In this section you will:
- Draw angles in standard position.
- Convert between degrees and radians.
- Find coterminal angles.
- Find the length of a circular arc.
- Use linear and angular speed to describe motion on a circular path.
A golfer swings to hit a ball over a sand trap and onto the green. An airline pilot maneuvers a plane toward a narrow runway. A dress designer creates the latest fashion. What do they all have in common? They all work with angles, and so do all of us at one time or another. Sometimes we need to measure angles exactly with instruments. Other times we estimate them or judge them by eye. Either way, the proper angle can make the difference between success and failure in many undertakings. In this section, we will examine properties of angles.
Drawing Angles in Standard Position
Properly defining an angle first requires that we define a ray. A ray is a directed line segment. It consists of one point on a line and all points extending in one direction from that point. The first point is called the endpoint of the ray. We can refer to a specific ray by stating its endpoint and any other point on it. The ray in Figure 1 can be named as ray EF, or in symbol form
An angle is the union of two rays having a common endpoint. The endpoint is called the vertex of the angle, and the two rays are the sides of the angle. The angle in Figure 2 is formed from and . Angles can be named using a point on each ray and the vertex, such as angle DEF, or in symbol form
Greek letters are often used as variables for the measure of an angle. Table 1 is a list of Greek letters commonly used to represent angles, and a sample angle is shown in Figure 3.
Angle creation is a dynamic process. We start with two rays lying on top of one another. We leave one fixed in place, and rotate the other. The fixed ray is the initial side, and the rotated ray is the terminal side. In order to identify the different sides, we indicate the rotation with a small arrow close to the vertex as in Figure 4.
As we discussed at the beginning of the section, there are many applications for angles, but in order to use them correctly, we must be able to measure them. The measure of an angle is the amount of rotation from the initial side to the terminal side. Probably the most familiar unit of angle measurement is the degree. One degree is of a circular rotation, so a complete circular rotation contains degrees. An angle measured in degrees should always include the unit “degrees” after the number, or include the degree symbol For example,
To formalize our work, we will begin by drawing angles on an x-y coordinate plane. Angles can occur in any position on the coordinate plane, but for the purpose of comparison, the convention is to illustrate them in the same position whenever possible. An angle is in standard position if its vertex is located at the origin, and its initial side extends along the positive x-axis. See Figure 5.
If the angle is measured in a counterclockwise direction from the initial side to the terminal side, the angle is said to be a positive angle. If the angle is measured in a clockwise direction, the angle is said to be a negative angle.
Drawing an angle in standard position always starts the same way—draw the initial side along the positive x-axis. To place the terminal side of the angle, we must calculate the fraction of a full rotation the angle represents. We do that by dividing the angle measure in degrees by For example, to draw a angle, we calculate that So, the terminal side will be one-fourth of the way around the circle, moving counterclockwise from the positive x-axis. To draw a angle, we calculate that So the terminal side will be 1 complete rotation around the circle, moving counterclockwise from the positive x-axis. In this case, the initial side and the terminal side overlap. See Figure 6.
Since we define an angle in standard position by its terminal side, we have a special type of angle whose terminal side lies on an axis, a quadrantal angle. This type of angle can have a measure of 0°, 90°, 180°, 270°, or 360°. See Figure 7.
An angle is a quadrantal angle if its terminal side lies on an axis, including 0°, 90°, 180°, 270°, or 360°.
Given an angle measure in degrees, draw the angle in standard position.
- Express the angle measure as a fraction of
- Reduce the fraction to simplest form.
- Draw an angle that contains that same fraction of the circle, beginning on the positive x-axis and moving counterclockwise for positive angles and clockwise for negative angles.
Drawing an Angle in Standard Position Measured in Degrees
- ⓐSketch an angle of in standard position.
- ⓑSketch an angle of in standard position.
Divide the angle measure by
To rewrite the fraction in a more familiar fraction, we can recognize that
One-twelfth equals one-third of a quarter, so by dividing a quarter rotation into thirds, we can sketch a line at as in Figure 8.
