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Extracting Function from Word Problems

Calculus is the study of the behavior of functions. The ability to solve real life problems using calculus hinges upon the ability to extract a function from a given description or physical situation. Students usually find that a word problem is easily solved once the underlying mathematical function is determined. In this chapter we discuss techniques that will form the basis for courses. ne definition of a function found in calculus texts reads! " function is a rule that assigns to each number x # A, a unique number y B. In calculus$ " and % are sets of real numbers. " is called the domainand % the range. It is important to understand that a function is not a number$ but a correspondencebetween two sets of numbers. In a practical sense$ one may thin& of a function as a relationship between y and x. The important thing is that there be one, and only one$ value of y corresponding to a given value of x. Example 1 If y ' x( ) *x ) +$ then y is a function of x. ,or each value of x there is clearly one and only one value of y. -owever$ if the equation x( ) y( ' +* defines the correspondence between x and y$ then y is not a function of x. If x ' .$ for example$ then y could be / or 0/. ,unction are usually represented symbolically by a letter such a f or g. ,or convenience$ function notation is often used in calculus. In terms of the definition above$ if f is a function and x # "$ then f (x) is the unique number in % corresponding to x. It is not uncommon to use a letter that reminds us of what a function represents. Thus for example$ " 1x2 may be used to represent the area of a square whose side is x or 3 1 r 2 may represent the volume of a sphere whose radius is r. 4xample + Suppose f represent the squaring function$ i.e.$ the function that squares x. 5e write f (x) = x( To compute the value of this function for a particular value of x$ simply replace x by that value wherever it appears in the definition of the function. f1.2 ' .( ' 6 f10*2 ' 10*2( ' +* f1782 '1782 ( ' 8 f1a ) b2 '1a ) b2 ( ' a( ) +ab ) b(
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The domain of a function is the set of numbers for which the function is defined. 5hile polynomials have the set of all real numbers as their domain$ many functions must$ by their very definition$ have restricted domains. ,or example$ f1x2 ' 7x has$ as its domain$ the set of nonnegative real numbers. 1The square root of a negative number is undefined.2 The domain of g1x2 ' 9:x is the set of all real numbers. %ecause of the geometric or physical nature of a problem$ many word problems arising from everyday situations involve functions with restricted domains. ,or example$ the squaring function f1x2 ' x( discussed in 4xample + allows all real x$ but if f1x2 represents the area of a square of side x$ then negative values ma&e no sense. The domain would be the set of all nonnegative real numbers. 15e shall see later that it is sometimes desirable to allow ; as the dimension of a geometric figure$ even though a square a rectangle whose side is ; is difficult to visuali<e2. ,inally$ please note that when dealing with problems on elementary calculus$ such as those discussed in this boo&$ only function of a single variable are considered. 5e may write " ' xy to represent the area of a rectangle of width x and length y$ but " is not a function of a single variable unless it is expressed in terms of only one variable. Techniques for accomplishing this are discussed in the pages that follow. Strategy for Extracting Functions The most important part of obtaining the function is to read and understand the problem. nce the problem is understood$ and it is clear what is to be found$ there are three steps to determining the function. Step 9 =raw a diagram 1 if appropriate 2. >abel all quantities$ &nown and un&nown$ that relevant. Step + 5rite an equation representing the quantity to be expressed as a function. This quantity will usually be represented in terms of two or more variables. Step . ?se any constraint specified in the problem to eliminate all but one independent variable. " constraint defines a relationship between variable in the problem. The procedure is not complete until only one independent variable remains. Number Problem "lthough number problems are relatively simple$ they illustrate the above steps quite clearly. 4xample . The sum of two number is /;. 4xpress their product as a function of one of the numbers. Solution Step 1
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In most number problems a diagram is not called for. 5e label the numbers using the variables x and y. >et! x be the first number y be the second number Step 2 5e wish to express the product @ as a function $ so @ ' xy. Step 3 Since x ) y ' /;$ y ' /; A x. 5e substitute into the equation involving @ obtained in step + and express using function notation. @1x2 ' x 1/; A x 2 @1x2 ' /;x 0 x( 4xample / The product of two number is .+. ,ind a function that represents the sum of their squares. Solution Step 9 >et x be the first number and y the second. Step + S ' x( ) y( Step . Since xy'.+$ y ' .+:x. It follows that S1x2 ' x( ) 1.+:x2(. Two !imensional "eometry Problems Bost geometry problems are composed of rectangles$ triangles$ and circles. It is therefore useful to review the formulas for the perimeter and area of these standard geometric shapes. " rectangle of length l and width w has a perimeter equal to the sum of the lengths of its fours sides. Its area is the product of its length and width. @ ' +l ) +w " ' lw " special case arises when l and w are equal. The resulting figure is a square$ whose side is s. @ ' /s " ' s(

