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# Maxima and Minima | Applications

Graph of the Function y = f(x) The graph of a function y = f(x) may be plotted using Differential Calculus. Consider the graph shown below.

As x increases, the curve rises if the slope is positive, as of arc AB; it falls if the slope is negative, as of arc BC. Relative Maximum and Minimum Points At a point such as B, where the function is algebraically greater than that of any neighboring point, the point is said to have a maximum value, and the point is called a maximum point (relative to adjacent points). Similarly at D, the function has a minimum value (relative to adjacent points). At maximum or minimum points, the tangent is horizontal or the slope is zero.

This does not necessarily mean that at these points the function is maximum or minimum. It does only mean that the tangent is parallel to the x-axis, or the curve is either concave up or concave down. The points at which dy/dx = 0 are called critical points, and the corresponding values of x are critical values. The second derivative of a function is the rate of change of the first derivative or the rate of change of the slope. It follows that as x increases and y" is positive, y' is increasing and the tangent turns in a counterclockwise direction and the curve is concave upward. When y" is negative, y' decreases and the tangent turns in the clockwise direction and the curve is concave downward. If y' = 0 and y" is negative (i.e. y" < 0), the point is a maximum point (concave downward).

If y' = 0 and y" is positive (i.e. y" > 0), the point is a minimum point (concave upward). Points of Inflection A point of inflection is a point at which the curve changes from concave upward to concave downward or vice versa (see point E from the figure). At these points the tangent changes its rotation from clockwise to counterclockwise or vice versa. At points of inflection, the second derivative of y is zero (y" = 0).

Steps in Solving Maxima and Minima Problems 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8. 9. 10. Identify the constant, say cost of fencing. Identify the variable to be maximized or minimized, say area A. Express this variable in terms of the other relevant variable(s), say A = f(x, y). If the function shall consist of more than one variable, expressed it in terms of one variable (if possible and practical) using the conditions in the problem, say A = f(x). Differentiate and equate to zero, dA/dx = 0. Problem 1 What number exceeds its square by the maximum amount? Solution 1 HideClick here to show or hide the solution Let x = the number and x2 = the square of the number y = the difference between x and x2

11. 12. 13. answer 14. 15. Problem 2 What positive number added to its reciprocal gives the minimum sum? 16. Solution 2 17. HideClick here to show or hide the solution 18. Let x = the required positive number and 1/x = the reciprocal of the number y = sum of x and 1/x 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.