How Do Engineers Use Trigonometry?

Steve Cadman/CC-BY-2.0

Engineering is an extremely mathematics-intensive career, with necessary skills in both trigonometry and calculus to describe mechanical designs and to make aesthetic designs practical. The understanding of angles and planes is the most common skill used by engineers. Trigonometry also contains an understanding on natural laws and mathematical expressions that can be used to assist in engineering.

Engineers must have an understanding of angles and planes, as this is one of the most common applications in their job. Both mechanical and civil engineers make use of the mathematical understanding of planes to break down curvatures, patterns or electrical fields into mathematical terms. Mechanical systems can be imagined and drawn in mechanical terms, and problems in these systems can be solved with geometric understanding. Structural engineers are tasked with creating structurally sound buildings while making aesthetic additions from a designer possible. Structural engineers can also map light and sound patterns through a room using expressions from trigonometry.

Electrical engineers design and test electrical layouts, mapping out requirements and flows of electricity throughout a building. Almost any type of engineer is able to combine their knowledge of trigonometry with computer expertise to create or debug computer programs to simulate and design things in their respective fields.