@ ' +> ) @ ' /S " ' >5 " ' S(

+5

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" triangle with base b and altitude h has an area of C bh. Special cases include right triangles and equilateral triangles. ne often encounters triangles where two sides and their included angle are &nown. " ' C bhDeneral formula for all triangles " ' C abEight triangle whose legs area a and b " ' 7.:/ s( 4quilateral triangle of side s " ' C absinF If two sides and the included angle are &nown

Example # " farmer has 9*;; feet of fencing in his barn. -e wishes to enclose a rectangular pen$ subdivided into two regions by a section of fence down the middle$ parallel to one side of the rectangle. 4xpress the area enclosed by the pen as a function of its width x. 5hat is the domain of the functionG Solution Step 9 5e draw a simple diagram$ labeling the dimensions of the rectangle.

Step + 5e express the area of the rectangle in terms of the variables x and y. bserve that the area of the pen is determined by its outer dimensions onlyH the inner section has no affect on the area. " ' xy Step . 5e use the constraint of 9*;; feet of fence to obtain a relationship between x and y. .x ) +y ' 9*;; Iext we solve for y in terms of x. +y ' 9*;; A .x
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y ' 8*; A .:+ x ,inally$ we substitute this expression for y into the area equation obtained in step + " ' xy " ' x 18*; A .:+ x2 "1x2 ' 8*;x A .:+ x( Bathematically$ the domain of "1x2 is the set of all real numbers. -owever$ in this problem$ as with all geometry problems$ negative dimensions are unrealistic. "lthough x ' ; may appear to be un realistic as well$ we generally allows a rectangle of <ero width or length with the understanding that its area is ;. Such a rectangle is called a degenerate rectangle. Since the perimeter is fixed$ y gets smaller as x gets larger so the largest value of x occurs when y ' ;. .x ) +y ' 9*;; .x ' 9*;; x ' *;; 1y';2

The function describing the area of the farmerJs pen is "1x2 ' 8*;x A .:+ x( ; K x K *;; 4xample L " piece of wire 9+ inches long is to be used to form a square and:or a circle. =etermine a function that expresses the combined area of both figures. 5hat is its domainG Solution Step 9 >et x be the side of the square and r the radius of the circle. 5e shall express the area as a function of x.

Step + " ' x( ) M r( Step . Since the combined perimeter of the two figures must be 9+ inches$ we have /x ) +Mr ' 9+ It follows that
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+Mr ' 9+ A /x r ' '

Eeplacing r in terms of x in step + gives the area as a function of x. "1x2 ' x( ) M 1 ' x( ) If all the wire is used to form the circle$ x ' ;. If all the wire is used for the square$ /x ' 9+ and x ' .. ur function is "1x2 ' x( ) ;KxK. (

