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Mathematics LibreTexts

3: Derivatives

  • Page ID
    2489
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    Calculating velocity and changes in velocity are important uses of calculus, but it is far more widespread than that. Calculus is important in all branches of mathematics, science, and engineering, and it is critical to analysis in business and health as well. In this chapter, we explore one of the main tools of calculus, the derivative, and show convenient ways to calculate derivatives. We apply these rules to a variety of functions in this chapter so that we can then explore applications of these techniques.

    • 3.0: Prelude to Derivatives
      Calculating velocity and changes in velocity are important uses of calculus, but it is far more widespread than that. Calculus is important in all branches of mathematics, science, and engineering, and it is critical to analysis in business and health as well. In this chapter, we explore one of the main tools of calculus, the derivative, and show convenient ways to calculate derivatives. We apply these rules to a variety of functions in this chapter so that we can then explore applications of th
    • 3.1: Defining the Derivative
      The slope of the tangent line to a curve measures the instantaneous rate of change of a curve. We can calculate it by finding the limit of the difference quotient or the difference quotient with increment h . The derivative of a function f(x) at a value a is found using either of the definitions for the slope of the tangent line. Velocity is the rate of change of position. As such, the velocity v(t) at time t is the derivative of the position s(t) at time t .
    • 3.2: The Derivative as a Function
      The derivative of a function \(f(x)\) is the function whose value at \(x\) is \(f′(x)\). The graph of a derivative of a function f(x) is related to the graph of f(x). Where (f(x) has a tangent line with positive slope, f′(x)>0. Where (x) has a tangent line with negative slope, f′(x)<0. Where f(x) has a horizontal tangent line, f′(x)=0. If a function is differentiable at a point, then it is continuous at that point.
    • 3.3: Differentiation Rules
      The derivative of a constant function is zero. The derivative of a power function is a function in which the power on x becomes the coefficient of the term and the power on  x in the derivative decreases by 1. The derivative of a constant c multiplied by a function f is the same as the constant multiplied by the derivative. The derivative of the sum of a function f and a function g is the same as the sum of the derivative of f and the derivative of g.
    • 3.4: Derivatives as Rates of Change
      In this section we look at some applications of the derivative by focusing on the interpretation of the derivative as the rate of change of a function. These applications include acceleration and velocity in physics, population growth rates in biology, and marginal functions in economics.
    • 3.5: Derivatives of Trigonometric Functions
      We can find the derivatives of sin x and cos x by using the definition of derivative and the limit formulas found earlier. With these two formulas, we can determine the derivatives of all six basic trigonometric functions.
    • 3.6: The Chain Rule
      Key Concepts The chain rule allows us to differentiate compositions of two or more functions. It states that for \(h(x)=f(g(x)),\) \(h′(x)=f′(g(x))g′(x).\) We can use the chain rule with other rules that we have learned, and we can derive formulas for some of them. The chain rule combines with the power rule to form a new rule: If \(h(x)=(g(x))^n\),then \(h′(x)=n(g(x))^{n−1}g′(x)\).
    • 3.7: Derivatives of Inverse Functions
      The inverse function theorem allows us to compute derivatives of inverse functions without using the limit definition of the derivative. We can use the inverse function theorem to develop differentiation formulas for the inverse trigonometric functions.
    • 3.8: Implicit Differentiation
      We use implicit differentiation to find derivatives of implicitly defined functions (functions defined by equations). By using implicit differentiation, we can find the equation of a tangent line to the graph of a curve.
    • 3.9: Derivatives of Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
      In this section, we explore derivatives of exponential and logarithmic functions. As we discussed in Introduction to Functions and Graphs, exponential functions play an important role in modeling population growth and the decay of radioactive materials. Logarithmic functions can help rescale large quantities and are particularly helpful for rewriting complicated expressions.
    • 3.E: Derivatives (Exercises)
      These are homework exercises to accompany OpenStax's "Calculus" Textmap.
    • 3.S: Derivatives (Summary)

    Contributors

    Gilbert Strang (MIT) and Edwin “Jed” Herman (Harvey Mudd) with many contributing authors. This content by OpenStax is licensed with a CC-BY 3/0 license. Download for free at http://cnx.org.