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Mathematics LibreTexts

17: Second-Order Differential Equations

We have already studied the basics of differential equations, including separable first-order equations. In this chapter, we go a little further and look at second-order equations, which are equations containing second derivatives of the dependent variable. The solution methods we examine are different from those discussed earlier, and the solutions tend to involve trigonometric functions as well as exponential functions. Here we concentrate primarily on second-order equations with constant coefficients.

Thumbnail: A solution to the 2D wave function. Image used with permission (CC SA_BY 3.0 Internation; BrentHFoster).

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