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, Where , Where , Where , Where is a real number. is a real number. is measured in radians.

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think "approaching" It is a mathematical way of saying "we are not talking about when x=∞.. but you can use a limit. the answer gets closer and closer to 0". sometimes Infinity cannot be used directly. .8) nd write it like this: In other words: As x approaches infinity... Summary So. but we know as x gets bigger.. What happens at ∞ is undefined . then 1/x approaches 0 When you see "limit". but we do know that 1/x approaches 0as x approaches infinity 1/∞ .

but in "limit" language the limit is infinity (which is really saying the function is limitless).. so does "2x": x 1 2 4 10 100 . So as "x" approaches infinity.Limits Approaching Infinity What is the limit of this function? y = 2x Obviously as "x" gets larger. y=2x 2 4 8 20 200 . We write this: But don't be fooled by the "=". then "2x" also approaches infinity.. . You cannot actually get to infinity...

In fact. This is also true for 1/x2 etc A function such as x will approach infinity.Infinity and Degree We have seen two examples. so you have to look at the signs of x. Likewise functions with x2 or x3 etc will also approach infinity But be careful. In fact many infinite limits are actually quite easy to work out. the other went to infinity. or x/9 and so on. if you can figure out "which way it is going". a function like "-x" will approach "infinity". one went to 0. as well as 2x. like this Functions like 1/x approach 0 as x approaches infinity. if we look at the Degree of the function (the highest exponent in the function) we can tell what is going to happen: If the Degree of the function is: • greater than 0. the limit is infinity (or -infinity) .

and Q(x)=6x2: Following on from our idea of the Degree of the Equation. the first step to find the limit is to .... the limit is 0. . Compare the Degree of P(x) to the Degree of Q(x): If the Degree of P is less than the Degree of Q . divide the coefficients of the terms with the largest exponent. the limit is 0 But if the Degree is 0 or unknown then we need to work a bit harder to find a limit Rational Functions A Rational Function is one that is the ratio of two polynomials: For example. If the Degree of P and Q are the same . like this: .• less than 0.. .. here P(x)=x3+2x-1......

or maybe negative infinity... • x3 (the term with the largest exponent in the top) and 6x2 (the term with the largest exponent in the bottom) • ..If the Degree of P is greater than the Degree of Q . . But this will head for negative infinity. then the limit is positive infinity . because both . .... are positive.... because -2/5 is negative.. just like how we found the coefficients above: For example this will go to positive infinity. You need to look at the signs! You can work out the sign (positive or negative) by looking at the signs of the terms with the largest exponent... .

48832 2.71815 2.71692 2..70481 2.000 100.25000 2.59374 2..71827 It settles down to a value (2.71828. which is the magic number e) So again we have an odd situation: . let's try larger and larger values of n: n 1 2 5 10 100 1. we don't know! So instead of trying to work it out for infinity (because we can't get a sensible answer).A Harder Example: Working Out "e" There is a formula for the value of e (Euler's number) based on infinity and this formula: (1+ 1/n)n At Infinity: (1+1/∞)∞ = ??? ..00000 2.000 10.000 (1 + 1/n)n 2..

..71828... ! You can see by the graph and the table that as n get larger the function approaches 2. But trying to use infinity as a "very large real number" (it isn't!) would give this: (1+1/∞)∞ = (1+0)∞ = (1)∞ = 1 So. but we know as n gets bigger. So. the answer gets closer and closer to the value of e". Don't Do It The Wrong Way .• • We don't know what the value is when n=infinity But we can see that it settles towards 2.71828.. you will get wrong answers! Limits are the right way to go. we use limits to write the answer like this: It is a mathematical way of saying "we are not talking about when n=∞. Evaluating Limits I have taken a gentle approach to limits so far. and shown tables and graphs to illustrate the points.. don't try to use Infinity as a real number.. .

I will show you how in Evaluating Limits. Limits (Evaluating) You should read Limits (An Introduction) first Quick Summary of Limits Sometimes you can't work something out directly . but you can see what it should be as you get closer and closer! For example: At x=1: (x2-1)/(x-1) (12-1)/(1-1) = (1-1)/(1-1) = 0/0 But 0/0 is "indeterminate".50000 1.99999 ..9999 0.99000 1. But instead of trying to work it out for x=1 let's try approaching it closer and closer: x 0. meaning we can't determine its value.90000 1.99 0.But to "evaluate" (in other words calculate) the value of a limit can take a bit more effort.... ..99999 .99990 1.9 0.. (x2-1)/(x-1) 1.999 0.5 0.99900 1.

so instead mathematicians say exactly what is going on by using the special word "limit" The limit of (x2-1)/(x-1) as x approaches 1 is 2 And it is written in symbols as: So it is a special way of saying. in truth. "ignoring what happens when you get there. the limit is 2. Evaluating Limits "Evaluating" means to find the value of (think e-"value"-ating) . But you can say that as you approach 1. you cannot say what the value at x=1 is. then (x2-1)/(x-1) gets close to 2 We are now faced with an interesting situation: • • When x=1 we don't know the answer (it is indeterminate) But we can see that it is going to be 2 We want to give the answer "2" but can't.Now we can see that as x gets close to 1. but as you get closer and closer the answer gets closer and closer to 2" As a graph it looks like this: So.

but the second example gave us a quick and easy answer. Factors You can try factoring. Just Put The Value In The first thing to try is just putting the value of the limit in. 2. Example: By factoring (x2-1) into (x-1)(x+1) we get: .In the example above we said the limit was 2 because it looked like it was going to be. Let's look at some: 1. But that is not really good enough! In fact there are many ways to get an accurate answer. Let's try some examples: Example Substitute Value Works? (1-1)/(1-1) = 0/0 10/2 = 5 It didn't work with the first one (we knew that!). and see if it works (in other wordssubstitution).

Conjugate If it's a fraction. then multiplying top and bottom by a conjugate might help. The conjugate is where you change the sign in the middle of 2 terms like this: Here is an example where it will help you to find a limit: Evaluating this at x=4 gives 0/0. which is not a good answer! So.Now we can just substitiute x=1 to get the limit: 3. let's try some rearranging: Multiply top and bottom by the conjugate of the top: .

. now we have: Done! 4. Infinite Limits and Rational Functions A Rational Function is one that is the ratio of two polynomials: For example. Infinity. or easily calculated from the coefficients. here P(x)=x3+2x-1.Simplify top using : Simplify top further: Eliminate (4-x) from top and bottom: So. and Q(x)=6x2: By finding the overall Degree of the Function we can find out whether the function's limit is 0. -Infinity. Read more at Limits To Infinity.

. Formal Method The formal method sets about proving that you can get as close as you want to the answer by making "x" close to "a".5.

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