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Mathematics LibreTexts

4: Applications of Derivatives

  • Page ID
    2499
  • [ "article:topic-guide", "authorname:openstax" ]

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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.

    • 4.0: Prelude to Applications of Derivatives
      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 f
    • 4.1: 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.
    • 4.2: 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 later in the text when we study how to approximate functions by higher-degree polynomials Introduction to Power Series and Functions.
    • 4.3: 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.
    • 4.4: 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. First, let’s start with a special case of the Mean Value Theorem, called Rolle’s theorem.
    • 4.5: 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.
    • 4.6: 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 ff.
    • 4.7: Applied Optimization Problems
      One common application of calculus is calculating the minimum or maximum value of a function. For example, companies often want to minimize production costs or maximize revenue. 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.
    • 4.8: 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.
    • 4.9: 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.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.
    • 4.10: Antiderivatives
      Given a function f , how do we find a function with the derivative f and why would we be interested in such a function? We answer the first part of this question by defining antiderivatives. The antiderivative of a function f is a function with a derivative f . Why are we interested in antiderivatives? The need for antiderivatives arises in many situations, and we look at various examples throughout the remainder of the text. Here we examine one specific example that involves rectilinear moti
    • 4.E: Applications of Derivatives (Exercises)
      These are homework exercises to accompany OpenStax's "Calculus" Textmap.​​​​​​​

    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.