Divide the angle measure by
In this case, we can recognize that
Three-eighths is one and one-half times a quarter, so we place a line by moving clockwise one full quarter and one-half of another quarter, as in Figure 9.
Try It #1
Show an angle of on a circle in standard position.
Converting Between Degrees and Radians
Dividing a circle into 360 parts is an arbitrary choice, although it creates the familiar degree measurement. We may choose other ways to divide a circle. To find another unit, think of the process of drawing a circle. Imagine that you stop before the circle is completed. The portion that you drew is referred to as an arc. An arc may be a portion of a full circle, a full circle, or more than a full circle, represented by more than one full rotation. The length of the arc around an entire circle is called the circumference of that circle.
The circumference of a circle is If we divide both sides of this equation by we create the ratio of the circumference, which is always to the radius, regardless of the length of the radius. So the circumference of any circle is times the length of the radius. That means that if we took a string as long as the radius and used it to measure consecutive lengths around the circumference, there would be room for six full string-lengths and a little more than a quarter of a seventh, as shown in Figure 10.
This brings us to our new angle measure. One radian is the measure of a central angle of a circle that intercepts an arc equal in length to the radius of that circle. A central angle is an angle formed at the center of a circle by two radii. Because the total circumference equals times the radius, a full circular rotation is radians.
See Figure 11. Note that when an angle is described without a specific unit, it refers to radian measure. For example, an angle measure of 3 indicates 3 radians. In fact, radian measure is dimensionless, since it is the quotient of a length (circumference) divided by a length (radius) and the length units cancel.
Relating Arc Lengths to Radius
An arc length is the length of the curve along the arc. Just as the full circumference of a circle always has a constant ratio to the radius, the arc length produced by any given angle also has a constant relation to the radius, regardless of the length of the radius.
This ratio, called the radian measure, is the same regardless of the radius of the circle—it depends only on the angle. This property allows us to define a measure of any angle as the ratio of the arc length to the radius r. See Figure 12.
To elaborate on this idea, consider two circles, one with radius 2 and the other with radius 3. Recall the circumference of a circle is where is the radius. The smaller circle then has circumference and the larger has circumference Now we draw a angle on the two circles, as in Figure 13.
Notice what happens if we find the ratio of the arc length divided by the radius of the circle.
Since both ratios are the angle measures of both circles are the same, even though the arc length and radius differ.
One radian is the measure of the central angle of a circle such that the length of the arc between the initial side and the terminal side is equal to the radius of the circle. A full revolution equals radians. A half revolution is equivalent to radians.
The radian measure of an angle is the ratio of the length of the arc subtended by the angle to the radius of the circle. In other words, if is the length of an arc of a circle, and is the radius of the circle, then the central angle containing that arc measures radians. In a circle of radius 1, the radian measure corresponds to the length of the arc.
A measure of 1 radian looks to be about Is that correct?
Yes. It is approximately Because radians equals radian equals
Because radian measure is the ratio of two lengths, it is a unitless measure. For example, in Figure 12, suppose the radius were 2 inches and the distance along the arc were also 2 inches. When we calculate the radian measure of the angle, the “inches” cancel, and we have a result without units. Therefore, it is not necessary to write the label “radians” after a radian measure, and if we see an angle that is not labeled with “degrees” or the degree symbol, we can assume that it is a radian measure.
Considering the most basic case, the unit circle (a circle with radius 1), we know that 1 rotation equals 360 degrees, We can also track one rotation around a circle by finding the circumference, and for the unit circle These two different ways to rotate around a circle give us a way to convert from degrees to radians.
Identifying Special Angles Measured in Radians
In addition to knowing the measurements in degrees and radians of a quarter revolution, a half revolution, and a full revolution, there are other frequently encountered angles in one revolution of a circle with which we should be familiar. It is common to encounter multiples of 30, 45, 60, and 90 degrees. These values are shown in Figure 14. Memorizing these angles will be very useful as we study the properties associated with angles.
