# 11.6: Applications with quadratic functions

- Page ID
- 45115

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There are many applications involving quadratic functions that it is almost challenging to pick the few functions to discuss for this section. Yet, we only choose a few applications that are common in most algebra classes. First, we must start with defining the * extreme value* of a quadratic function.

## Find the Extreme Value

The * extreme value* of a quadratic function \(f(x)\) is either the

*minimum*or

*maximum*value of the quadratic function \(f(x)\). The extreme value is given as

\[f\left(-\dfrac{b}{2a}\right)\nonumber\]

The *minimum* value is located at the lowest point of an upwards parabola and the *maximum *value is located at the highest point of a downwards parabola.

Notice in the definition that the extreme value is the \(y\)-coordinate of the vertex. Recall, the vertex is

\[\left(-\dfrac{b}{2a},f\left(-\dfrac{b}{2a}\right)\right)\nonumber\]

and we can see the \(y\)-coordinate is just the extreme value. Hence, when we use the words vertex, minimum or maximum value, or extreme value, they are all associated with the vertex of a parabola.

Find the vertex and the extreme value of the function \(f(x) = x^2 − 4x + 5\).

**Solution**

Notice \(a = 1\), which means \(a > 0\). Hence, \(f(x)\) is an upwards parabola and, from the definition, we expect \(f(x)\) to have a minimum value. Let’s use the formula to find the vertex, where \(a = 1\) and \(b = −4\).

\[\begin{array}{rl}x=-\dfrac{b}{2a}&\text{Plug-n-chug} \\ x=-\dfrac{\color{blue}{-4}}{\color{blue}{2(1)}}&\text{Simplify} \\ x=2&\text{The }x\text{-coordinate of the vertex}\end{array}\nonumber\]

Next, we find the \(y\)-coordinate of the vertex by obtaining \(f(2)\).

\[\begin{array}{rl}f(x)=x^2-4x+5&\text{Plug-n-chug} \\ f(\color{blue}{2}\color{black}{)}=(\color{blue}{2}\color{black}{)}^2-4(\color{blue}{2}\color{black}{)}+5&\text{Evaluate} \\ f(2)=1&\text{The }y\text{-coordinate of the vertex}\end{array}\nonumber\]

Hence, the vertex is \((2, 1)\). Next, we find the extreme value of \(f(x)\). From the vertex calculation, we see \(f\left(-\dfrac{b}{2a}\right)=f(2)=1\). Thus, the extreme value is \(1\), the \(y\)-coordinate of the vertex.

Find the vertex and the extreme value of the function \(q(n) = −3n^2 − 5n + 3\).

**Solution**

Notice \(a = −3\), which means \(a < 0\). Hence, \(q(n)\) is an downwards parabola and, from the definition, we expect \(q(n)\) to have a maximum value. Let’s use the formula to find the vertex, where \(a = −3\) and \(b = −5\).

\[\begin{array}{rl}n=-\dfrac{b}{2a}&\text{Plug-n-chug} \\ n=-\dfrac{\color{blue}{-5}}{\color{blue}{2(-3)}}&\color{black}{\text{Simplify}} \\ n=-\dfrac{5}{6}&\text{The }x\text{-coordinate of the vertex}\end{array}\nonumber\]

Next, we find the \(y\)-coordinate of the vertex by obtaining \(q\left(-\dfrac{5}{6}\right)\).

\[\begin{array}{rl} q(n)=-3n^2-5n+3&\text{Plug-n-chug} \\ q\left(\color{blue}{-\dfrac{5}{6}}\color{black}{}\right)=-3\left(\color{blue}{-\dfrac{5}{6}}\color{black}{}\right)^2-5\left(\color{blue}{-\dfrac{5}{6}}\color{black}{}\right) +3&\text{Evaluate} \\ q\left(-\dfrac{5}{6}\right)=\dfrac{61}{12}&\text{The }y\text{-coordinate of the vertex}\end{array}\nonumber\]

Hence, the vertex is \(\left(-\dfrac{5}{6},\dfrac{61}{12}\right)\). Next, we find the extreme value of \(q(n)\). From the vertex calculation, we see \(q\left(-\dfrac{b}{2a}\right)=q\left(-\dfrac{5}{6}\right)=\dfrac{61}{12}\). Thus, the extreme value is \(\dfrac{61}{12}\), the \(y\)-coordinate of the vertex.

It may seem a little redundant to find the vertex and the extreme value, but, remember, the goal is to apply this concept to real-world applications with quadratic functions. Let’s take a look at a few applications where we find the extreme value in context of a real-world model.

## Projectile Motion

A rocket is launched at \(t = 0\) seconds. Its height, in meters above sea-level, as a function of time is given by \(h(t) = −4.9t^2 + 46t+ 157\). At what time does the rocket reach its maximum height? At what height does the rocket reach its maximum height above the water? *Round the answers to 2 decimal places.*

**Solution**

When we read the word *maximum*, we should think about the vertex of \(h(t)\). Since we need to find the time in which the maximum height occurs, then we can find the \(x\)-coordinate of the vertex.

\[\begin{aligned}t&=-\dfrac{b}{2a} \\ t&=-\dfrac{46}{2(-4.9)} \\ t&\approx 4.69\end{aligned}\]

Thus, the maximum height occurs after \(4.69\) seconds. Next, we find the height of the rocket when it reaches its maximum height above the water. Since we need to find the maximum height, then we need to find the \(y\)-coordinate of the vertex, or \(h(4.69)\).

\[h(4.69)=-4.9(4.69)^2+46(4.69)+157\approx 264.96\nonumber\]

Thus, the maximum height of the rocket is \(264.96\) meters after \(4.69\) seconds the rocket is launched.

