# How to Calculate Side-Side-Angle (SSA)

Calculating the side-side-angle (SSA) of a triangle is a common task in trigonometry and geometry. By knowing the length of two sides and the measure of an angle, you can solve various problems such as area, height, length of the remaining side, and other properties of the triangle. In this article, we will explore how to calculate SSA using different methods, as well as when these methods are applicable.

**Method 1: Law of Sines**

The law of sines states that the ratio of the length of a side and the sine of its opposite angle is equal for every side in a triangle. In mathematical terms:

a / sin(A) = b / sin(B) = c / sin(C)

Where a, b, and c are the lengths of the sides, and A, B, and C are their opposite angles. To use this formula to calculate SSA:

1. Given two sides “a” and “b” and one angle “A”, first determine which angle is across from side “b”. Let’s call this angle “B”.

**2. Using the law of sines formula, rearrange it to determine angle B:**

B = arcsin( (b * sin(A)) / a )

**3. Next, you can determine angle C by subtracting angles A and B from 180°:**

C = 180° – (A + B)

**4. Finally, calculate side c using the law of sines formula:**

c = (sin(C) * a) / sin(A)

Note that using this method may give you ambiguous results known as the “ambiguous case,” where there might be two valid solutions for a given SSA configuration.

**Method 2: Pythagorean Theorem**

If you are working with right-angled triangles, you can also calculate SSA using the Pythagorean theorem:

a² + b² = c²

In this method, one of the given sides should be adjacent to the given angle. To find the remaining side:

1. If you know sides “a” and “b,” and angle A is opposite side “a,” use trigonometric functions to determine side “c”:

c = (a^2 + b^2)^(1/2)

2. Similarly, if you know sides “a” and “c,” and angle A is opposite side “a,” find side “b”:

b = (c^2 – a^2)^(1/2)

3. When you have sides “b” and “c,” and angle A is opposite side “a,” then:

a = (c^2 – b^2)^(1/2)

**Conclusion:**

Calculating SSA in triangles is an important skill for solving problems in trigonometry and geometry. Using the law of sines or the Pythagorean theorem, you can solve for missing side lengths or angles, depending on which information is provided initially. Remember that determining a triangle’s properties in SSA cases depends on your ability to apply these methods accurately.