Now, we can list the corresponding radian values for the common measures of a circle corresponding to those listed in Figure 14, which are shown in Figure 15. Be sure you can verify each of these measures.
Finding a Radian Measure
Find the radian measure of one-third of a full rotation.
For any circle, the arc length along such a rotation would be one-third of the circumference. We know that
The radian measure would be the arc length divided by the radius.
Try It #2
Find the radian measure of three-fourths of a full rotation.
Converting Between Radians and Degrees
Because degrees and radians both measure angles, we need to be able to convert between them. We can easily do so using a proportion where is the measure of the angle in degrees and is the measure of the angle in radians.
This proportion shows that the measure of angle in degrees divided by 180 equals the measure of angle in radians divided by Or, phrased another way, degrees is to 180 as radians is to
Converting between Radians and Degrees
To convert between degrees and radians, use the proportion
Converting Radians to Degrees
Convert each radian measure to degrees.
Because we are given radians and we want degrees, we should set up a proportion and solve it.
- ⓐ We use the proportion, substituting the given information.
- ⓑ We use the proportion, substituting the given information.
Try It #3
Convert radians to degrees.
Converting Degrees to Radians
Convert degrees to radians.
In this example, we start with degrees and want radians, so we again set up a proportion, but we substitute the given information into a different part of the proportion.
Another way to think about this problem is by remembering that Because we can find that is
Try It #4
Convert to radians.
Finding Coterminal Angles
Converting between degrees and radians can make working with angles easier in some applications. For other applications, we may need another type of conversion. Negative angles and angles greater than a full revolution are more awkward to work with than those in the range of to or to It would be convenient to replace those out-of-range angles with a corresponding angle within the range of a single revolution.
It is possible for more than one angle to have the same terminal side. Look at Figure 16. The angle of is a positive angle, measured counterclockwise. The angle of is a negative angle, measured clockwise. But both angles have the same terminal side. If two angles in standard position have the same terminal side, they are coterminal angles. Every angle greater than or less than is coterminal with an angle between and and it is often more convenient to find the coterminal angle within the range of to than to work with an angle that is outside that range.
Any angle has infinitely many coterminal angles because each time we add to that angle—or subtract from it—the resulting value has a terminal side in the same location. For example, and are coterminal for this reason, as is
An angle’s reference angle is the measure of the smallest, positive, acute angle formed by the terminal side of the angle and the horizontal axis. Thus positive reference angles have terminal sides that lie in the first quadrant and can be used as models for angles in other quadrants. See Figure 17 for examples of reference angles for angles in different quadrants.
Coterminal and Reference Angles
Coterminal angles are two angles in standard position that have the same terminal side.
An angle’s reference angle is the size of the smallest acute angle, formed by the terminal side of the angle and the horizontal axis.
Given an angle greater than find a coterminal angle between and
- Subtract from the given angle.
- If the result is still greater than subtract again till the result is between and
- The resulting angle is coterminal with the original angle.
Finding an Angle Coterminal with an Angle of Measure Greater Than
Find the least positive angle that is coterminal with an angle measuring where
An angle with measure is coterminal with an angle with measure but is still greater than so we subtract again to find another coterminal angle:
The angle is coterminal with To put it another way, equals plus two full rotations, as shown in Figure 18.
Try It #5
Find an angle that is coterminal with an angle measuring where
Given an angle with measure less than find a coterminal angle having a measure between and
- Add to the given angle.
- If the result is still less than add again until the result is between and
- The resulting angle is coterminal with the original angle.
Finding an Angle Coterminal with an Angle Measuring Less Than
Show the angle with measure on a circle and find a positive coterminal angle such that
Since is half of we can start at the positive horizontal axis and measure clockwise half of a angle.
Because we can find coterminal angles by adding or subtracting a full rotation of we can find a positive coterminal angle here by adding
We can then show the angle on a circle, as in Figure 19.
