# 4: Applications of Derivatives

- Page ID
- 103968

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A rocket launch involves two related quantities that change over time. Being able to solve this type of problem is just one application of derivatives introduced in this chapter. We also look at how derivatives are used to find maximum and minimum values of functions. As a result, we will be able to solve applied optimization problems, such as maximizing revenue and minimizing surface area. In addition, we examine how derivatives are used to evaluate complicated limits, to approximate roots of functions, and to provide accurate graphs of functions.

- 4.1: Prelude to Applications of Derivatives
- Finding relationships between multiple quantities that change over time is one application of derivatives introduced in this chapter. We also look at using derivatives to find maximum and minimum values of functions, which leads to solving applied optimization problems, such as maximizing revenue and minimizing surface area. In addition, we examine how derivatives are used to evaluate complicated limits, to approximate roots of functions, and to provide accurate graphs of functions.

- 4.2: Related Rates
- If two related quantities are changing over time, the rates at which the quantities change are related. For example, if a balloon is being filled with air, both the radius of the balloon and the volume of the balloon are increasing. In this section, we consider several problems in which two or more related quantities are changing and we study how to determine the relationship between the rates of change of these quantities.

- 4.3: Linear Approximations and Differentials
- In this section, we examine another application of derivatives: the ability to approximate functions locally by linear functions. Linear functions are the easiest functions with which to work, so they provide a useful tool for approximating function values. In addition, the ideas presented in this section are generalized in later calculus courses when we study how to approximate functions by higher-degree polynomials.

- 4.4: Maxima and Minima
- Finding the maximum and minimum values of a function has practical significance because we can use this method to solve optimization problems, such as maximizing profit, minimizing the amount of material used in manufacturing an aluminum can, or finding the maximum height a rocket can reach. In this section, we look at how to use derivatives to find the largest and smallest values for a function.

- 4.5: The Mean Value Theorem
- The Mean Value Theorem is one of the most important theorems in calculus. We look at some of its implications at the end of this section. But first, we start with a special case of the Mean Value Theorem, called Rolle’s theorem.

- 4.6: Derivatives and the Shape of a Graph
- Using the results from the previous section, we are now able to determine whether a critical point of a function actually corresponds to a local extreme value. In this section, we also see how the second derivative provides information about the shape of a graph by describing whether the graph of a function curves upward or curves downward.

- 4.7: Limits at Infinity and Asymptotes
- We have shown how to use the first and second derivatives of a function to describe the shape of a graph. To graph a function f defined on an unbounded domain, we also need to know the behavior of f as x→±∞ . In this section, we define limits at infinity and show how these limits affect the graph of a function. At the end of this section, we outline a strategy for graphing an arbitrary function f.

- 4.8: Applied Optimization Problems
- One common application of calculus is calculating the minimum or maximum value of a function subject to some constraint on its input or output. For example, in manufacturing, it is often desirable to minimize the amount of material used to package a product with a certain volume. In this section, we show how to set up these types of minimization and maximization problems and solve them by using the tools developed in this chapter.

- 4.9: L’Hôpital’s Rule
- In this section, we examine a powerful tool for evaluating limits. This tool, known as L’Hôpital’s rule, uses derivatives to calculate limits. With this rule, we will be able to evaluate many limits we have not yet been able to determine. Instead of relying on numerical evidence to conjecture that a limit exists, we will be able to show definitively that a limit exists and to determine its exact value.

- 4.10: Newton’s Method
- In many areas of pure and applied mathematics, we are interested in finding solutions to an equation of the form f(x)=0. For most functions, however, it is difficult—if not impossible—to calculate their zeroes explicitly. In this section, we take a look at a technique that provides a very efficient way of approximating the zeroes of functions. This technique makes use of tangent line approximations and is behind the method used often by calculators and computers to find zeroes.

- 4.11: Antiderivatives
- At this point, we have seen how to calculate derivatives of many functions and have been introduced to a variety of their applications. We now ask a question that turns this process around: Given a function f , how do we find a function with the derivative f and why would we be interested in such a function?

## Contributors and Attributions

Gilbert Strang (MIT) and Edwin “Jed” Herman (Harvey Mudd) with many contributing authors. This content by OpenStax is licensed with a CC-BY-SA-NC 4.0 license. Download for free at http://cnx.org.