Application of Derivatives
Derivative Dynamics: Unveiling Applications, Insights, and More
Comprehensive Definition, Description, Examples & Rules
Introduction to Applications of Derivatives
Derivatives are a crucial part of a stream of mathematics known as calculus. They determine the rate or trend at which functions fluctuate and give us essential knowledge about their typical behaviour. This mathematical concept has been used not just in the field of numbers but comes in handy in various real-life fields like economics, biology, engineering, and more.
In physics, the instantaneous velocity and acceleration of an object can be precisely known with the help of derivatives and we can foretell the next motion of the object beforehand; in biology, population dynamics can be discerned through using derivatives, and we can know about the growth or dearth in the population of a particular species essential for their conservation; and in economics, financial markets can be better known and understood through derivatives as they help us predict trends and potential profits or losses based on general behaviour of their functions.
Real-Life Applications of Differentiation
Here are some examples from the real world that make use of derivatives in everyday life. Have a look at the following variety of operations where the usage of derivatives comes in handy:
Derivatives are essential in economics, particularly in cost, revenue and profit analysis. For example, consider a product manufacturing company. If the cost function ‘C(x)’ represents the total cost associated with producing units, the revenue function ‘R(x)’ represents the income generated from selling units at a particular price, then the profit function ‘P(x)’ is computed as ‘(P(x) = R(x) – C(x)’.
Let’s say, the cost function is 3x^2 + 10x + 100, and the revenue function is 5x. We can compute the maximum profit by taking the derivative of ‘P(x)’ concerning x, setting it equal to 0, and solving for x.
In physics, derivatives can analyse velocity, acceleration and motion. If we consider an object’s position function as s(t) and its displacement at a time (t), the first derivative, s’(t) gives us the velocity of the object, and the second derivative, s”(t) gives us the acceleration.
So, let’s say, if s(t)= 2t^2 + 3t + 5, the velocity v(t) is computed by taking the derivative s(t) and the acceleration is computed by taking the derivative of v(t).
Derivatives are used to model population growth and decay in biology. If the population of a species at a time (t) is represented as P(t), then the rate of change of population concerning time is known by the derivative of P’(t).
So, let’s say, if P(t)= 100e^0.1t stands for the population growth of a species, the derivative P(t) can be used to analyse the rate of growth of the population at any given time (t).
Various designs and processes in engineering are optimised using derivatives. Let’s consider an engineering project aimed at cost minimisation while also meeting particular performance requirements. By setting up cost and performance functions and fencing important points (where derivatives equate to 0), engineers can easily pinpoint efficient design parameters.
For example, in civil engineering, derivatives can be used to optimise the shape of structures like buildings and bridges to ensure their capacity and safety when carrying heavy weight and also using minimal material.
Important Derivatives and Their Uses
Here is a list of some uses of derivatives seen frequently in various fields:
Power Rule: It is used frequently to differentiate polynomial functions. In physics particularly, it is used to analyse the motion of objects. The power rule is represented as
If f(x)=x^n (x being a constant)
Then, the derivative f’(x)=n*x^n-1
So, for example,
- If f(x)= 4x^2, then f’(x)= 2*4x^2-1=8x
- If g(x)= 7x^3, then g’(x)= 3*7x^3-1=21x^2
Exponential and Logarithmic Derivatives: Growth and decay can also be checked with the use of derivatives. In economics, for example, they’re used to calculate compound interest and exponential growth in various economic situations.
If f(x)=a^x (a being a constant)
The derivative of f(x)= ln(x) is given as f’(x)=1/x
trigonometric functions are used to determine regular functions in given periods. In electrical engineering, alternating current circuits can be analysed using trigonometric functions.
Properties and Rules of Derivatives
Here is a list of some fundamental properties of derivatives and the rules associated with them:
The rule of linearity says that the functions’ total, difference or scalar multiple is the total, difference or scalar multiple of their derivatives. So, for example, if f(x) and g(x) are two differentiable functions, (c) is a constant, then
Composite functions can be differentiated using the chain rule. So, for example, if f(u) and g(x) are two differentiable functions, then the derivative of their composite function is given as:
The product of any two functions can be differentiated using the product rule. So for example, if u(x) and v(x) are two differentiable functions, then the derivative of their product can be calculated as:
The quotient of two functions can be easily differentiated using the quotient rule. So, for example, if u(x) and v(x) are two differentiable functions with v(x)≠0, then the derivative of their function is given as:
Limitations and Caveats in Derivative Applications
Even though derivatives find a lot of uses in various real-life applications, there are certain situations where derivatives may not be applicable or accurate. Some of those situations are:
When there are points of discontinuity in a function, derivatives cease to exist. example, for the function f(x)= |x|, which is an absolute value function and has a discontinuity at x=0 as the behaviour of the function changes abruptly at this point, the derivative at x=0 is undefined.
Derivatives don’t provide the complete picture when dealing with functions that have specific constraints or endpoints. For example, consider a car accelerating. The velocity function v(t) refers to how fast the car is moving at time (t) and the position function s(t) refers to the car’s position. If we only know the velocity function and not the initial position of the car, we cannot precisely examine the position function.
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- Derivatives are used to measure the rate at which a function changes and provide important insights into its behaviour.
- Derivatives are used in a variety of fields like engineering, biology, economics, etc.
- Some of the important derivatives are power rule, exponential and logarithmic derivatives and trigonometric derivatives.
- Some of the fundamental properties and rules associated with derivatives are linearity, chain rule and product and quotient rules.
- Derivatives are not applicable when at points of discontinuity and do not give an accurate representation of behaviour near endpoints.
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Frequently Asked Questions
The chain rule allows us to find the derivative of composite functions and helps us to analyse complex relationships and systems.
Derivatives don’t exist at points of discontinuity and do not give an accurate representation of behaviour near endpoints.
Derivatives are used in engineering to optimise designs and processes by finding important points where the derivative is zero, which indicates the potential minimum or maximum of a performance function.
Derivatives give us an accurate mathematical description of how a function changes concerning its input by directly quantifying rates of change in a variety of real-world scenarios.