Is fixed so the maximum value of r occurs when x ' ; +x ) +Mr '9 +Mr ' 9 1x';2 r ' 9 : +Mr The area function and its domain are "1 r 2 ' r 0 Mr( ; K r K 9 : +M T$ree % !imensional "eometry Problems Bost three A dimensional word problems involve boxes$ right circular cylinders$ spheres$ and cones. " box has a volume equal to the product of its length$ width$ and height. The surface area of a closed box is the sum of the areas of its six sides. "n open box has no topH its volume is the same as for a closed box$ but its surface area involves only five sides. " cube is a box whose edges are all equal. Closed box 3 ' lwh S ' +lw ) +lh ) +wh pen box 3 ' lwh S ' lw ) +lh ) +wh Cube 3 ' sN S ' Ls(

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" right circular cylinder of length h and radius r has volume Mr(h and lateral surface area 2&r$. "n easy way to remember these is to multiply the area and circumference of a circle by h. Circumference of a circle C ' +M r "rea of a circle " ' Mr( >ateral surface area of a cylinder S ' +Mrh 3olume of cylinder 3 ' Mr(h The total surface area 1including the two circular ends2 of a cylinder is 2&r$ ' 2&r(

Cones and sphere are commonly used in word problems. Their volume and surface areas will become familiar with use. 3olume of a sphere Surface area of sphere 3olume of a cone 3 ' /:. M rN S ' / M r( 3 ' M : . r( h

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4xample O " closed box has a twice as long as it is wide. If its volume is 9;; inN$ express its surface area as a function of the width of its base. Solution Step 9 Since the base of the box is a rectangle whose length is twice its width$ we can represent its dimensions by x and +x. The height$ however$ must be represented by a different variable.

Step + The surface area of the box S is the sum of the areas of its six sides. The top and bottom areas are each +x($ the front and bac& areas are each +xy$ and the left and right sides each have an area of xy. S ' +x( ) + x( ) +xy ) +xy ) xy ) xy S ' /x( ) Lxy Step . The volume of the box 1 l x w x h 2$ +x(y$ is 9;; inN +x(y ' 9;; y ' *;:x( 4xample 6 " cylindrical container with a circular base has a surface area of L/ft(. 4xpress its volume as a function of its radius.
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Solution Step 9

Step +

Step . The surface area of the cylinder is L/ft(. 5e solve for h in terms of r. +Mrh ) +Mr( ' L/ +Mrh ' L/ 0 +Mr( h' h' 4xample 9; 5ater is stored in a tan& in the shape of an inverted cone of height 9; ft and diameter L ft. 4xpress the volume of water in the tan& as a function of the height h of the water level. Solution Step 9

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Step + The water is in the shape of a cone within the conical tan&. Its volume is represented by 3. 3 ' M : . r( h Step . To obtain a relationship between r and h we have use basic geometry. 3iewing the problem from two dimensional perspective $ we have observe two similar triangle!P "%C is similar to P"=4.

+;r ' Lh r' Substituting into the volume equation in step +$ we obtain 3 1 h 2 ' 1 2( h ' 31h2' . hN .h

%usiness and 4conomics @roblem @roblem arising in business and economics generally deal with money. )e*enue is the amount ta&en in by a company when selling a product$ cost is the money paid out by
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the wages$ materials$ rent and so forth$ and profit is the difference between revenue and cost. Negati*e profit indicates loss. 4xample 9 " machine can produce 9+ clay figure per hour. It cost Q8*; to set up the machine and QL per hour to run the machine. 4ach clay figure requires Q+ material 1clay2 to produce. If each clay figure will sell Q9;$ express the revenue$ cost and profit x clay figures as a function of time. Solution Step 9 >et x represent the number of clay figures produced and let t represent the number of hours needed to produce them. >et E$ C and @ represent the revenue$ cost and profit respectively. Step + Since each figures sells for Q9;$ E ' 9;x The cost consists of three parts. ,ixed cost is Q8*;$ the cost of running the machine for t hours is Lt dollars$ and the cost of material to produce x figures is +x dollars. Thus C ' 8*; ) Lt ) +x Since @rofit ' Eevenue A Cost @'EAC ' 9;x A 18*; ) Lt ) +x2 ' Ox A Lt A 8*; Step . Since 9+ clay figures are produced per hour$ x ' 9+t. Substituting into the result of step +. E ' 9;x ' 9;19+t2 E1t2 ' 9+;t C ' 8*; ) Lt ) +x C ' 8*; ) Lt ) +/t C1t2 ' 8*; ) .;t @ ' Ox A Lt A 8*; ' O19+t2 A Lt A 8*; 4xample 9+ " tour bus has O; seats. 4xperience shows that when a tour cost Q.;;$ all seats on the bus will sold. ,or each additional Q9; charged$ however$ + fewer seats will be sold. ,ind a function that represets the revenue derived from a single bus tour. Solution Step 9

