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Causal Functions

Introduction

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20.1

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The Laplace transformation is a technique employed primarily to solve constant coeﬃcient ordinary diﬀerential equations. It is also used in modelling engineering systems. In this Block we look at those functions to which the Laplace transformation is normally applied; so-called causal or one-sided functions. These are functions f (t) of a single variable t such that f (t) = 0 if t < 0. In particular we consider the simplest causal function: the unit step function (often called the Heaviside function) u(t): u(t) = 1 if t ≥ 0 0 if t < 0

We then use this function to show how signals (functions of time t) may be ‘switched on’ and ‘switched oﬀ’.

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Prerequisites

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**x understand what a function is y be able to integrate simple functions
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Before starting this Block you should . . .

Learning Outcomes

Learning Style

After completing this Block you should be able To achieve what is expected of you . . . to . . . understand what a causal function is be able to apply the step function to ‘switch on’ and ‘switch oﬀ’ signals allocate suﬃcient study time brieﬂy revise the prerequisite material attempt every guided exercise and most of the other exercises

this inequality is satisﬁed if −2 < x < 0 or if x>1 The Laplace transform is a more complicated transformation than the simple geometric transformation considered above. the corresponding expression F (s). Clearly. For example. we often transform problems in algebra to an equivalent problem in geometry in which our natural intuition and experience can be brought to bear. by inspection. We obtain the following ﬁgure.1: The Laplace Transform . for example. y −2 0 1 x We have transformed a problem in algebra into an equivalent geometrical problem. Transforms and Causal Functions Without perhaps realising it. As a simple example if f (t) = e−2t then ∞ F (s) = 0 ∞ e−st e−2t dt e−(s+2)t dt ∞ = 0 e−(s+2)t = −(s + 2) 0 e0 1 = 0− = −(s + 2) s+2 (We remind the reader that e−kt → 0 as t → ∞ if k > 0). by inspection of the curve. ﬁnd for what values of x it is positive. we are used to employing transformations in mathematics.1. for each f (t) of interest. 2 Engineering Mathematics: Open Learning Unit Level 1 20. The procedure is to produce. Thus. if we ask: what are those values of x for which x(x − 1)(x + 2) > 0 then perhaps the simplest way to solve this problem is to sketch the curve y = x(x − 1)(x + 2) and then. Now do this exercise ∞ Find F (s) if f (t) = t using F (s) = 0 ∞ e−st t dt Answer The integral 0 e−st f (t)dt is called the Laplace transform of f (t) and is denoted by L{f (t)}. What is done is to transform a function f (t) of a single variable t into another function F (s) of a single variable s through the relation: ∞ F (s) = 0 e−st f (t)dt.

Because of this.1: The Laplace Transform . For example.u(t) is causal. f (t). when t is negative is of no importance. if f (t) = sin t then sin t. The simplest causal function is the Heaviside or step function denoted by u(t) and deﬁned by: u(t) = with graph u (t) 1 if t ≥ 0 0 if t < 0 1 t Similarly we can consider other ‘step-functions’. the Laplace transform involves an integral with limits t = 0 and ∞.Key Point Laplace Transform L{f (t)} = 0 ∞ e−st f (t)dt = F (s) Causal Functions As we have seen above. the nature of the function being transformed. from the above deﬁnition 1 if t − 3 ≥ 0 0 if t − 3 < 0 1 if t ≥ 3 0 if t < 3 u(t−3) = with graph or. e. 3 Engineering Mathematics: Open Learning Unit Level 1 20. In order to emphasize this we shall only consider so-called causal functions all of which take the value 0 when t < 0. rearranging the inequalities : u(t−3) = u(t − 3 ) 1 3 t The step function has a useful property: multiplying an ordinary function f (t) by the step function u(t) changes it into a causal function.g.

switches on at t = 1 (for then u(t − 1) − u(t − 3) takes the value 1). For example u(t − 1) has the value 1 if t ≥ 1 and 0 otherwise so that sin t. The signal remains ‘on’ as 1 ≤ t ≤ 3 and then switches ‘oﬀ’ when t > 3 (for then u(t − 1) − u(t − 3) = 1 − 1 = 0) Engineering Mathematics: Open Learning Unit Level 1 20. For example f (t) [u(t − 1) − u(t − 3)] which is described by the solid curve below.u(t) t Key Point f (t)u(t) is a causal function The step function can be used to ‘switch on’ functions at other values of t (which we will normally interpret as the time).f (t) t h(t) = f (t)u(t) = sin t.u(t − 1) 1 t The step function can also be used to ‘switch-oﬀ’ signals.u(t − 1) is described by the following (solid) curve: sin t.1: The Laplace Transform 4 .

u(t) shifted to the right by two units as described in the following diagram.u(t) dt dt 5 Engineering Mathematics: Open Learning Unit Level 1 20.f (t)[u(t − 1) − u(t − 3)] 1 3 t However. For example sin(t − 2). Answer 2.1: The Laplace Transform .u(t − 2) is simply the causal sine curve sin t. Properties of Causal Functions Even though a function f (t) may be causal we shall still often use the step function u(t) to emphasize its causality and write f (t) u(t). sin(t − 2).u(t − 2) 2 t Now do this exercise Sketch the curve f (t) = et (u(t − 1) − u(t − 2)). The following properties are easily veriﬁed. if we have an expression f (t − a)u(t − a) then this is the function f (t) translated along the t-axis through a time a.u(t) (iii) The derivative of a causal function is causal: df d {f (t)u(t)} = . (i) The sum of casusal functions is causal: f (t)u(t) + g(t)u(t) = [f (t) + g(t)] u(t) (ii) The product of causal functions is causal: {f (t)u(t)} {g(t)u(t)} = f (t)g(t).

