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# Limits (Functions of Two Variables

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One of the main differences between limits of functions of one variable and limits of functions of two variables is that limits of functions of one variable are considered in an interval on the number line, whereas limits of functions of two variables are considered in an open disc in the xy-plane. That is, with a function of one variable, |‫ ݔ‬− ‫ݔ‬଴ | < ߜ means that within an interval, the distance of x to ‫ݔ‬଴ is always ሺ‫ݔ‬଴ , ‫ݕ‬଴ ሻ lies within an open circle whose radius is δ. less than δ. With a function of two variables, 0 < ඥሺ‫ ݔ‬− ‫ݔ‬଴ ሻଶ + ሺ‫ ݕ‬− ‫ݕ‬଴ ሻଶ < ߜ means that the point

Another main difference is that to find the limit of a function of one variable, we only needed to test the approach from the left and the approach from the right. If both approaches were the same, the function had a limit. To find the limit of a function of two variables however, we must show that the limit is the same no matter from which direction we approach ሺ‫ݔ‬଴ , ‫ݕ‬଴ ሻ. IMPORTANT! If we approach ሺ‫ݔ‬଴ , ‫ݕ‬଴ ሻ from two different directions and get two different results, then result, then it doesn’t necessarily mean ݂ሺ‫ݔ‬, ‫ݕ‬ሻ has that limit. We have to get the same limit no matter of the limit of a function of two variables in order to ensure that we have the correct limit. ݂ሺ‫ݔ‬, ‫ݕ‬ሻ does not have a limit. If we approach ሺ‫ݔ‬଴ , ‫ݕ‬଴ ሻ from two different directions and get the same

from which direction we approach ሺ‫ݔ‬଴ , ‫ݕ‬଴ ሻ. To do this, we would sometimes have to use the definition

exists a ߜ > 0 such that |݂ሺ‫ݔ‬, ‫ݕ‬ሻ − ‫ ߝ < |ܮ‬whenever 0 < ඥሺ‫ ݔ‬− ‫ݔ‬଴ ሻଶ + ሺ‫ ݕ‬− ‫ݕ‬଴ ሻଶ < ߜ .

Definition: The function ݂ሺ‫ݔ‬, ‫ݕ‬ሻ has the limit L as ሺ‫ݔ‬, ‫ݕ‬ሻ → ሺ‫ݔ‬଴ , ‫ݕ‬଴ ሻ provided that for every ߝ > 0, there

Example: Find the limit. 5‫ ݔ‬ଶ ‫ݕ‬ ሺ௫,௬ሻ→ሺଵ,ଶሻ ‫ ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ ݕ‬ଶ lim Notice that the point (1, 2) does not cause division by zero or other domain issues. So, 5‫ ݔ‬ଶ ‫ݕ‬ 5ሺ1ሻଶ ሺ2ሻ 10 = = =2 ଶ ଶ ሺ௫,௬ሻ→ሺଵ,ଶሻ ‫ ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ ݕ‬ଶ ሺ1ሻ + ሺ2ሻ 5 lim

Department of Mathematics, Sinclair Community College, Dayton, OH

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the limit does not exist.଴ሻ ‫ ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ ݕ‬ଶ lim Let x = 0: ௫ మ ା௬మ ௫మ = ଴ ଴ା௬ మ =0 → Now let y = 0: ௫మ ௫ మ ା଴ = ௫మ ௫మ =1 Since we got two different results. ‫ݕݔ‬ ሺ௫.଴ሻ ‫ ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ ݕ‬ଶ lim ௫௬ ௠௫ మ ௠ Let ሺ‫ݔ‬. ‫ݔ‬ଶ ሺ௫. the limit does not exist. Therefore. This shows that the limit depends on the choice of m.0ሻ along the line ‫ ݔ݉ = ݕ‬. Example: Find the limit. OH 2 . we usually employ certain key or basic inequalities such as: |‫ < |ݔ‬ඥ‫ ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ ݕ‬ଶ ‫ݔ‬ <1 ‫ݔ‬+1 |‫ < |ݕ‬ඥ‫ ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ ݕ‬ଶ ‫ݔ‬ଶ <1 ‫ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ݕ‬ଶ |‫ ݔ‬− ܽ| = ඥሺ‫ ݔ‬− ܽሻଶ ≤ ඥሺ‫ ݔ‬− ܽሻଶ + ሺ‫ ݕ‬− ܽሻଶ Department of Mathematics. Then ௫ మ ା௬మ = ௫ మ ା௠మ ௫మ = ଵା௠మ.Example: Find the limit.଴ሻ ‫ ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ ݕ‬ଶ Let x = 0: ିଶ௬మ ௬మ = −2 → Now let y = 0: ௫మ ௫మ =1 Again.௬ሻ→ሺ଴. When we use the definition of a limit to show that a particular limit exists.௬ሻ→ሺ଴. ‫ݕ‬ሻ → ሺ0. the limit does not exist. Sinclair Community College. Example: Find the limit. ‫ ݔ‬ଶ − 2‫ ݕ‬ଶ lim ሺ௫.௬ሻ→ሺ଴. Dayton.

