\( \newcommand{\abs}[1]{\left| \, {#1} \, \right| } \) \( \newcommand{\cm}{\mathrm{cm} } \) \( \newcommand{\sec}{ \, \mathrm{sec} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\vhat}[1]{\,\hat{#1}} \) \( \newcommand{\vhati}{\,\hat{i}} \) \( \newcommand{\vhatj}{\,\hat{j}} \) \( \newcommand{\vhatk}{\,\hat{k}} \) \( \newcommand{\vect}[1]{\boldsymbol{\vec{#1}}} \) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\|{#1}\|} \) \( \newcommand{\arccot}{ \, \mathrm{arccot} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arcsec}{ \, \mathrm{arcsec} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arccsc}{ \, \mathrm{arccsc} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\sech}{ \, \mathrm{sech} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\csch}{ \, \mathrm{csch} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arcsinh}{ \, \mathrm{arcsinh} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arccosh}{ \, \mathrm{arccosh} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arctanh}{ \, \mathrm{arctanh} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arccoth}{ \, \mathrm{arccoth} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arcsech}{ \, \mathrm{arcsech} \, } \) \( \newcommand{\arccsch}{ \, \mathrm{arccsch} \, } \)

17Calculus - Derivatives of Parametric Equations

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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

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

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

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\(x=4t+1\), \(y=t^2+2t\)

Problem Statement

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

Solution

1372 video

video by PatrickJMT

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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

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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

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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

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video by PatrickJMT

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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.

Final Answer

\((1,0)\), 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.

Final Answer

\((1,0)\), concave up

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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.

Final Answer

\(dy/dx=6\sqrt{t}, m=6, y=6x-4\), 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.

Final Answer

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

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You CAN Ace Calculus

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

\(\int{\sin(x)~dx} = -\cos(x)+C\)

 

\(\int{\cos(x)~dx} = \sin(x)+C\)

\(\int{\tan(x)~dx} = -\ln\abs{\cos(x)}+C\)

 

\(\int{\cot(x)~dx} = \ln\abs{\sin(x)}+C\)

\(\int{\sec(x)~dx} = \) \( \ln\abs{\sec(x)+\tan(x)}+C\)

 

\(\int{\csc(x)~dx} = \) \( -\ln\abs{\csc(x)+\cot(x)}+C\)

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