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Problem 275

by Benjamin Bloch, PhD

275

Calculating the Slope of a Product of Two Functions
An important tool for differential calculus requires taking the derivative of a product of two functions, f(x) and g(x). In other words if y = f(x)g(x) how do we calculate y’(x) = dy/dx? The procedure is, simply, the first function times the derivative of the second function plus the second function times the derivative of the first function. Think of this as 1D2 + 2D1. Thus, y’(x) = f(x)g’(x) + g(x) f’(x). Example: Suppose y = 2x(3x + 1). Here f(x) = 2x and g(x) = (3x + 1) so that f’(x) = 2 and g’(x) = 3. Applying the procedure, y’(x) = 6x +2(3x + 1) = 12x + 2. We can check our result in this example by simply writing y = 6x2 + 2x and then using DD1, we immediately get y’ = 12x + 2. Calculate the slope (derivative) of the following recalling the procedure of Problem 273: 1. y = (5x - 6)(-3x + 4) 2. y = (4x2 - 1)/x3 [Hint: 1/x = x-1] 3. y = 1/(2x - 3)(x) 4. y1/2 = (x2 + 7)