Trigonometry Workbook For Dummies
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The graph of a trigonometry function can be useful for showing a progression over time, such as in a model for the height of an object attached to a spring. The same pattern doesn’t occur over and over as in the sine function, but this is a great example of a trig function at work.

The height of a bouncing object attached to a spring.
The height of a bouncing object attached to a spring.

The equation H (t) = 3(0.7)t cos 5t + 4 represents the height of an object attached to a spring, where t is the amount of time that has passed — usually in seconds. The equation has a trigonometry function multiplied by an exponential function. When you first release the spring, the object hits a height of about 7 feet. It jumps up and down, finally settling in at about 4 feet high, as shown in the figure.

You can probably come up with a similar model to show how a bungee jumper goes up and down.

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Mary Jane Sterling taught algebra, business calculus, geometry, and finite mathematics at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, for more than 30 years. She is the author of several For Dummies books, including Algebra Workbook For Dummies, Algebra II For Dummies, and Algebra II Workbook For Dummies.

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