 6-7 of N.T.v.W.).
Depending on is an acute-angled triangle, an obtuse-angled or an right-
angled, just one of the following inequalities holds:

s T 2R + r (3)

We can add to (3) the sine rule, which for the acute-angled triangle gives:
X A B C
R sin A > 2R + 4R sin sin sin
2 2 2
or X A B C
sin A > 2 + 4 sin sin sin
2 2 2
and thus X
sin A > 2
For a right triangle we get
X A B C
sin A = 2 + 4 sin sin sin
2 2 2
from which follows: X
2< sin A 2+1
This follows again from C = 90 :
X A+B AB
sin A = sin A + sin B + 1 = 1 + 2 sin cos =
2 2
AB
=1+ 2 cos
2

2
Finally we get to a obtuse-angled triangle (3):
X A B C
sin A < 2 + 4 sin sin sin
2 2 2
and thus X 1 5
sin A < 2 + =
2 2
A second limit, the acute-angled and obtuse angled triangle we find the
formulas: X A B C
sin A = 4 cos cos cos
2 2 2
and
A B C 3 3
0 < cos cos cos
2 2 2 2
(see Section B part II) for which in an acute-angled triangle follows:

X 3 3
sin A
2
and a obtuse angled triangle:
X
sin A > 0

In summary, we have:

X 3 3
2< sin A acute-angled triangle (4)
2
X
2< sin A 2 + 1 right-angled triangle (5)
X 5
0< sin A obtuse-angled triangle (6)
2
(c) In part III of the 43rd edition of the N.T.v.W. an acute-angled triangle
tan A 3 3 (7)
a formula, which of course P
also valid for a right triangle. For a obtuse-angled
triangle we have, because tan A = tan A tan B tan C:
X
tan A < 0 (8)

(d) A similar formula for the cotangent can be obtained from the formula
found in 1919 by Weitzenbock:

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In any triangle with sides a, b and c and surface is:

a2 + b2 + c2 4 3
Also known are the formulas:
b 2 + c 2 a2 a2 + c 2 b 2 a2 + b 2 c 2
cot A = , cot B = , cot C =
4 4 4
that usingP
the law of cosines
P 2 can be easily derived. Addition of these formulas
gives: 4 cot A = a and therefore each triangle:
X
cot A 3 (9)

where the equal sign applies if the triangle is isosceles. It should be noted is
that (9) for , the Brocard angle, the known inequality: 30 holds for

## For a right triangle, we can limit in (9) again sharpen. If C = 90 then:

X
cot A = cot A + cot B = cot A + tan A 2
a b
where we heve applied the algebraic inequality b
+ a
2 (ab > 0).

Conclusion is therefore:
X
tan A 3 3 acute-angled or right-angled triangle (7)
X
tan A < 0 obtuse angled triangle (8)
X
cot A 3 each triangle (9)
X
cot A 2 right-angled triangle (10)

## II. Sum of squares of trigonometric ratios.

(a) From the known formulas
X
cos2 A = 1 2 cos A cos B cos C

and
1
0 cos A cos B cos C
8
both valid for both the acute-angled triangle as to give immediately:
3 X 2
cos A 1
4
4
where the equal sign in the left hand applies to the equilateral triangle and
in the right
P hand applies to the right triangle. In obtuse-angled triangle the
2
formula cos A = 1 2 cos A cos B cos C yields
X
1< cos2 A < 3

## since 1 < cos A cos B cos C < 0 (See A. Section III).

In summary, we have:
3 X 2
cos A < 1 acute-angled triangle (11)
4X
cos2 A = 1 right-angled triangle (12)
X
1< cos2 A < 3 obtuse-angled triangle (13)

## HA2 , we get the inequalities:

P
By applying (11) and (13) on
X
3R2 HA2 < 4R2 acute-angled triangle

and X
4R2 < HA2 < 12R2 obtuse-angled triangle

## (b) The formula

X
sin2 A = 2 (1 + cos A cos B cos C)
P 2
gives us the following bounds for sin A:
X 5
2< sin2 A acute-angled triangle (14)
X 4
sin2 A = 2 right-angled triangle (15)
X
0< sin2 A < 2 obtuse-angled triangle (16)
P 2
By applying (14),(15) and (16) on a , we get the inequalities:

X
8R2 < a2 < R 2 acute-angled triangle
X
a2 = 8R2 right-angled triangle
X
a2 < 8R2 obtuse-angled triangle

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(c) In section V of the 44th edition of the N.T.v.W. are several proofs
supplied for inequality: X
tan2 A 9 (17)
and valid for . For a obtuse-angled triangle, we have
X
tan2 A > 0 (18)

## From (17) and (18) have the following inequalities:

X
sec2 A 12 acute-angled and right-angled triangles
X
sec2 A 3 obtuse-angled triangle

P 2 P
(d) From the algebraic inequality a ab follows that
X X
cot2 A cot A cot B
P
and therefore, because cot A cot B = 1, in each triangle we have
X
cot2 A 1 (19)

## From this, it follows immediately:

X
cosec2 A 4 (20)

Formula (19) for the right triangles can be strengthed again. Since C = 90
we have X
cot2 A = cot2 A + cot2 B = cot2 A + tan2 A
P 2
and thus cot A 2 (right triangles).

