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LIMITS AND

CONTINUITY
Anis S.Nurrohkayati,ST,.MT
Faculty of Engineering
Mulawarman University
OBJECTIVES

Know what left limits, right limits, and limits are

Know how to compute simple limits
Know what it means for a function to be continuous
Know how sin() and cos() behave as 0.

TECH OF MATH 2
What is a limit?

The word limit is used in everyday conversation to describe the

ultimate behavior of something, as in the limit of ones endurance or
the limit of ones patience.

In mathematics, the word limit has a similar but more precise

meaning.

A limit is what happens when you get closer and closer to a point
without actually reaching it.

TECH OF MATH 3
Limits

Given a function f(x), if x approaching 3 causes the function to take

values approaching (or equalling) some particular number, such as 10,
then we will call 10 the limit of the function and write
lim = 10 ; 3 10
3

In practice, the two simplest ways we can approach 3 are from the left
or from the right.
For example, the numbers 2.9, 2.99, 2.999, ... approach 3 from the left,
which we denote by x3 , and the numbers 3.1, 3.01, 3.001, ...
approach 3 from the right, denoted by x3 +. Such limits are called
one-sided limits.

TECH OF MATH 4
Example:

2 1
Example: If () = then 1 is undefined. However, as 1,
1
2, so lim = 2 .
1
x 0 .9 .99 .999 .9999 3
f(x) 1 1.9 1.99 1.999 1.9999 2
1
f(x) 0
-1
-2
-3
-4
-4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4
x

TECH OF MATH 5
Table Method And Direct
Substitution Method

lim x 3
?
x2
because as x gets closer and closer to 2, x cubed gets closer and closer
to 8. (using table on next slide)
Can use a table to find a limit.
X 1.8 1.9 1.99 1.99999 2 2.00001 2.001 2.1 2.2

y 5.832 6.859 7.8805 7.9998 8.0001 8.012 9.261 10.648

TECH OF MATH 6
In the previous example it was fairly evident that the limit was 8, because when we
replaced x with 2
(using direct substitution) the function had a value of 8. This is not always as evident.
Find the limit below.
x 2x 3
2
lim
x 1 x 1

TECH OF MATH 7
Left Limit and Right Limit

Consider () = . 0 is undefined. As 0 ,

() = 1

x -1 -.1 -.01 -.001 -.0001 4

f(x) -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 3
2
As 0+ , () = 1 1
f(x) 0
x 1 .1 .01 .001 .0001 -1
f(x) 1 1 1 1 1 -2
-3
-4
-4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4
x
We write this as lim = 1 , lim+ () = 1
0 TECH OF MATH 0 8
Limit Definition Summary

We say that lim = if as

We say that lim+ = if as +

If lim = lim+ = (i.e. it doesnt matter

which side x approaches a from) then we say that
lim =

TECH OF MATH 9
Nonexistence of Limits

Limits can fail to exist in several ways

1. lim or lim+ may not exist.

1
Example: sin oscillates rapidly between 0 and 1 as
1
+
0 (or 0 ). Thus, lim+ sin DNE (does not exist)
0
1
Example: gets larger and larger as 0+ . We write this
1
as lim+ =
0
2. lim and lim+ may both exist but have

different values. Ex: = near = 0
||
TECH OF MATH 10
Computing Limits

To compute lim :

If nothing special happens at = , just compute .
Example: lim (3 1) = 5
2
0
If plugging in = gives , factors can often be
0
cancelled when .
Example:
2 4 (2)(+2)
lim ( ) = lim ( ) = lim ( + 2) = 4
2 2 2 2 2

TECH OF MATH 11
Computing Limits (cont.)

+ 2 2
Useful trick: = =
+ +
+11
Example: What is lim ?
0
+11 +11 +1+1
lim = lim
0 0 +1+1
1 1
= lim = lim =
0 ( + 1 + 1) 0 ( + 1 + 1) 2

TECH OF MATH 12
Limits at Infinity

We can also consider what happens when or . Example:

1 1
Consider = = 1 . As x (or ), 1. We write

1
this as lim =1

TECH OF MATH 13
Computing Limits at

General strategy : figure out the largest terms and ignore everything
else
3 2 2
Example: If = , as only the 3 in the
4 2 +2 5
3
numerator and the 4 2 will really matter, so lim =
4

TECH OF MATH 14
Growth Rates as

Examples:

lim =0

2
lim 100 =
5

TECH OF MATH 15
Limit Laws

If lim = L and lim = then:

lim ( + ()) = L + M

lim ( ()) = L M

lim ( ()) = LM

()
lim ( ) = (if 0)
()
Etc.

TECH OF MATH 16
Continuity

Definition: is continuous at a if both and lim exist

and are equal.
Note: Polynomials are always continuous everywhere. Most
functions we will be working with are continuous almost
everywhere.

TECH OF MATH 17
Discontinuous functions

may fail to be continuous at = because:

1. lim or does not exist.

Example: If = then lim does not exist.
0
2 1
Example: If = then 1 is undefined.
1
2. lim or both exist but have different values.

Example: If = then lim = 1 but 1 = 0
1

TECH OF MATH 18
Two Trigonometric Limits

How do sin() and cos() behave as 0?

Consider lim . We cant cancel and directly, but if we think about it
0

x
1
sin(x) 1
x x
x sin(x)

As 0, looks more and more like , so lim = 1.
0

TECH OF MATH 19
Two Trigonometric Limits (cont.)

How about cos()? Clearly, lim = 1, but consider

0
1
lim .
0
1 (1 )(1+ ) 2 ()
lim = lim = lim =
0 0 (1+ ) 0 (1+ )

lim lim =0
0 0 1+
2
In fact, for small x, 1 .
2

TECH OF MATH 20
TECH OF MATH 21