## 17Calculus - Derivatives of Parametric Equations

On this page we get started with applying calculus to parametric equations by covering derivatives of parametric equations and higher order derivatives.
If you want a complete lecture on calculus involving parametric equations, we recommend this video.

### Prof Leonard - Calculus 2 Lecture 10.3: Calculus of Parametric Equations [1hr-34min-18secs]

video by Prof Leonard

Let's start out with a quick video clip giving us an introduction to finding the derivative $$dy/dx$$ if the function $$y=f(x)$$ is given in parametric equations $$x(t)$$ and $$y(t)$$. The theorem is given below.

### PatrickJMT - Parametric Differentiation [1min-7secs]

video by PatrickJMT

Theorem: Parametric Derivative

On a smooth curve given by the equations $$x=X(t)$$ and $$y = Y(t)$$, the slope of the curve at the point $$(x,y)$$ is $\frac{dy}{dx} = \frac{dy/dt}{dx/dt} \text{ where } dx/dt \neq 0$

### Parametric Derivative Proof

Theorem: Parametric Derivative

On a smooth curve given by the equations $$x=X(t)$$ and $$y = Y(t)$$, the slope of the curve at the point $$(x,y)$$ is $\frac{dy}{dx} = \frac{dy/dt}{dx/dt} \text{ where } dx/dt \neq 0$

We present two proofs here, a short informal version and a longer, more formal version.

Short Informal Proof
Given $$y(t)$$ and $$x(t)$$, we can write $$y = y(x(t))$$. We want to find $$dy/dx$$.
Using the chain rule on $$y(x(t))$$, we have $$dy/dt = dy/dx \cdot dx/dt$$.
Solving for $$dy/dx$$ we have $$\displaystyle{ dy/dx = \frac{dy/dt}{dx/dt} }$$      [qed]

Longer More Formal Proof
Given the two points $$(x_1,y_1) = (X(t), Y(t))$$ and $$(x_2,y_2) = (X(t+\Delta t), Y(t+\Delta t))$$ and $$\Delta t > 0$$ on a smooth curve, let $$\Delta x = x_2 - x_1 = X(t+\Delta t) - X(t)$$ and $$\Delta y = y_2 - y_1 = Y(t+\Delta t) - Y(t)$$.

As $$\Delta t \to 0$$, we know that $$\Delta x \to 0$$ and we can write

$$\displaystyle{ \frac{dy}{dx} = \lim_{\Delta x \to 0}{\frac{\Delta y}{\Delta x}} = \lim_{\Delta t \to 0}{\frac{Y(t+\Delta t) - Y(t)}{X(t+\Delta t) - X(t)}} }$$

Now we can multiply the numerator and denominator by $$1/\Delta t$$ and use limit laws to give us

$$\begin{array}{rcl} \displaystyle{\frac{dy}{dx}} & = & \displaystyle{\lim_{\Delta t \to 0}{\frac{[Y(t+\Delta t) - Y(t)](1/\Delta t)}{[X(t+\Delta t) - X(t)](1/\Delta t)}} } \\ & = & \displaystyle{ \frac{\lim_{\Delta t \to 0}{[Y(t+\Delta t) - Y(t)]/\Delta t}}{\lim_{\Delta t \to 0}{[X(t+\Delta t) - X(t)]/\Delta t}} } \\ & = & \displaystyle{ \frac{dy/dt}{dx/dt} ~~~~~ \text{ [qed] } } \end{array}$$

Before we go on, let's practice using this theorem.

Practice

Unless otherwise instructed, determine $$dy/dx$$ of the given parametric curves. Give your answers in exact, simplified form.

$$x=t+5\cos(t)$$, $$y=3e^t$$

Problem Statement

Find $$dy/dx$$ of the parametric curve $$x=t+5\cos(t)$$, $$y=3e^t$$.

Solution

### 1373 video

video by PatrickJMT

Log in to rate this practice problem and to see it's current rating.

$$x=t\sin(t)$$, $$y=t^2+t$$

Problem Statement

Find the derivative of the parametric curve $$x=t\sin(t)$$, $$y=t^2+t$$.

Solution

### 468 video

video by Krista King Math

Log in to rate this practice problem and to see it's current rating.

$$x=4t+1$$, $$y=t^2+2t$$

Problem Statement

Find $$dy/dx$$ of the parametric curve $$x=4t+1$$, $$y=t^2+2t$$.

Solution

### 1372 video

video by PatrickJMT

Log in to rate this practice problem and to see it's current rating.

Higher Order Derivatives

In order to determine concavity of a graph and other information, you will need higher order derivatives. We list two of them below from which you can extract a pattern.