Consider a f (t)u(t)dt where a < b. in the ﬁrst integral t < 0 and so u(t) = 0 whereas. in the second integral t > 0 and so u(t) = 1.b The deﬁnite integral of a causal function needs care. (iii) If a > 0 then b b f (t)u(t)dt = a a f (t)dt since t > 0 and so u(t) = 1.1: The Laplace Transform 6 . Try each part of this exercise df If f (t) = (e−t + t)u(t) then ﬁnd and dt 4 f (t)dt −3 Engineering Mathematics: Open Learning Unit Level 1 20. b > 0 and (iii) a > 0 which are described in the following diagram: (i) a b t (ii) a (iii) t t b a b (i) If b < 0 then t < 0 and so u(t) = 0 ∴ a b f (t)u(t)dt = 0 (ii) If a < 0. b > 0 then b 0 b f (t)u(t)dt = a a f (t)u(t)dt + 0 b f (t)u(t)dt = 0+ 0 b f (t)u(t)dt f (t)dt = 0 since. There are 3 cases to consider (i) b < 0 (ii) a < 0.

2.5 (t + 3) Answer 7 Engineering Mathematics: Open Learning Unit Level 1 20. Find the derivative of (t3 + sin t) u(t).1: The Laplace Transform . Find the area under the curve 1 [u(t − 1) − u(t − 3)] between t = −2 and t = 2. Find the area under the curve (t3 + sin t)u(t) between t = −3 and t = 1. 3.Part (a) Find the derivative ﬁrst Answer 4 Part (b) Now obtain another integral representing −3 f (t)dt Answer Part (c) Now complete the integration Answer More exercises for you to try 1.

When working in DERIVE you will often see the step function written in terms of a related function SIGN(x) in which SIGN(x) = and so STEP(x) = The switch on/switch oﬀ function [u(x − a) − u(x − b)] is called CHI(a. x. b) in DERIVE CHI(a. x.Computer exercise or activity In DERIVE the step function is called STEP(x). x > b a<x<b 1 [SIGN(x) + 1] = 2 1 if x > 0 0 if x < 0 1 if x > 0 −1 if x < 0 Use DERIVE to check your solutions to the exercises. b) = 1 if a < x < b 0 if x < a. Engineering Mathematics: Open Learning Unit Level 1 20.1: The Laplace Transform 8 .

1 9 Engineering Mathematics: Open Learning Unit Level 1 20.1: The Laplace Transform .End of Block 20.

You do this by integrating by parts: ∞ F (s) = 0 e −st t dt = e−st t (−s) ∞ 0 −st ∞ − 0 0 −st ∞ e−st dt (−s) = 0+ = e − 2 s e ∞ 0 s dt 1 s2 = Back to the theory Engineering Mathematics: Open Learning Unit Level 1 20.1: The Laplace Transform 10 .You should obtain F (s) = 1/s2 .

Back to the theory 11 Engineering Mathematics: Open Learning Unit Level 1 20. u(t − 2) = 0 leading to f (t) = 0 Also if 1 < t < 2 then t − 1 > 0 and t − 2 < 0 so u(t − 1) = 1 and u(t − 2) = 0 implying f (t) = et for this range of t−values.1: The Laplace Transform .You should obtain f (t) 1 2 t This is obtained since. if t < 1 then t − 1 < 0 and t − 2 < 0 and so u(t − 1) = 0. u(t − 2) = 1 giving f (t) = et (1 − 1) = 0. Finally if t > 2 then t − 1 > 0 and t − 2 > 0 and so u(t − 1) = 1.

df = (−e−t + 1)u(t) dt Back to the theory Engineering Mathematics: Open Learning Unit Level 1 20.1: The Laplace Transform 12 .

4 You should obtain 0 (e−t + t)dt since 4 4 f (t)dt = −3 −3 4 (e−t + t)u(t)dt (e−t + t)dt = 0 since in the range t = −3 to t = 0 the step function u(t) = 0 and so that part of the integral is zero. In the other part of the integral u(t) = 1. Back to the theory 13 Engineering Mathematics: Open Learning Unit Level 1 20.1: The Laplace Transform .

You should obtain 8.1: The Laplace Transform 14 .9817 −e−t + 4 Back to the theory Engineering Mathematics: Open Learning Unit Level 1 20.9817 (to 4d.) since 4 0 (e−t + t)dt = t2 = (−e−4 + 8) − (−1) 2 0 −4 = −e + 9 ≈ 8.p.

7097 3. 0. (3t2 + cos t)u(t).1: The Laplace Transform .1.3185 Back to the theory 15 Engineering Mathematics: Open Learning Unit Level 1 20. 2. 0.

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UsefulNot usefulCausal/Non Causal Mathematical and makes understanding basic concepts very easy. Very useful for engineering concepts

Causal/Non Causal Mathematical and makes understanding basic concepts very easy. Very useful for engineering concepts

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