Section 1.

5 Limits Involving Infinity; Asymptotes
Math S-1ab Calculus I and II

June 28, 2007

Announcements
We will hold off on §1.1 problems until I hear back from tech support.

Definition
Let f be a function defined on some interval (a, ∞). Then
x→∞

lim f (x) = L

means that the values of f (x) can be made as close to L as we like, by taking x sufficiently large.

Definition
Let f be a function defined on some interval (a, ∞). Then
x→∞

lim f (x) = L

means that the values of f (x) can be made as close to L as we like, by taking x sufficiently large.

Definition
The line y = L is a called a horizontal asymptote of the curve y = f (x) if either
x→∞

lim f (x) = L

or

x→−∞

lim f (x) = L.

Definition
Let f be a function defined on some interval (a, ∞). Then
x→∞

lim f (x) = L

means that the values of f (x) can be made as close to L as we like, by taking x sufficiently large.

Definition
The line y = L is a called a horizontal asymptote of the curve y = f (x) if either
x→∞

lim f (x) = L

or

x→−∞

lim f (x) = L.

y = L is a horizontal line!

Theorem
Let n be a positive integer. Then 1 lim n = 0 x→∞ x 1 lim =0 x→−∞ x n

Using the limit laws to compute limits at ∞

Example
Find 2x 3 + 3x + 1 x→∞ 4x 3 + 5x 2 + 7 lim

if it exists. A does not exist B 1/2 C 0 D ∞

Using the limit laws to compute limits at ∞

Example
Find 2x 3 + 3x + 1 x→∞ 4x 3 + 5x 2 + 7 lim

if it exists. A does not exist B 1/2 C 0 D ∞

Solution
Factor out the largest power of x from the numerator and denominator. We have 2x 3 + 3x + 1 x 3 (2 + 3/x 2 + 1/x 3 ) = 3 4x 3 + 5x 2 + 7 x (4 + 5/x + 7/x 3 ) 2x 3 + 3x + 1 2 + 3/x 2 + 1/x 3 lim = lim x→∞ 4x 3 + 5x 2 + 7 x→∞ 4 + 5/x + 7/x 3 2+0+0 1 = = 4+0+0 2

Solution
Factor out the largest power of x from the numerator and denominator. We have 2x 3 + 3x + 1 x 3 (2 + 3/x 2 + 1/x 3 ) = 3 4x 3 + 5x 2 + 7 x (4 + 5/x + 7/x 3 ) 2x 3 + 3x + 1 2 + 3/x 2 + 1/x 3 lim = lim x→∞ 4x 3 + 5x 2 + 7 x→∞ 4 + 5/x + 7/x 3 2+0+0 1 = = 4+0+0 2

Upshot
When finding limits of algebraic expressions at infinitely, look at the highest degree terms.

Another Example

Example
Find
x→∞

√ lim

3x 4 + 7 x2 + 3

Another Example

Example
Find
x→∞

√ lim

3x 4 + 7 x2 + 3

Solution
The limit is

3.

Example
Make a conjecture about lim x2 . x→∞ 2x

Example
Make a conjecture about lim x2 . x→∞ 2x

Solution
The limit is zero. exponential growth is infinitely faster than geometric growth

Infinite Limits
Definition
The notation
x→a

lim f (x) = ∞

means that the values of f (x) can be made arbitrarily large (as large as we please) by taking x sufficiently close to a but not equal to a.

Definition
The notation
x→a

lim f (x) = −∞

means that the values of f (x) can be made arbitrarily large negative (as large as we please) by taking x sufficiently close to a but not equal to a. Of course we have definitions for left- and right-hand infinite limits.

Vertical Asymptotes

Definition
The line x = a is called a vertical asymptote of the curve y = f (x) if at least one of the following is true: lim f (x) = ∞ lim f (x) = −∞
x→a x→a x→a+

lim f (x) = ∞ lim f (x) = ∞

x→a+

lim f (x) = −∞ lim f (x) = −∞

x→a−

x→a−

Infinite Limits we Know

1 =∞ x→0+ x 1 lim = −∞ x→0− x 1 lim 2 = ∞ x→0 x lim

Finding limits at trouble spots

Example
Let f (t) =
t→a− t→a

t2 + 2 t 2 − 3t + 2

Find lim f (t) and lim+ f (t) for each a at which f is not continuous.

Finding limits at trouble spots

Example
Let f (t) =
t→a− t→a

t2 + 2 t 2 − 3t + 2

Find lim f (t) and lim+ f (t) for each a at which f is not continuous.

Solution
The denominator factors as (t − 1)(t − 2). We can record the signs of the factors on the number line.

0 1

+ (t − 1)

− −

0 1 0 2

+ (t − 1) + (t − 2)

− −

0 1 0 2 +

+ (t − 1) + (t − 2) (t 2 + 2)

− −

0 1 0 2 +

+ (t − 1) + (t − 2) (t 2 + 2) 2 f (t)

1

− −

0 1 0 2 +

+ (t − 1) + (t − 2) (t 2 + 2) 2 f (t)

+ 1

− −

0 1 0 2 +

+ (t − 1) + (t − 2) (t 2 + 2) 2 f (t)

+

±∞ 1

− −

0 1 0 2 +

+ (t − 1) + (t − 2) (t 2 + 2) 2 f (t)

+

±∞ − 1

− −

0 1 0 2 +

+ (t − 1) + (t − 2) (t 2 + 2) ∞ 2 f (t)

+

±∞ − 1

− −

0 1 0 2 +

+ (t − 1) + (t − 2) (t 2 + 2) ∞ 2 + f (t)

+

±∞ − 1

Limit Laws with infinite limits

The sum of positive infinite limits is ∞. That is ∞+∞=∞ The sum of negative infinite limits is −∞. −∞ − ∞ = −∞ The sum of a finite limit and an infinite limit is infinite. a+∞=∞ a − ∞ = −∞

Rules of Thumb with infinite limits

The sum of positive infinite limits is ∞. That is ∞+∞=∞ The sum of negative infinite limits is −∞. −∞ − ∞ = −∞ The sum of a finite limit and an infinite limit is infinite. a+∞=∞ a − ∞ = −∞

Rules of Thumb with infinite limits
The product of a finite limit and an infinite limit is infinite if the finite limit is not 0. a·∞= a · (−∞) = ∞ if a > 0 −∞ if a < 0. −∞ if a > 0 ∞ if a < 0.

The product of two infinite limits is infinite. ∞·∞=∞ ∞ · (−∞) = −∞ (−∞) · (−∞) = ∞ The quotient of a finite limit by an infinite limit is zero: a = 0. ∞

Indeterminate Limits

Limits of the form 0 · ∞ and ∞ − ∞ are indeterminate. There is no rule for evaluating such a form; the limit must be examined more closely.

Indeterminate Limits

Limits of the form 0 · ∞ and ∞ − ∞ are indeterminate. There is no rule for evaluating such a form; the limit must be examined more closely. 1 Limits of the form are also indeterminate. 0

Rationalizing to get a limit

Example
Compute lim
x→∞

4x 2 + 17 − 2x .

Rationalizing to get a limit

Example
Compute lim
x→∞

4x 2 + 17 − 2x .

Solution
This limit is of the form ∞ − ∞, which we cannot use. So we rationalize the numerator (the denominator is 1) to get an expression that we can use the limit laws on.

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