Section 1.5 Limits Involving Inﬁnity; Asymptotes
Announcements
Math S1ab Calculus I and II
June 28, 2007
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}_{→}_{∞} f (x) = L
lim
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}_{→}_{∞} f (x) = L
lim
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}_{→}_{∞} f (x ) = L
lim
or
Deﬁnition
Let f be a function deﬁned on some interval (a, ∞). Then
_{x}_{→}_{∞} f (x) = L
lim
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 

y 
_{x}_{→}_{∞} f (x ) = L lim = L is a horizontal line! 
or 
_{x}_{→}_{−}_{∞} f (x) = L. lim 
Theorem
Let n be a positive integer. Then
lim
x→∞
1
_{n} = 0
x
lim
x→−∞
1
_{n} = 0
x
Using the limit laws to compute limits at ∞
Example
Find
if it exists.
A does not exist
B 1 /2
C 0
D ∞
lim
x→∞
2x ^{3} + 3x + 1
4x ^{3} + 5x ^{2} + 7
Using the limit laws to compute limits at ∞
Example
Find
if it exists.
A 
does not exist 
B 
1 /2 
C 
0 
D 
∞ 
lim
x→∞
2x ^{3} + 3x + 1
4x ^{3} + 5x ^{2} + 7
Solution
Factor out the largest power of x from the numerator and denominator. We have
lim
x→∞
2x ^{3} + 3x + 1 7 _{=} x ^{3} (2 + 3 /x ^{2} + 1 /x ^{3} )
4x ^{3} + 5x ^{2} +
x ^{3} (4 + 5 /x + 7 /x ^{3} )
2x ^{3} + 3x + 1
4x ^{3} + 5x ^{2} +
_{7} =
=
lim
x→∞
+ 3 /x ^{2} + 1 /x ^{3} + 5 /x + 7 /x ^{3}
2
4
2
1
+ 0 + 0 ^{=} 2
+ 0 + 0
4
Solution
Factor out the largest power of x from the numerator and denominator. We have
lim
x→∞
2x ^{3} + 3x + 1 7 _{=} x ^{3} (2 + 3 /x ^{2} + 1 /x ^{3} )
4x ^{3} + 5x ^{2} +
x ^{3} (4 + 5 /x + 7 /x ^{3} )
2x ^{3} + 3x + 1
4x ^{3} + 5x ^{2} +
_{7} =
=
lim
x→∞
+ 3 /x ^{2} + 1 /x ^{3} + 5 /x + 7 /x ^{3}
2
4
2
1
+ 0 + 0 ^{=} 2
+ 0 + 0
4
Upshot
When ﬁnding limits of algebraic expressions at inﬁnitely, look at the highest degree terms.
Another Example
Example
Find
lim
x→∞
^{√} 3x ^{4} + 7
x ^{2} + 3
Another Example
Example
Find
Solution
The limit is ^{√} 3.
lim
x→∞
^{√} 3x ^{4} + 7
x ^{2} + 3
Example
Make a conjecture about
lim
x→∞
x ^{2}
2 ^{x} ^{.}
Example
Make a conjecture about
lim
x→∞
x ^{2}
2 ^{x} ^{.}
Solution
The limit is zero. exponential growth is inﬁnitely faster than geometric growth
Inﬁnite Limits
Deﬁnition
The notation
_{x}_{→}_{a} f (x) = ∞
lim
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} f (x) = −∞
lim
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 righthand 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:
_{x}_{→}_{a} f (x) = ∞
lim
lim _{+} f (x) = ∞
x→a
_{x}_{→}_{a} f (x) = −∞
lim
lim _{+} f (x) = −∞
x→a
Inﬁnite Limits we Know
1
= ∞
_{x}
1
_{x}
1
_{x} _{2} = ∞
= −∞
lim
x→0+
lim
x→0 ^{−}
lim
x→0
Finding limits at trouble spots
Example
Let
Find
continuous.
lim _{−} f (t) and
t→a
^{t} ^{2} ^{+} ^{2}
f (t) =
t ^{2} − 3t + 2 lim _{+} f (t) for each a at which f
t→a
is not
Finding limits at trouble spots
Example
Let
Find
continuous.
lim _{−} f (t) and
t→a
f (t) =
^{t} ^{2} ^{+} ^{2}
t ^{2} − 3t + 2
lim _{+} f (t) for each a at which f
t→a
is not
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)
1
− 0
+
2
(t
(t
− 1)
− 2)
+
( t ^{2} + 2)
+
( t ^{2} + 2)
1
2
f (t)
− 
0 
+ 



1 
− 0
+
2
(t − 1)
(t − 2)
+
( t ^{2} + 2)
+
±∞
1
2
f (t)
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
if
if
if
a > 0 a < 0.
a > 0 a < 0.
The product of two inﬁnite limits is inﬁnite.
∞ · ∞ = ∞
∞ · (−∞) = −∞
(−∞) · (−∞) = ∞
The quotient of a ﬁnite limit by an inﬁnite limit is zero:
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.
Limits of the form
1
_{0} are also indeterminate.
Rationalizing to get a limit
Example
Compute
_{x}_{→}_{∞} ^{} 4x ^{2} + 17 − 2x .
lim
Rationalizing to get a limit
Example
Compute
_{x}_{→}_{∞} ^{} 4x ^{2} + 17 − 2x .
lim
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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