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Graphs of Tangent, Cotangent, Secant, and Cosecant

# Graphs of Tangent, Cotangent, Secant, and Cosecant

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We begin by stating the periodic properties of these functions. Sine and cosine have period 2.

Since cosecant and secant are the reciprocals of sine and cosine, respectively, they also have period 2. Tangent and cotangent, however, have period . Graphs of Tangent, Cotangent, Secant, and CosecantWe first sketch the graph of tangent. Since it has

period , we need only sketch the graph on any interval of length and then repeat the pattern to the left and to the right.

We sketch the graph on the interval (– /2, /2).

Since tan( /2) and tan(– /2)aren’t defined, we need to be careful in sketching the graph at points near /2 and – /2.

As x gets near /2 through values less than /2, the value of tan x becomes large. Graphs of Tangent, Cotangent, Secant, and CosecantTo see this, notice that as x gets close to /2, cos x

approaches 0 and sin x approaches 1 and so tan x = sin x/cos x is large.

A table of values of tan x for x close to /2 (1.570796) is shown below.

Thus, the graph of y = tan x approaches the vertical lines x = /2 and x = – /2. So theselines are vertical asymptotes. Graphs of Tangent, Cotangent, Secant, and CosecantWith the information we have so far, we sketch the graph of y = tan x

for – /2 < x < /2 in Figure 1. Graphs of Tangent, Cotangent, Secant, and CosecantThe complete graph of tangent is now obtained using the fact that

tangent is periodic with period .

Figure 5(a)

y = tan x Graphs of Tangent, Cotangent, Secant, and Cosecant

The function y = cot x is graphed on the interval (0, ) by a similar analysis (see Figure 2)

Figure 2

One period of y = cot x Graphs of Tangent, Cotangent, Secant, and CosecantSince cot x is undefined for x = n with n an integer, its complete graph (in Figure 5(b)) has vertical asymptotes at these values.

Figure 5(b)

One period y = cot x Graphs of Tangent, Cotangent, Secant, and Cosecant

To graph the cosecant and secant functions, we use the reciprocal identities

and

So to graph y = csc x, we take the reciprocals of the y-coordinates of the points of the graph of y = sin x. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3

One period of y = csc x Graphs of Tangent, Cotangent, Secant, and CosecantSimilarly, to graph y = sec x, we take the reciprocals of the y-

coordinates of the points of the graph of y = cos x.(See Figure 4.)

One period of y = sec xFigure 4 Graphs of Tangent, Cotangent, Secant, and CosecantThe complete graph in Figure 5(c) is now obtained from the fact that

the function cosecant is periodic with period 2.

Note that the graph has vertical asymptotes at the points where sin x = 0, that is, at x = n, for n an integer.

Figure 5(c)

y = csc x Graphs of Tangent, Cotangent, Secant, and CosecantThe graph of y = sec x is sketched in a similar manner. Observe that

the domain of sec x is the set of all real numbers other than x = ( /2) + n, for n an integer, so the graph has vertical asymptotes at those points. Thecomplete graph is shown in Figure 5(d).

Figure 5(d)

y = sec x Graphs of Transformations of Tangent and Cotangent Graphs of Transformations of Tangent and Cotangent

We now consider graphs of transformations of the tangent and cotangent functions.

Since the tangent and cotangent functions have period , the functions

y = a tan kx and y = a cot kx (k > 0)

complete one period as kx varies from 0 to , that is, for 0 kx .

Solving this inequality, we get 0 x /k.

So they each have period /k. Graphs of Transformations of Tangent and Cotangent

Thus, one complete period of the graphs of these functions occurs on any interval of length /k. Example 2 – Graphing Tangent CurvesGraph each function.

(a) y = tan 2x (b) y = tan 2

Solution:(a) The period is /2 and an appropriate interval is (– /4, /4). The endpoints x = – /4 and x = /4 are vertical asymptotes. Thus, we graph one complete period of the function on (– /4, /4).

The graph has the same shape as that of the tangent function, but is shrunk horizontally by a factor of Example 2 – Solution

Figure 7(a)

y = tan 2x

cont’d Example 2 – Solution(b) The graph is the same as that in part (a), but it is shifted to the right /4, as shown in Figure 7(b). cont’d

Figure 7(b)

y = tan 2 Example 3 – A Shifted Cotangent CurveGraph y = 2 cot

Solution:We first put this in the form y = a cot k(x – b) by factoring 3from the expression

Thus the graph is the same as that of y = 2 cot 3x but is shifted to the right /6. Example 3 – Solution

The period of y = 2 cot 3x is /3, and an appropriate interval is (0, /3).

To get the corresponding interval for the desired graph, we shift this interval to the right /6.

This gives

cont’d Example 3 – SolutionFinally, we graph one period in the shape of cotangent on the interval ( /6, /2) and repeat that portion of the graph to the left and to the right. (See Figure 8.)

Figure 8

cont’d Graphs of Transformations of Cosecant and Secant

An appropriate interval on which to graph one complete period is [0, 2 /k]. Example 4 – Graphing Cosecant Curves

Graph each function.

Solution:(a) The period is 2 /2 = . An appropriate interval is [0, ], and the asymptotes occur in this interval whenever sin 2x = 0.

So the asymptotes in this interval are x = 0, x = /2, and x = . Example 4 – Solution With this information we sketch on the interval [0, ] a graph with the same general shape as that of one period of the cosecant function.

The complete graph in Figure 9(a) is obtained by repeating this portion of the graph to the left and to the right.

cont’d

Figure 9(a)

y = csc 2x Example 4 – Solution(b) We first write

From this we see that the graph is the same as that in part (a) but shifted to the left /4. The graph is shown in Figure 9(b).

Figure 9(b)

y = csc

cont’d Example 5 – Graphing a Secant CurveGraph y = 3 sec

Solution:The period is 2 = 4. An appropriate interval is [0, 4], and the asymptotes occur in this interval wherevercos x = 0. Thus, the asymptotes in this interval are x = , x = 3.

With this information we sketch on the interval [0, 4] a graph with the same general shape as that of one period of the secant function. Example 5 – SolutionThe complete graph in Figure 10 is obtained by repeating this portion of the graph to the left and to the right.

Figure 10

y = 3 sec

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