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Routine and non routine problems



Example 1:


from first principles if y = 2x2+ 3x.

Solution: f(x) = 2x2+ 3x so

We now need to find:

We have found an expression that can give us the slope of the tangent anywhere on the curve. If x = -2, the slope is 4(-2) + 3 = -5 (red, in the graph below) If x = 1, the slope is 4(1) + 3 = 7 (green) If x = 4, the slope is 4(4) + 3 = 19 (black)

We can see that our answers are correct when we graph the curve (which is a parabola) and observe the slopes of the tangents.

This is what makes calculus so powerful. We can find the slope anywhere on the curve (i.e. the rate of change of the function anywhere).

Example 2: a. Find y' from first principles if y = x2 + 4x.

Solution: a. Note: y' means "the first derivative". This can also be written dy/dx. Now f(x) = x2 + 4x


Example 3.

Find y' if xy3 + x2y2 + 3x2 - 6 = 1. Answer. Let us use implicit differentiation. Then we take the derivative of the equation treating y as a function of x. We get

Algebraic manipulations give


Example 1: A proton moves in an electric field such that its acceleration (in cms-2) is a = -20(1+2t)-2, where t is in seconds. Find the velocity as a function of time if v = 30 cms-1 when t = 0 Answer


Put u = 1 + 2t then du = 2 dt

When t = 0, v = 30, so K = 20. So the expression for velocity as a function of time is:

Example 2: A flare is ejected vertically upwards from the ground at 15 m/s. Find the height of the flare after 2.5 s. Answer The object has acting on it the force due to gravity, so its acceleration is -9.8 ms2 .

Now at t = 0, the velocity = 15ms-1. So C = 15. So the expression for velocity becomes:

Now, we need to find the displacement, so

Now, we know from the question that when t = 0, s = 0. This gives K = 0. So At time t = 2.5, s = 6.875 m.

Example 3: The electric current (in mA) in a computer circuit as a function of time is i = 0.3 0.2t. What total charge passes a point in the circuit in 0.050s?

Here is the answer using LiveMath: LIVEMath Normal answer: Answer The charge, q, is given by:

At t = 0, q = 0, and this gives us K = 0.


(units are milli coulombs, as i was in mA.)

Example 4: The voltage across an 8.50 nF capacitor in an FM receiver circuit is zero. Find the voltage after 2.00 s if a current i = 0.042t (in mA) charges the capacitor. Answer

nF = 10-9F; s = 10-6s; 0.042t mA = 0.042 10-3t A

Now, we are told that when t = 0, VC = 0. So K = 0. Thus

So when t = 2.00 s, we have:

Example 5: Find the slope of the curve f(x) = x2 at the point (2,4), using a numerical method. Answer We start with a point Q(1, 1) which is near P(2,4):

The slope of PQ is given by:

Now we move Q further around the curve so it is closer to P. Let's use Q(1.5,2.25) which is closer to P(2,4):

The slope of PQ is now given by:

We see that this is already a pretty good approximation to the tangent at P, but not good enough. Now we move Q even closer to P, say Q(1.9,3.61). Now we have:


We can see that we are very close to the required slope. Now if Q is moved to (1.99,3.9601), then slope PQ is 3.99. If Q is (1.999,3.996001), then the slope is 3.999. Clearly, as x 2, the slope of PQ 4. But notice that we cannot actually let x = 2, since the fraction for m would have 0 on the bottom, and so it would be undefined. We have found that the rate of change of y with respect to x is 4 units at the point x = 2 .