## where isPthe Brocard angle. Since 30 we have cosec2 4 and

therefore cosec2 A 4.

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III. Product of trigonometric ratios.
(a) Well known is the inequality:
1
0 cos A cos B cos C (21)
8
which is valid for one acute-angled triangle. The equal sign in the left hand
holds for a right triangle, whereas in the right hand holds for an equilateral
triangle. On the other hand for a obtuse-angled triangle it is absolutely clear
that:
1 < cos A cos B cos C < 0 (22)
P
Here we may note that both inequalities (22) and cos A > 1 give a quick
solution to provide indication of the exam I of Gonio and Trigonometria L.O.
1956.
(b) The product we use again
P the sinuses drone
P 2 formula
Weitzenbock and the
2
already derived formulas sin A. From a 40 3 follows immediately:
X
8R2 sin A sin B sin C 3 4R2 sin2 A

or
3X 2
sin A sin B sin C 3 sin A
6
for each triangle.

## Because (14), (15) and (16), we have:

3 3
0 < sin A sin B sin C acute-angled triangle (23)
8
3
0 < sin A sin B sin C < right-angled triangle (24)
3
3
0 < sin A sin B sin C < obtuse-angled triangle (25)
3
We apply (23) to the area of a triangle, inscribed in a circle with radius
R and then find:

2 23 3 3 3 2
= 2R sin A sin B sin C 2R R
8 4
Since the equal sign equal applies to an equilateral triangle and the borders
(24) and (25) smaller, thus between all triangles, inscribed in a given circle,
the equilateral triangle has the largest area.

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(c) In connection with formula (7) we have immediately:

tan A tan B tan C 3 3 (26)

## which is valid for for a acute-angled or a right-angled triangle, whereas for

an obtuse-angled triangle we have:

## For the cotangent we find:

3
cot A cot B cot C acute and right-angled triangles (28)
9
cot A cot B cot C < 0 obtuse-angled triangle (29)

B. Semi angoli.
I. Sum of trigonometric ratios.
We apply to the acute-angled triangle with angles 90 A2 , 90 B2 and
90 C2 where A, B and C are the angles of a triangle range, the formulas
found for the acute-angled triangle again.
This gives immediately for each triangle:

X A 3 3
2< cos (30)
2 2
X A 3
1< sin (31)
2 2
X A
tan 3 (32)
2
X A
cot 3 3 (33)
2

For the right triangle, these formulas can be strenghted, which we leave to

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II. Product of trigonometric ratios.
We act with the products in I, we obtain for each triangle:

A B C 3 3
0 < cos cos cos (34)
2 2 2 8
A B C 1
0 < sin sin sin (35)
2 2 2 8
A B C 3
0 < tan tan tan (36)
2 2 2 9
A B C
cot cot cot 3 3 (37)
2 2 2

The left hand in (34) allows for the acute and right-angled triangle a key
to sharpening. Indeed, according to (4) and (5) we have for both kinds of
sin A > 2 or cos A2 cos B2 cos C2 > 12 . For the right triangle follows
P
triangles,
from (5) that:
A B C 2+1
cos cos cos
2 2 2 4
So therefore we have:

1 A B C 3 3
< cos cos cos acute-angled triangle (38)
2 2 2 2 8
1 A B C 2+1
< cos cos cos right-angled triangle (39)
2 2 2 2 4
A B C 3 3
0 < cos cos cos < obtuse-angled triangle (40)
2 2 2 8
For (35) we lead off the sharpening, if the triangle is right-angled, as we have
in A section I. Let again C = 90 , then:

A B C 2 A B
sin sin sin = sin sin =
2 2 2 2 2 2
2 22.5 22.5
sin sin =
2 2 2

where we have used the property that the preduct of two sines of two unequal
angles increased, if we replace the two angles with their average.

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Therefore, we have:

A B C 21
sin sin sin right-angled triangle (41)
2 2 2 4
The formulas (34), (35) and (36) can be derived also fromA known geo-
2
metric inequalities. As follows from R 9 s 3, for s = 4R cos 2 cos 2 cos C2 ,
B

## immediately we obtain the inequality (34); from R 2r, since

A B C
r = 4R sin sin sin
2 2 2
we get
A B C 1
sin sin sin
2 2 2 8

and finally, from s 3r 3, since r = tan 2 tan B2 tan C2 , we have
A

A B C 3
tan tan tan
2 2 2 9

## III. Sum of squares of trigonometric ratios.

A similar operation as in the previous shows, for the sum of squares for each
triangle:
3 X 2A
sin <1 (42)
4 2
X A 9
2< cos2 (43)
X 2 4
2
tan 1 (44)
X A
cot2 9 (45)
2
X A
sec2 4 (46)
2
X A
cosec2 12 (47)
2

From X A A B C
sin2= 1 sin sin sin
2 2 2 2
and  
2 A A B C
X
cos = 2 1 + sin sin sin
2 2 2 2

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(42) and (43) can also directly be derived.

## Since ra + rb = 4R cos2 C2 , we get

X X A
ra = 2R cos2
2
and therefore, according to (43):
X 9
4R < ra R
4
P
in accordance with the formulas ra = r + 4R and

R
0<r
2

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