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first order differential equations

first order differential equations

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Published by: jhames09 on Oct 07, 2009
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02/01/2013

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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
where
called the integrating factor. If an initial condition is given, use it to find the constantC.
Here are some practical steps to follow:
1.
If the differential equation is given as
,
rewrite it in the form
,
where
2.
Find the integrating factor
.
3.
Evaluate the integral
4.
Write down the general solution
.
5.
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
.
Since
, 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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