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In this type of problem it is convenient to let x represent the number of Q9; increments above the base price of Q.;;. Thus$ for example$ if x ' +$ the price is Q.+;. 5e let n represent the number of seats sold and p the price per seat. Step + The revenue E is the product of the number of seats sold and the price per seat. E ' np Step . ,or each unit increment in x$ n decreases by + and p increase by 9; n ' O; A +x p ' .;; ) 9;x Substituting into step +$ E ' np ' 1 O; A +x 21 .;; ) 9;x2 E 1 x 2 ' +/$;;; ) +;;x A +;x( 4xample 9. " river is 9;; feet wide. The local telephone company wants to run a cable from point " on one side of the river to a point % on the other side$ *;; feet downstream. It cost . dollars per foot to run the cable under water while only + dollars per foot to run the cable on the land. =etermine a function representing the total cost to lay the cable. Solution Step 9 >et x represent the number of feet from C$ directly opposite "$ where the cable will emerge from the water$ and let y represent the number of feet of cable to be laid under water.

Step + The total cost is the sum of the costs to run the cable on land and under water. C ' C>"I= )Cwater C ' +1 *;; A x 2 ) .y ' 9;;; A +x ) .y Step . %y the @ythagorean theorem$ y ' 7 x( ) 9;;( $so the total cost function is C 1 x 2 ' 9;;; A +x ) .17 x( ) 9;$;;;2 ; K x K *;;
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Supplementary Problems 9. The difference of two number is 9*. 4xpress their product as a function of the smaller number x. +. " rectangle has a area of +;; square meters. 4xpress its perimeter as a function of its width. .. Caren wants to fence in a rectangular vegetable garden and subdivide it into three regions by using two additional sections of fence parallel to one side$ x$ of the rectangle. The total enclosed area is to be 9;;; ft(. 4xpress the total length of fencing as a function of x. /. " rectangle is inscribed in a semicircle of radius 9; with the base of the rectangle lying along the bottom of the semicircle. 4xpress the area of the rectangle as a function of its width and determine its domain. *. "n open box is to constructed from a rectangular pieces of sheet metal O x 9+ inches by cutting away identical x A inch square from each of the four corners and folding up the sides. 4xpress the volume of the resulting box as a function of x. L. " church window is to be in the shape of a rectangle surmounted by semicircle. If the perimeter of the window is 9;; inches$ express its area as a function of its semicircular radius r. 8. "n open box has a square base. If its surface area is +;; cm( express its volume as a function of its base dimension x. O. " right circular cylinder is inscribed in a sphere of radius 9;. 4xpress its volume and surface area as function of its height h. 6. If *;; apple trees are planted in an orchard$ each tree will produce O;; apples. ,or each additional tree planted$ the number of apples produced per tree diminishes by +;. ,ind a function that represents the total number of apples produced in the orchard. 9;. It costs QO;; to manufacture a certain model of personal computer. verhead and other fixed costs to the company are Q+;;; per wee&. The wholesale price of a computer is Q9*;; but$ as an incentive$ the company will reduce the price of every computer by an additional Q9; for each computer purchased in excess of 9;.1Thus if 9. computers are purchased$ each will cost Q9/8;.2 4xpress the companyJs wee&ly profit as a function of the number of computer sold.

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