Department of Mathematics. Along the x-axis: Along the line ‫ ݔ = ݕ‬: ‫ ݔ‬ଶ − 0ଶ lim ቆ ଶ ቇ = lim 1ଶ = 1 ሺ௫.଴ሻ ‫ ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ ݕ‬ଶ ଶ The domain of the function contains all the points on the xy-plane except for (0.଴ሻ ‫ ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ ݕ‬ଶ lim Let x = 0: ௫మ௬ ௫ మ ା௬మ =0 → Let y = 0: ௫మ௬ ௫ మ ା௬ మ =0 We suspect that the limit might be zero. the limit does not exist. the x-axis and ‫ݔ = ݕ‬. the definition shows the limit does equal zero. if ߜ = ߝ .଴ሻ ‫ ݔ‬+ 0ଶ ሺ௫. Let’s try the definition with L = 0. So we then have ௫మ ௫మ ‫ݔ‬ଶ |‫ |ݕ‬ቤ ଶ ቤ < |‫ = |ݕ‬ඥ‫ ݕ‬ଶ < ඥ‫ ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ ݕ‬ଶ = ඥሺ‫ ݔ‬− 0ሻଶ + ሺ‫ ݕ‬− 0ሻଶ < ߜ ‫ ݔ‬+ ‫ݕ‬ଶ Therefore.௬ሻ→ሺ଴. ‫ݔ‬ଶ‫ݕ‬ ሺ௫.௬ሻ→ሺ଴. ‫ݕ‬ሻ − ‫ߝ < |ܮ‬ whenever 0 < ඥሺ‫ ݔ‬− ‫ݔ‬଴ ሻଶ + ሺ‫ ݕ‬− ‫ݕ‬଴ ሻଶ < ߜ ‫ݔ‬ଶ‫ݕ‬ ‫ݔ‬ଶ |݂ሺ‫ݔ‬.଴ሻ ‫ ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ ݔ‬ଶ ሺ௫. Sinclair Community College. |݂ሺ‫ݔ‬.଴ሻ→ሺ଴.Example: Find the limit.௫ሻ→ሺ଴. since we got different results. since ቚ௫మ ା௬మ ቚ < 1. Example: Show that the following limit does not exist. OH 3 . 0) on two different paths. ‫ݕ‬ሻ − 0| = ቤ ଶ |‫|ݕ‬ ቤ = ቤ ቤ ‫ ݔ‬+ ‫ݕ‬ଶ ‫ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ݕ‬ଶ Now.௫ሻ→ሺ଴.଴ሻ→ሺ଴. 0).଴ሻ 2‫ ݔ‬ଶ Therefore. we will approach (0. To show that the limit does not exist. then |‫ |ݕ‬ቚ௫మ ା௬మ ቚ < |‫|ݕ‬. Dayton.଴ሻ ଶ ଶ ‫ݔ‬ଶ − ‫ݔ‬ଶ 0 ଶ lim ቆ lim ൬ ൰ =0 ቇ = ሺ௫. ‫ݔ‬ଶ − ‫ݕ‬ଶ lim ቆ ቇ ሺ௫.

௬ሻ→ሺ଴. 2.Exercises: Determine whether the following limits exist. 3‫ ݔ‬ଶ ‫ݕ‬ ሺ௫.௬ሻ→ሺ଴.௬ሻ→ሺ଴. 3.଴ሻ ‫ ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ ݕ‬ଶ ‫ݕݔ‬ + ‫ݕ‬ଶ 3. Answers: 1. ሺ௫.௬ሻ→ሺ଴.௬ሻ→ሺ଴. lim lim 2. ‫ݔ‬ଶ‫ݕ‬ଷ + ‫ݔ‬ଷ‫ݕ‬ଶ − 5 lim ሺ௫.௬ሻ→ሺ଴.଴ሻ 2 − ‫ݕݔ‬ ሺ௫. 6. 7. 4. No Yes −5 2 ߨ No No No Department of Mathematics. lim 5. 5. Dayton. ‫ݔ‬−‫ݕ‬ ሺ௫. OH 4 .గሻ 4. 2‫ ݔ‬ଶ − ‫ ݕ‬ଶ ሺ௫.଴ሻ ‫ ݔ‬ଶ 1.௬ሻ→ሺగ.଴ሻ ‫ ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ ݕ‬ଶ lim lim lim ‫ݔ‬+‫ݕ‬ ൰൨ ൤‫ ݔ‬sin ൬ 4 6.଴ሻ ‫ ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ ݕ‬ଶ 7. Sinclair Community College.଴ሻ ‫ ݔ‬ଶ + ‫ ݕ‬ଶ ‫ ݕݔ‬− ‫ ݕ‬ଶ ሺ௫.