Try It #6
Find an angle that is coterminal with an angle measuring such that
Finding Coterminal Angles Measured in Radians
We can find coterminal angles measured in radians in much the same way as we have found them using degrees. In both cases, we find coterminal angles by adding or subtracting one or more full rotations.
Given an angle greater than find a coterminal angle between 0 and
- Subtract from the given angle.
- If the result is still greater than subtract again until the result is between and
- The resulting angle is coterminal with the original angle.
Finding Coterminal Angles Using Radians
Find an angle that is coterminal with where
When working in degrees, we found coterminal angles by adding or subtracting 360 degrees, a full rotation. Likewise, in radians, we can find coterminal angles by adding or subtracting full rotations of radians:
The angle is coterminal, but not less than so we subtract another rotation.
The angle is coterminal with as shown in Figure 20.
Try It #7
Find an angle of measure that is coterminal with an angle of measure where
Determining the Length of an Arc
Recall that the radian measure of an angle was defined as the ratio of the arc length of a circular arc to the radius of the circle, From this relationship, we can find arc length along a circle, given an angle.
Arc Length on a Circle
In a circle of radius r, the length of an arc subtended by an angle with measure in radians, shown in Figure 21, is
Given a circle of radius calculate the length of the arc subtended by a given angle of measure
- If necessary, convert to radians.
- Multiply the radius
Finding the Length of an Arc
Assume the orbit of Mercury around the sun is a perfect circle. Mercury is approximately 36 million miles from the sun.
- ⓐ In one Earth day, Mercury completes 0.0114 of its total revolution. How many miles does it travel in one day?
- ⓑ Use your answer from part (a) to determine the radian measure for Mercury’s movement in one Earth day.
- ⓐLet’s begin by finding the circumference of Mercury’s orbit.
Since Mercury completes 0.0114 of its total revolution in one Earth day, we can now find the distance traveled.
- ⓑNow, we convert to radians.
Try It #8
Find the arc length along a circle of radius 10 units subtended by an angle of
Finding the Area of a Sector of a Circle
In addition to arc length, we can also use angles to find the area of a sector of a circle. A sector is a region of a circle bounded by two radii and the intercepted arc, like a slice of pizza or pie. Recall that the area of a circle with radius can be found using the formula If the two radii form an angle of measured in radians, then is the ratio of the angle measure to the measure of a full rotation and is also, therefore, the ratio of the area of the sector to the area of the circle. Thus, the area of a sector is the fraction multiplied by the entire area. (Always remember that this formula only applies if is in radians.)
Area of a Sector
The area of a sector of a circle with radius subtended by an angle measured in radians, is
See Figure 22.
Given a circle of radius find the area of a sector defined by a given angle
- If necessary, convert to radians.
- Multiply half the radian measure of by the square of the radius
Finding the Area of a Sector
An automatic lawn sprinkler sprays a distance of 20 feet while rotating 30 degrees, as shown in Figure 23. What is the area of the sector of grass the sprinkler waters?
First, we need to convert the angle measure into radians. Because 30 degrees is one of our special angles, we already know the equivalent radian measure, but we can also convert:
The area of the sector is then
So the area is about
Try It #9
In central pivot irrigation, which creates the field shapes similar to the image at the beginning of Equations and Inequalities, a large irrigation pipe on wheels rotates around a center point. A farmer has a central pivot system with a radius of 400 meters. If water restrictions only allow her to water 150 thousand square meters a day, what angle should she set the system to cover? Write the answer in radian measure to two decimal places.
Use Linear and Angular Speed to Describe Motion on a Circular Path
In addition to finding the area of a sector, we can use angles to describe the speed of a moving object. An object traveling in a circular path has two types of speed. Linear speed is speed along a straight path and can be determined by the distance it moves along (its displacement) in a given time interval. For instance, if a wheel with radius 5 inches rotates once a second, a point on the edge of the wheel moves a distance equal to the circumference, or inches, every second. So the linear speed of the point is in./s. The equation for linear speed is as follows where is linear speed, is displacement, and is time.