Second Derivative

$$\displaystyle{ \frac{d^2y}{dx^2} = \frac{d}{dx}\left[ \frac{dy}{dx} \right] = \frac{d\left[ dy/dx \right]/dt}{dx/dt} }$$

You may also find the notation $$\dot{x} = dx/dt$$ and $$\dot{y} = dy/dt$$, in which case the above derivative can be written $$\displaystyle{ \frac{d^2y}{dx^2} = \frac{\dot{x} \ddot{y} - \dot{y} \ddot{x}}{\dot{x}^3} }$$

Third Derivative

$$\displaystyle{ \frac{d^3y}{dx^3} = \frac{d}{dx}\left[ \frac{d^2y}{dx^2} \right] = \frac{d\left[ d^2y/dx^2 \right] /dt}{dx/dt} }$$

Practice

Basic

Find the second derivative of the parametric equations $$x=t^2+t$$, $$y=2t-1$$.

Problem Statement

Find the second derivative of the parametric equations $$x=t^2+t$$, $$y=2t-1$$.

Solution

### 56 video

video by Krista King Math

Log in to rate this practice problem and to see it's current rating.

Intermediate

Find the second derivative of the parametric curve $$x=t^3+t$$, $$y=t^5+1$$.

Problem Statement

Find the second derivative of the parametric curve $$x=t^3+t$$, $$y=t^5+1$$.

Solution

### 1374 video

video by PatrickJMT

Log in to rate this practice problem and to see it's current rating.

Find the second derivative of the parametric curve $$x = t - t^3$$, $$y = 2t + 5$$.

Problem Statement

Find the second derivative of the parametric curve $$x = t - t^3$$, $$y = 2t + 5$$.

Solution

### 1375 video

video by PatrickJMT

Log in to rate this practice problem and to see it's current rating.

Find the horizontal tangent points to the curve $$x=1-t, y=t^2$$ and determine the concavity at those points.

Problem Statement

Find the horizontal tangent points to the curve $$x=1-t, y=t^2$$ and determine the concavity at those points.

$$(1,0)$$, concave up

Problem Statement

Find the horizontal tangent points to the curve $$x=1-t, y=t^2$$ and determine the concavity at those points.

Solution

How do you know when you have a horizontal tangent? When the slope is zero.
$$dx/dt=-1, dy/dt=2t$$
$$\displaystyle{ \frac{dy}{dx} = \frac{dy/dt}{dx/dt} = \frac{2t}{-1} }$$
$$dy/dx = 0$$ when $$-2t=0 \to t=0$$
When $$t=0$$, $$(x,y) = (1,0)$$.

To determine concavity at that point, we need to calculate the second derivative.
$$\displaystyle{ \frac{d^2y}{dx^2} = \frac{d[dy/dx]/dt}{dx/dt} = \frac{-2}{-1} = 2 }$$
Since the second derivative is positive everywhere, the curve is concave up.

$$(1,0)$$, concave up

Log in to rate this practice problem and to see it's current rating.

For the parametric curve $$x=\sqrt{t}, y=3t-1$$, find the derivative and the slope at the point $$t=1$$. Also determine the concavity and the equation of the tangent line at that same point. Give your equation of the tangent line in slope-intercept form.

Problem Statement

For the parametric curve $$x=\sqrt{t}, y=3t-1$$, find the derivative and the slope at the point $$t=1$$. Also determine the concavity and the equation of the tangent line at that same point. Give your equation of the tangent line in slope-intercept form.

$$dy/dx=6\sqrt{t}, m=6, y=6x-4$$, concave up

Problem Statement

For the parametric curve $$x=\sqrt{t}, y=3t-1$$, find the derivative and the slope at the point $$t=1$$. Also determine the concavity and the equation of the tangent line at that same point. Give your equation of the tangent line in slope-intercept form.

Solution

$$dx/dt=(1/2)t^{-1/2}, dy/dt = 3$$
$$\displaystyle{ \frac{dy}{dx} = \frac{dy/dt}{dx/dt} = \frac{3}{(1/2)t^{-1/2}} = 6\sqrt{t} }$$
slope at $$t=1, m=6\sqrt{1} = 6$$
for the equation of tangent line, we need the $$(x,y)$$ point at $$t=1$$, so $$(\sqrt{1},3-1)=(1,2)$$
$$y-y_1=m(x-x_1) \to y-2=6(x-1) \to y=6x-4$$
$$\displaystyle{ \frac{d^2y}{dx^2} = \frac{d[dy/dx]/dt}{dx/dt} = \frac{6(1/2)t^{-1/2}}{(1/2)t^{-1/2}} = 6 }$$
Since the second derivative is positive at $$t=1$$ (and everywhere else for that matter), the curve is concave up.

$$dy/dx=6\sqrt{t}, m=6, y=6x-4$$, concave up

Log in to rate this practice problem and to see it's current rating.

