Ap Calculus BC Parametric Equation

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Ap Calculus BC Parametric Equation

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Parametric equations are sets of equations of multiple variables (2 for now), where each

variable is given as a function of another independent variable (usually t for time). We call t the

parameter. Example: x (t) = 2t. y (t) = t2.

As t varies over its interval I (ts domain, if you will), the graph of points (x, y) unfolds

on the plane. We call this curve the plane curve (C).

Example 1: Consider the path followed by an object propelled into the air at an angle of 45. If

the initial velocity of the object is 48 feet per second, the object travels the parabolic path given

by

y = -x2/72 + x.

This equation tells us where the object goes as a function of its horizontal trajectory.

What if we want to know when the object reached a certain point?

We can rewrite the function as parametric equations (showing this soon):

x (t) = 242 t. y (t) = -16t2 + 242 t. Then at t = 0, we are at (0, 0). At t = 1, we are at (242,

242 16).

Sketching a Parametric Equation

Example: x = 2t and y = t2.

t

0

1

2

3

-1

-2

-3

x (t)

0

2

4

6

-2

-4

-6

y (t)

0

1

4

9

1

4

9

Draw the points (x, y) on the board. Notice that the graph is a parabola with vertex (0, 0).

t

x (t)

0

-4

1

-3

2

0

3

5

-1

-3

-2

0

-3

5

Draw the points (x, y). Notice this is a sideways parabola.

y (t)

0

1/2

1

3/2

-1/2

-1

-3/2

Insert a few other problems for students to complete: a) x = sin t and y = cos t. (Unit Circle),

b ) x = 2t and y = 2t, and c) x = t and y = 6(1 + t) -1.

2) Substitute for t in the other equation (solve for y if possible).

y = t/2 2y = t.

x = t2 4 x = (2y)2 4 x = 4y2 4.

Example: x = 1/[(t + 1)] and y = t/(t + 1). t > -1 (Be careful of the condition.)

y = t/(t + 1) (1/y) = (t + 1)/t = 1 + 1/t.

(1/y) 1 = 1/t t = 1/[(1/y) 1] t = y/(1 y).

x = 1/[(t + 1)] x = {[1 + y/(1 y)]} -1 = {[(1 y + y)/(1 y)]} -1 = {1/(1 y)} -1 =

(1 y).

x = (1 y) x2 = 1 y y = 1 x2.

BUT, t > -1 means what?

Note: This is an ellipse. An ellipse is of the form (x2/a2) + (y2/b2) = 1 from precalculus.

cos2 = (x/3)2 = x2/9.

Note: An ellipse of the form (x2/a2) + (y2/b2) = 1 has a parametric equation of the forms:

x = a cos and y = b sin OR x = a sin and y = b cos .

Example: Find a set of parametric equations to represent the graph of y = 1 x2 if: a) t = x and

b) t = m = dy/dx.

a) x = t y = 1 t2.

y = 1 x2 y = 1 (-t/2)2 y = 1 t2/4.

Why is there more than one parametric equation for this graph?

There are actually an infinite number of parametric equations for a given function of

(x, y) because of two factors: 1) direction and 2) speed. We might be tracing the same shape, but

we can do so from various starting spots and at different speeds.

Building example 1 from the start of class: Consider the path followed by an object propelled

into the air at an angle of 45. If the initial velocity of the object is 48 feet per second, the object

travels the parabolic path given by y = -x2/72 + x.

Two factors: 1) initial velocity is 48 feet/second and 2) g (t) = -32 feet/second2.

We start by drawing a triangle to represent the starting spot where the hypotenuse (h*) = 48

ft/sec, x* is the horizontal vector, y* is the vertical vector, and = 45.

sin 45 = y*/h*.

cos 45 = x*/h*.

y* = h* sin 45

x* = h* cos 45

y* = 48 (2/2) = 242

x* = 48 (2/2) = 242

x (t) = 0 ft/sec2.

x (t) = C = x*.

x (t) = 242.

x (t) = 242 t + C.

x (t) = 242 t.

x (t) = 242 t t = x/(242). Plug into y (t).

y (x) = -16[x/(242)]2 + 242 [x/(242)] = -16[x2/1152] + x y = -x2/72 + x.

The rules for the first and second derivatives of a parametric equation are simply

extensions of the alternate definition of the chain rule.

If x and y are both differentiable functions of t and if dx/dt 0, then

dy dy /dt

=

dx dx/dt

If dy/dx is also a differentiable function of t, then

d /dt ( dy /dx )

d 2 y d dy

=

=

2

dx /dt

d x dx dx

( )

dy dy /dt 3 sin t 3

=

=

=

tan t

dx dx/dt 2 cos t

2

2

d dy d / dt ( dy /dx ) 3/2 ( sec x ) 3 ( 3 )

=

=

=

sec x

dx dx

dx /dt

2 cos t

4

( )

Example: Find the coordinates of any points along the parametric curve x = 4 cos t and y = -sin t

that have vertical or horizontal tangent lines.

dy cos t

=

dx 4 sint

Vertical tangent lines occur when sin t = 0 at t = 0, , 2,

Horizontal tangent lines occur when cos t = 0 at t = /2, 3/2,

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