Angular speed results from circular motion and can be determined by the angle through which a point rotates in a given time interval. In other words, angular speed is angular rotation per unit time. So, for instance, if a gear makes a full rotation every 4 seconds, we can calculate its angular speed as 90 degrees per second. Angular speed can be given in radians per second, rotations per minute, or degrees per hour for example. The equation for angular speed is as follows, where (read as omega) is angular speed, is the angle traversed, and is time.
Combining the definition of angular speed with the arc length equation, we can find a relationship between angular and linear speeds. The angular speed equation can be solved for giving Substituting this into the arc length equation gives:
Substituting this into the linear speed equation gives:
Angular and Linear Speed
As a point moves along a circle of radius its angular speed, is the angular rotation per unit time,
The linear speed, of the point can be found as the distance traveled, arc length per unit time,
When the angular speed is measured in radians per unit time, linear speed and angular speed are related by the equation
This equation states that the angular speed in radians, representing the amount of rotation occurring in a unit of time, can be multiplied by the radius to calculate the total arc length traveled in a unit of time, which is the definition of linear speed.
Given the amount of angle rotation and the time elapsed, calculate the angular speed.
- If necessary, convert the angle measure to radians.
- Divide the angle in radians by the number of time units elapsed:
- The resulting speed will be in radians per time unit.
Water wheels have been used for thousands of years to transfer the power of flowing water to other devices. The image below depicts the design of the the 3rd century Roman water wheel in Hierapolis, a city in what is now Turkey. Water turned the wheel, which in turn rotated a crank connected to two saws used to cut blocks. These design elements were used in water wheel applications throughout the world, and even provided the underlying principle for the steam engine, invented about 1500 years later.
Finding Angular Speed
A water wheel, shown in Figure 24, completes 1 rotation every 5 seconds. Find the angular speed in radians per second.
The wheel completes 1 rotation, or passes through an angle of radians in 5 seconds, so the angular speed would be radians per second.
Try It #10
A vintage vinyl record is played on a turntable rotating clockwise at a rate of 45 rotations per minute. Find the angular speed in radians per second.
Given the radius of a circle, an angle of rotation, and a length of elapsed time, determine the linear speed.
- Convert the total rotation to radians if necessary.
- Divide the total rotation in radians by the elapsed time to find the angular speed: apply
- Multiply the angular speed by the length of the radius to find the linear speed, expressed in terms of the length unit used for the radius and the time unit used for the elapsed time: apply
Finding a Linear Speed
A bicycle has wheels 28 inches in diameter. A tachometer determines the wheels are rotating at 180 RPM (revolutions per minute). Find the speed the bicycle is traveling down the road.
Here, we have an angular speed and need to find the corresponding linear speed, since the linear speed of the outside of the tires is the speed at which the bicycle travels down the road.
We begin by converting from rotations per minute to radians per minute. It can be helpful to utilize the units to make this conversion:
Using the formula from above along with the radius of the wheels, we can find the linear speed:
Remember that radians are a unitless measure, so it is not necessary to include them.
Finally, we may wish to convert this linear speed into a more familiar measurement, like miles per hour.
Try It #11
A satellite is rotating around Earth at 0.25 radian per hour at an altitude of 242 km above Earth. If the radius of Earth is 6378 kilometers, find the linear speed of the satellite in kilometers per hour.
Access these online resources for additional instruction and practice with angles, arc length, and areas of sectors.
7.1 Section Exercises
Draw an angle in standard position. Label the vertex, initial side, and terminal side.
Explain why there are an infinite number of angles that are coterminal to a certain angle.
State what a positive or negative angle signifies, and explain how to draw each.
How does radian measure of an angle compare to the degree measure? Include an explanation of 1 radian in your paragraph.
Explain the differences between linear speed and angular speed when describing motion along a circular path.
For the following exercises, draw an angle in standard position with the given measure.
For the following exercises, refer to Figure 25. Round to two decimal places.