### parametric calculus 17calculus youtube playlist

You CAN Ace Calculus

 Wikipedia - Parametric Derivative Wikipedia - Arc Length Pauls Online Notes - Arc Length with Parametric Equations Wikipedia - Solid of Revolution

### Trig Formulas

The Unit Circle

The Unit Circle [wikipedia] Basic Trig Identities

Set 1 - basic identities

$$\displaystyle{ \tan(t) = \frac{\sin(t)}{\cos(t)} }$$

$$\displaystyle{ \cot(t) = \frac{\cos(t)}{\sin(t)} }$$

$$\displaystyle{ \sec(t) = \frac{1}{\cos(t)} }$$

$$\displaystyle{ \csc(t) = \frac{1}{\sin(t)} }$$

Set 2 - squared identities

$$\sin^2t + \cos^2t = 1$$

$$1 + \tan^2t = \sec^2t$$

$$1 + \cot^2t = \csc^2t$$

Set 3 - double-angle formulas

$$\sin(2t) = 2\sin(t)\cos(t)$$

$$\displaystyle{ \cos(2t) = \cos^2(t) - \sin^2(t) }$$

Set 4 - half-angle formulas

$$\displaystyle{ \sin^2(t) = \frac{1-\cos(2t)}{2} }$$

$$\displaystyle{ \cos^2(t) = \frac{1+\cos(2t)}{2} }$$

Trig Derivatives

 $$\displaystyle{ \frac{d[\sin(t)]}{dt} = \cos(t) }$$ $$\displaystyle{ \frac{d[\cos(t)]}{dt} = -\sin(t) }$$ $$\displaystyle{ \frac{d[\tan(t)]}{dt} = \sec^2(t) }$$ $$\displaystyle{ \frac{d[\cot(t)]}{dt} = -\csc^2(t) }$$ $$\displaystyle{ \frac{d[\sec(t)]}{dt} = \sec(t)\tan(t) }$$ $$\displaystyle{ \frac{d[\csc(t)]}{dt} = -\csc(t)\cot(t) }$$

Inverse Trig Derivatives

 $$\displaystyle{ \frac{d[\arcsin(t)]}{dt} = \frac{1}{\sqrt{1-t^2}} }$$ $$\displaystyle{ \frac{d[\arccos(t)]}{dt} = -\frac{1}{\sqrt{1-t^2}} }$$ $$\displaystyle{ \frac{d[\arctan(t)]}{dt} = \frac{1}{1+t^2} }$$ $$\displaystyle{ \frac{d[\arccot(t)]}{dt} = -\frac{1}{1+t^2} }$$ $$\displaystyle{ \frac{d[\arcsec(t)]}{dt} = \frac{1}{\abs{t}\sqrt{t^2 -1}} }$$ $$\displaystyle{ \frac{d[\arccsc(t)]}{dt} = -\frac{1}{\abs{t}\sqrt{t^2 -1}} }$$

Trig Integrals

 $$\int{\sin(x)~dx} = -\cos(x)+C$$ $$\int{\cos(x)~dx} = \sin(x)+C$$ $$\int{\tan(x)~dx} = -\ln\abs{\cos(x)}+C$$ $$\int{\cot(x)~dx} = \ln\abs{\sin(x)}+C$$ $$\int{\sec(x)~dx} =$$ $$\ln\abs{\sec(x)+\tan(x)}+C$$ $$\int{\csc(x)~dx} =$$ $$-\ln\abs{\csc(x)+\cot(x)}+C$$

### Search Practice Problems

Do you have a practice problem number but do not know on which page it is found? If so, enter the number below and click 'page' to go to the page on which it is found or click 'practice' to be taken to the practice problem.

 The 17Calculus and 17Precalculus iOS and Android apps are no longer available for download. If you are still using a previously downloaded app, your app will be available until the end of 2020, after which the information may no longer be available. However, do not despair. All the information (and more) is now available on 17calculus.com for free.

Calculus: Early Transcendental Functions Save Up To 50% Off SwissGear Backpacks Plus Free Shipping Over \$49 at eBags.com! Shop Amazon - Wearable Technology: Electronics As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

When using the material on this site, check with your instructor to see what they require. Their requirements come first, so make sure your notation and work follow their specifications.

DISCLAIMER - 17Calculus owners and contributors are not responsible for how the material, videos, practice problems, exams, links or anything on this site are used or how they affect the grades or projects of any individual or organization. We have worked, to the best of our ability, to ensure accurate and correct information on each page and solutions to practice problems and exams. However, we do not guarantee 100% accuracy. It is each individual's responsibility to verify correctness and to determine what different instructors and organizations expect. How each person chooses to use the material on this site is up to that person as well as the responsibility for how it impacts grades, projects and understanding of calculus, math or any other subject. In short, use this site wisely by questioning and verifying everything. If you see something that is incorrect, contact us right away so that we can correct it.