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first order differential equations

first order differential equations

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Published by jhames09

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Published by: jhames09 on Oct 07, 2009
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First Order Differential Equations
1. First Order Linear Equations
A first order linear differential equation has the following form:
The general solution is given by
called the integrating factor. If an initial condition is given, use it to find the constantC.
Here are some practical steps to follow:
If the differential equation is given as
rewrite it in the form
Find the integrating factor
Evaluate the integral
Write down the general solution
If you are given an IVP, use the initial condition to find the constantC.
Example1: Find the particular solution of:
Solution: Let us use the steps:
Step 1: There is no need for rewriting the differential equation. We have
Step 2: Integrating factor
Step 3: We have
Step 4: The general solution is given by
Step 5: In order to find the particular solution to the given IVP, we use the initial
condition to findC. Indeed, we have
Therefore the solution is
Note that you may not have to do the last step if you are asked to find the general solution
(not an IVP).
Example2: Find the solution to
Solution: First, we recognize that this is a linear equation. Indeed, we have
Therefore, the integrating factor is given by
, we get
Hence, the general solution is given by the formula
We have
The details for this calculation involve the technique of integrating rational functions. We have

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