Find the arc length.
Find the area of the sector.
For the following exercises, refer to Figure 26. Round to two decimal places.
Find the arc length.
Find the area of the sector.
For the following exercises, convert angles in radians to degrees.
For the following exercises, convert angles in degrees to radians.
For the following exercises, use the given information to find the length of a circular arc. Round to two decimal places.
Find the length of the arc of a circle of radius 12 inches subtended by a central angle of radians.
Find the length of the arc of a circle of radius 5.02 miles subtended by the central angle of
Find the length of the arc of a circle of diameter 14 meters subtended by the central angle of
Find the length of the arc of a circle of radius 10 centimeters subtended by the central angle of
Find the length of the arc of a circle of radius 5 inches subtended by the central angle of
Find the length of the arc of a circle of diameter 12 meters subtended by the central angle is
For the following exercises, use the given information to find the area of the sector. Round to four decimal places.
A sector of a circle has a central angle of and a radius 6 cm.
A sector of a circle has a central angle of and a radius of 20 cm.
A sector of a circle with diameter 10 feet and an angle of radians.
A sector of a circle with radius of 0.7 inches and an angle of radians.
For the following exercises, find the angle between and that is coterminal to the given angle.
For the following exercises, find the angle between 0 and in radians that is coterminal to the given angle.
A truck with 32-inch diameter wheels is traveling at 60 mi/h. Find the angular speed of the wheels in rad/min. How many revolutions per minute do the wheels make?
A bicycle with 24-inch diameter wheels is traveling at 15 mi/h. Find the angular speed of the wheels in rad/min. How many revolutions per minute do the wheels make?
A wheel of radius 8 inches is rotating 15°/s. What is the linear speed the angular speed in RPM, and the angular speed in rad/s?
A wheel of radius inches is rotating rad/s. What is the linear speed the angular speed in RPM, and the angular speed in deg/s?
A computer hard drive disc has diameter of 120 millimeters. When playing audio, the angular speed varies to keep the linear speed constant where the disc is being read. When reading along the outer edge of the disc, the angular speed is about 200 RPM (revolutions per minute). Find the linear speed.
When being burned in a writable CD-R drive, the angular speed of a CD is often much faster than when playing audio, but the angular speed still varies to keep the linear speed constant where the disc is being written. When writing along the outer edge of the disc, the angular speed of one drive is about 4800 RPM (revolutions per minute). Find the linear speed if the CD has diameter of 120 millimeters.
A person is standing on the equator of Earth (radius 3960 miles). What are their linear and angular speeds?
Find the distance along an arc on the surface of Earth that subtends a central angle of 5 minutes
. The radius of Earth is 3960 miles.
Find the distance along an arc on the surface of Earth that subtends a central angle of 7 minutes
. The radius of Earth is miles.
Consider a clock with an hour hand and minute hand. What is the measure of the angle the minute hand traces in minutes?
Two cities have the same longitude. The latitude of city A is 9 degrees north and the latitude of city B is 30 degrees north. Assume the radius of the earth is 3960 miles. Find the distance between the two cities.
A city is located at 40 degrees north latitude. Assume the radius of the earth is 3960 miles and the earth rotates once every 24 hours. Find the linear speed of a person who resides in this city.
A city is located at 75 degrees north latitude. Assume the radius of the earth is 3960 miles and the earth rotates once every 24 hours. Find the linear speed of a person who resides in this city.
Find the linear speed of the moon if the average distance between the earth and moon is 239,000 miles, assuming the orbit of the moon is circular and requires about 28 days. Express answer in miles per hour.
A bicycle has wheels 28 inches in diameter. A tachometer determines that the wheels are rotating at 180 RPM (revolutions per minute). Find the speed the bicycle is travelling down the road.
A car travels 3 miles. Its tires make 2640 revolutions. What is the radius of a tire in inches?
A wheel on a tractor has a 24-inch diameter. How many revolutions does the wheel make if the tractor travels 4 miles?