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Vertical Tangents and Cusps

Vertical Tangents and Cusps

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Vertical Tangents and Cusps
Vertical Tangents and Cusps

Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Tarun Gehlot on Jul 21, 2013

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12/07/2013

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TARUN GEHLOT (B.E, CIVIL, HONOURS)
Vertical Tangents and Cusps
In the definition of the slope, vertical lines were excluded. It is customary not to assign aslope to these lines. This is true as long as we assume that a slope is a number. Butfrom a purely geometric point of view, a curvemay have a vertical tangent. Think of acircle (with two vertical tangent lines). We still have an equation, namely
x
=
c
, but it is notof the form
y
=
ax
+
b
. In fact, such tangent lines have an infinite slope. To be precise wewill say:
The graph of a function
(
x
)
has a vertical tangent at the point
(
x
0
,
(
x
0
))
if and onlyif Example.
Consider the functionWe haveClearly,
'(2) does not exist. In fact we haveSo the graph of
(
x
) has a vertical tangent at (2,0). The equation of this line is
x
=2.

TARUN GEHLOT (B.E, CIVIL, HONOURS)
In this example, the limit of
'(
x
) whenis the same whether we get closer to 2from the left or from the right. In many examples, that is not the case.
Example.
Consider the functionWe haveSo we have

TARUN GEHLOT (B.E, CIVIL, HONOURS)
It is clear that the graph of this function becomes vertical and then virtually doubles backon itself. Such pattern signals the presence of what is known as a
vertical cusp
. Ingeneral we say that the graph of
(
x
) has a vertical cusp at
x
0
,
(
x
0
)) iff orIn both cases,
'(
x
0
) becomes infinite. A graph may also exhibit a behavior similar to acusp without having infinite slopes:
Example.
Consider the function
(
x
) = |
x
3
-8|.Clearly we haveHence

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