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# JUST THE MATHS

UNIT NUMBER
15.9
ORDINARY
DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS 9
(Simultaneous equations (B))
by
A.J.Hobson

15.9.1
15.9.2
15.9.3
15.9.4

Introduction
Matrix methods for homogeneous systems
Exercises

## UNIT 15.9 - ORDINARY DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS 9

SIMULTANEOUS EQUATIONS (B)
15.9.1 INTRODUCTION
For students who have studied the principles of eigenvalues and eigenvectors (see Unit 9.6), a
second method of solving two simultaneous linear differential equations is to interpret them
as a single equation using matrix notation. The discussion will be limited to the simpler
kinds of example, and we shall find it convenient to use t, x1 and x2 rather than x, y and z.
15.9.2 MATRIX METHODS FOR HOMOGENEOUS SYSTEMS
To introduce the technique, we begin by considering two simultaneous differential equations
of the form

dx1
= ax1 + bx2 ,
dt
dx2
= cx1 + dx2 .
dt

which are of the homogeneous type, since no functions of t, other than x1 and x2 , appear
on the right hand sides.
(i) First, we write the differential equations in matrix form as
d x1
a b
x
=
. 1 ,
c d
x2
dt x2


 

## which may be interpreted as

dX
x
a b
= MX where X = 1 , and M =
.
x2
c d
dt


(ii) Secondly, in a similar way to the method appropriate to a single differential equation,
we make a trial solution of the form
X = Ket ,
1

where


K=

k1
k2

## is a constant matrix of order 2 1.

This requires that
Ket = MKet or K = MK,
which we may recognise as the condition that is an eigenvalue of the matrix M, and K is
an eigenvector of M.
The solutions for are obtained from the characteristic equation
|M I| = 0.
In other words,

a

c

b
= 0,
b

leading to a quadratic equation having real and distinct solutions ( = 1 and = 2 ), real
and coincident solutions ( only) or conjugate complex solutions ( = l jm).
(iii) The possibilities for the matrix K are obtained by solving the homogeneous linear equations

(a 1 k1 + bk2 = 0,
ck1 + (d 1 )k2 = 0,

giving k1 : k2 = 1 : (say)
and
2

(a 2 )k1 + bk2 = 0,
ck1 + (d 2 )k2 = 0,

giving k1 : k2 = 1 : (say).
Finally, it may be shown that, according to the types of solution to the auxiliary equation,
the solution of the differential equation will take one of the following three forms, in which
A and B are arbitrary constants:
(a)


1 1 t
1 2 t
e +B
e ;

(b)
A 0
1
(At + B)
+

b 1

 

et ;

or
(c)
elt



A
B
cos mt +
sin mt ,
pA + qB
pB qA


## where, in (c), 1 : = 1 : p + jq and 1 : = 1 : p jq.

EXAMPLES
1. Determine the general solution of the simultaneous differential equations
dx1
= 4x1 + 5x2 ,
dt
dx2
= x1 + 2x2 .
dt
3

Solution
The characteristic equation is

4

1

5
= 0.
2

That is,
2 + 2 3 = 0 or ( 1)( + 3) = 0.
When = 1, we need to solve the homogeneous equations

5k1 + 5k2 = 0,
k1 + k2 = 0,

## both of which give k1 : k2 = 1 : 1.

When = 3, we need to solve the homogeneous equations

k1 + 5k2 = 0,
k1 + 5k2 = 0,

## both of which give k1 : k2 = 1 : 51 .

The general solution is therefore


x1
1 t
1
=A
e + B 1 e3t
x2
1
5

x1
1 t
5 3t
=A
e +B
e ,
x2
1
1

 

or, alternatively,


 

 

## 2. Determine the general solution of the simultaneous differential equations

dx1
= x1 x2 ,
dt
dx2
= x1 + 3x2 .
dt
Solution
The characteristic equation is

1

1

1
= 0.
3

That is,
2 4 + 4 = 0 or ( 2)2 = 0.
When = 2, we need to solve the homogeneous equations

k1 k2 = 0,
k1 + k2 = 0,

## both of which give k1 : k2 = 1 : 1.

The general solution is therefore


x1
1
0
= (At + B)
A
x2
1
1


 

e2t ,

## where A and B are arbitrary constants.

3. Determine the general solution of the simultaneous differential equations
dx1
= x1 5x2 ,
dt
dx2
= 2x1 + 3x2 .
dt

Solution
The characteristic equation is

1

2

5
= 0.
3

That is,
2 4 + 13 = 0,
which gives = 2 j3.
When = 2 + j3, we need to solve the homogeneous equations
(1 j3)k1 5k2 = 0,
2k1 + (1 j3)k2 = 0,
.
both of which give k1 : k2 = 1 : 1j3
5
When = 2 j3, we need to solve the homogeneous equations
(1 + j3)k1 5k2 =
2k1 + (1 + j3)k2 = 0,

0,

## both of which give k1 : k2 = 1 : 1+j3

.
5
The general solution is therefore
e2t
5



A
B
cos 3t +
sin 3t ,
A + 3B
B 3A


## where A and B are arbitrary constants.

Note:
From any set of simultaneous differential equations of the form
dx1
dx2
+b
+ cx1 + dx2 = 0,
dt
dt
dx1
dx2
a0
+ b0
+ b0 x1 + c0 x2 = 0,
dt
dt
a

2
1
and dx
in turn, in order to obtain two equivalent equations
it is possible to eliminate dx
dt
dt
of the form discussed in the above examples.

15.9.3 EXERCISES
1. Determine the general solution of the simultaneous differential equations
dx1
= x1 + 3x2 ,
dt
dx2
= 3x1 + x2 .
dt
2. Solve completely, the simultaneous differential equations
dx1
= 3x1 + 2x2 ,
dt
dx2
= 4x1 + x2 ,
dt
given that x1 = 3 and x2 = 3 when t = 0.
3. Solve completely, the simultaneous differential equations
dx1
= x1 + 9x2 ,
dt
dx2
= 11x1 + x2 ,
dt
given that x1 = 20 and x2 = 20 when t = 0.
4. Solve completely, the simultaneous differential equations
dx1 dx2

+ 2x1 2x2 = 0,
dt
dt
dx1
dx2
+2
7x1 5x2 = 0,
dt
dt
given that x1 = 2 and x2 = 0 when t = 0.
7

## 5. Determine the general solution of the simultaneous differential equations

dx1
= 5x1 + 2x2 ,
dt
dx2
= 2x1 + x2 .
dt
6. Determine the general solution of the simultaneous differential equations
dx1
= 8x1 + x2 ,
dt
dx2
= 5x1 + 6x2 .
dt

1.
1 4t
1
A
e +B
e2t .
1
1
 

2.
1 5t
1
e +2
et .
1
2

 

3.


1
18 10t
e10t +
e .
1
22


4.
1 4t
1
e +
e2t .
1
1

 

5.
A 0
1
(At + B)
+
1
2 1

 

e3t .

6.
7t



A
B
cos 2t +
sin 2t .
A + 2B
B 2A
