MTH 252 Final Lab Bonus 3

Justin Drawbert August 10, 2010
In our Final Lab Bonus Project 3, we are asked to consider the triangle formed by the x-axis, 1 y-axis, and the tangent line to the curve y = 2x at x = a.
A 1/(2x) a

We are then asked to find an expression for the area, A, of the triangle in terms of a and to determine what happens as a → ∞. We start by finding the derivative to our original function. y= 1 , 2x y′ = − 1 2x2

We then use the following form to find the equation for the line tangent to our curve at point a. y − f (a) = f ′ (a)(x − a) By this we get our equation for our line 1 1 = − 2 (x − a) 2a 2a 1 1 1 = − 2x + y− 2a 2a 2a 1 1 y=− 2 + 2a a y− 1

So we now have our equation for our line. We can see that the triangle formed by the tangent line is a right triangle so we know the equation for the area is simply 1 b·h 2 Where b is the base, or in this case our x-intercept minus 0 and h is the height, or our y-intercept minus 0. We solve for our x-intercept by setting the equation of the line equal to 0 and then solving for x. 0=− 1 1 x+ 2a2 a

1 1 x= 2a2 a 1 x = · 2a2 a x = 2a We then find our y-intercept by letting x = 0 y=− So the formula for the the area A, is 1 1 1 (0) + = 2a2 a a

1 1 · 2a · = 1 2 a This is interesting, or perhaps not at all. What this says is that no matter what, for any number 1 a, the area of the triangle formed by the line tangent to y = 2x , at the point x = a, will always be 1. There’s no need to even evaluate a limit here. Because before you could, the a’s would cancel, and you’d be left evaluating the limit of a constant, which in our case happens to be 1. And the limit as any variable approaches anything of the constant 1 is 1.


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