z

100

An Introduction to Partial Derivatives
10 10

y

x

Greg Kelly, Hanford High School, Richland, Washington

z
100

When we have functions with more than one variable, we can find partial derivatives by holding all the variables but one constant.

f  x, y   100  x2  y 2
10 10

y

df  2 x dx
d2 f  2 2 dx

x

df  2 y dy d2 f  2 2 dy

df Note: is also written as dx

fx

(eff sub ecks)

z
100

df would give you the slope of the dx tangent in the plane y=0 or in any
plane with constant y.

f  x, y   100  x2  y 2
10 10

y

df  2 x dx

df  2 y dy

x

In other words, how is changing one variable going to change the value of the function?

Mixed variables are also possible:

f  x, y   x cos y  yex
df  cos y  ye x dx
d df d   cos y  ye x  dy dx dy
d2 f   sin y  e x dy dx

f  x, y   x cos y  yex
df   x sin y  e x dy d df d    x sin y  e x  dx dy dx
d2 f   sin y  e x dx dy

f yx   sin y  ex

f xy   sin y  ex

Both answers are the same!

p

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