## Revenue and Cost Functions

The revenue, \(R(x)\), of producing and selling \(x\) *Awesome Hearing Aids* is modeled by the function \(R(x) = −6x^2 + 108x\). What is the maximum revenue?

**Solution**

To find the maximum revenue, we need to find \(R\left(-\dfrac{b}{2a}\right)\), where \(a = −6\) and \(b = 108\). Let’s plug-n-chug this into \(R(x)\) to find the maximum revenue.

\[\begin{aligned} R(x)&=-6x^2+108x \\ R\left(-\dfrac{b}{2a}\right)&=-6\left(-\dfrac{b}{2a}\right)^2+108\left(-\dfrac{b}{2a}\right) \\ R\left(-\dfrac{\color{blue}{108}}{2\color{blue}{(-6)}}\right)&=-6\left(-\dfrac{\color{blue}{108}}{2\color{blue}{(-6)}}\right)^2+108\left(-\dfrac{\color{blue}{108}}{2\color{blue}{(-6)}}\right) \\ R\left(-\dfrac{\color{blue}{108}}{2\color{blue}{(-6)}}\right)&=486\end{aligned}\]

Thus, the maximum revenus is $486.

The cost, \(C(x)\), of producing \(x\) *Totally Cool Coolers* is modeled by the function \(C(x) = 0.005x^2 −0.3x+ 17\). What is the minimum cost?

**Solution**

To find the minimum cost, we need to find \(C\left(-\dfrac{b}{2a}\right)\), where \(a=0.005\) and \(b=-0.3\). Let's plug-n-chug this into \(C(x)\) to find the minimum cost.

\[\begin{aligned}C(x)&=0.005x^2-0.3x+17 \\ C\left(-\dfrac{b}{2a}\right)&=0.005\left(-\dfrac{b}{2a}\right)^2-0.3\left(-\dfrac{b}{2a}\right)+17 \\ C\left(-\dfrac{\color{blue}{-0.3}}{2\color{blue}{(0.005)}}\right)&=0.005\left(-\dfrac{\color{blue}{-0.3}}{2\color{blue}{(0.005)}}\right)^2-0.3\left(-\dfrac{\color{blue}{-0.3}}{2\color{blue}{(0.005)}}\right)+17 \\ C\left(-\dfrac{\color{blue}{-0.3}}{2\color{blue}{(0.005)}}\right)&=12.5\end{aligned}\]

From all the examples, we see the variety of methods in obtaining the extreme value of a quadratic function. We can either graph the function, find each coordinate of the vertex, or directly calculate the extreme value. It is at the discretion of the student to use any method. However, directly calculating the extreme value is recommended when only the extreme value is needed.

## Applications with Quadratic Functions Homework

Find the vertex and the extreme value of the function \[f(x)=2x^2-5x-4\nonumber\] What is the vertex? What is the extreme value?

Find the vertex and the extreme value of the function \[f(x)=2x^2-2x-5\nonumber\] What is the vertex? What is the extreme value?

Find the vertex and the extreme value of the function \[f(x)=x^2+2x+24\nonumber\] What is the vertex? What is the extreme value?

A rocket is launched at \(t = 0\) seconds. Its height, in meters above sea-level, as a function of time is given by \[h(t)=-4.9t^2+271t+150\nonumber\] At what time does the rocket reach its maximum height? At what height does the rocket reach its maximum height above the water? *Round your answer to 2 decimal places.*

A rocket is launched at \(t = 0\) seconds. Its height, in meters above sea-level, as a function of time is given by \[h(t)=-4.9t^2+190t+395\nonumber\] At what time does the rocket reach its maximum height? At what height does the rocket reach its maximum height above the water? *Round your answer to 2 decimal places.*

A rocket is launched at \(t = 0\) seconds. Its height, in meters above sea-level, as a function of time is given by \[h(t)=-4.9t^2+223t+129\nonumber\] At what time does the rocket reach its maximum height? At what height does the rocket reach its maximum height above the water? *Round your answer to 2 decimal places.*

The cost, \(C(x)\), of producing \(x\) *Totally Cool Coolers* is modeled by the function \[C(x)=0.005x^2-0.25x+12\nonumber\] How many coolers need to be produced and sold in order to minimize the cost? What is the cost?

The cost, \(C(x)\), of producing \(x\) *Totally Cool Coolers* is modeled by the function \[C(x)=0.005x^2-0.45x+25\nonumber\] How many coolers need to be produced and sold in order to minimize the cost? What is the cost?

The revenue, \(R(x)\), of producing and selling \(x\) *Awesome Hearing Aids* is modeled by the function \[R(x)=-5x^2+105x\nonumber\] How many hearing aids need to be produced and sold in order to maximize the revenue? What is the revenue?

The revenue, \(R(x)\), of producing and selling \(x\) *Awesome Hearing Aids* is modeled by the function \[R(x)=-2x^2+62x\nonumber\] How many hearing aids need to be produced and sold in order to maximize the revenue? What is the revenue?

The revenue, \(R(x)\), of producing and selling \(x\) *Awesome Hearing Aids* is modeled by the function \[R(x)=-4x^2+76x\nonumber\] How many hearing aids need to be produced and sold in order to maximize the revenue? What is the revenue