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Series Expansions

A series is the indicated sum of a succession of constant or variable terms each of which is formed
according to a definite rule or law. Examples of series are;
(1) 1 + 8 + 27 + 64 + 125
x2 x4 x6
( 2) 1 − + − +
2! 4! 6!

If the number of terms is limited as in (1) the series is said to be finite. If the number of terms is unlimited
as in (2), the series is called an infinite series. An infinite series is denoted by the expression
n
u1 + u2 + u3 + u4 +  + un +  = ∑ un
n=1
Where each u is formed according to some fixed law. If each term is a number, the infinite series is said to
be a series of constant terms, but if each term is a function of one or more variables, the series is a series
of variable terms.

Series of Variable Terms

Power Series

A series of the form


c0 + c1 x + c2 x 2 + + cn−1 x n−1 +
Where x is a variable and the coefficients c0 , c1 , c2 ,  , cn−1  are constants is called a power series in
x.

A power series in x may converge for all values of x , or for no value except x = 0 ; or it may converge
for some values of x and diverge for other values. The totality of values of x for which a power series
converges is called the interval of convergence of the series. This interval of convergence can be
determined by the ratio test, although in cases where the series does not converge for all values of x , the
end point of the interval must be examined separately using other convergence tests.

Example
Find the interval of convergence of the series
x2 x3 xn
x+ + + + +
2 3 n
Solution
By the ratio test, we have

x n +1
u n +1 n +1 = n 1
lim =lim lim x⋅ =lim x⋅ =x
n→∞ un n→∞ xn n +1 1
n n→∞ 1+
n→∞
n

The series converges when x <1 , that is, −1 < x < 1 . The series diverges when x >1 . When
x = 1 or x = −1 , the test fails. These end points of the interval of convergence must be tested by other
means.
When x = 1 , the series becomes
1 1 1
1+ + + + +
2 3 n
Each of whose terms after the first is greater than the corresponding term of the harmonic series.
Therefore, the series diverges when x = 1 .

When x = −1 , the series becomes


1 1 ( −1) n
−1 + − + + +
2 3 n
which is an alternating series in which the terms decrease in numerical value and the nth term approaches
0 as n → ∞ . Hence the series is convergent.
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Thus the interval of convergence is: −1 ≤ x < 1.

Maclaurin’s Series

A convergent power series in x represents a continuous function of x within its interval of


convergence. Given a particular function f ( x) if the constants c0 , c1 , c2 , , cn−1  can be found such
that
c0 + c1 x + c2 x 2 + + cn−1 x n−1 +
Then the function f ( x) is said to be expanded or developed in a power series in x .The expansion is
valid if it represents correctly the function f ( x) for all values of x for which the series converges.

Let us now consider a function f ( x) which has derivatives of all orders for x = 0 and which can be
represented within an interval of convergence including x = 0 by a series of the form
f ( x ) = c0 + c1 x + c2 x 2 + c3 x 3  + cn−1 x n−1 + (1)
Setting x = 0 , we get
f (0) = c0
Differentiating (1) successively with respect to x , we have
f ' ( x) = c1 + 2c2 x + 3c3 x 2  + ( n −1)cn−1 x n−2 +
f ' ' ( x ) = 2c2 + 2 ⋅ 3c3 x + + ( n − 2)( n −1)cn−1 x n−3 +
f ' ' ' ( x) = 2 ⋅ 3c3 + + ( n − 3)( n − 2)( n −1)cn−1 x n−4 +
……………………………………………………….
( n −1)
f ( x) = 1⋅ 2 ( n − 3)( n − 2)( n −1)cn−1 +
Letting x = 0 in each of these equations, we find that

f ' (0) = c1 c1 = f ' (0)


f ' ' ( 0) f ' ' (0)
f ' ' (0) = 2c2 c2 = =
1⋅ 2 2!
f ' ' ' ( 0) f ' ' ' ( 0)
f ' ' ' (0) = 2 ⋅ 3c3 c3 = =
1⋅ 2 ⋅ 3 3!
( n −1) f ( 0)
n −1

f (0) = 1 ⋅ 2 ( n − 3)( n − 2)( n −1)cn−1 = (n −1)! cn−1 cn−1 =


(n −1)!

Substituting the values of the c’s in (1), we obtain


f ' ' ( 0) 2 f ' ' ' ( 0) 3 f n−1 (0) n−1
f ( x ) = f (0) + f ' (0) x + x + x + + x + (2)
2! 3! (n −1)!

This series is called Maclaurin’s series, after the Scottish mathematician Colin Maclaurin. It is the power
series expansion of f ( x) about x (0) . In order that a function can be represented by a Maclaurin series
the functions and its derivatives must exist at x = 0 . Functions such as ln x, x, and cot x have no
Maclaurin’s series.

Example
Expand e x in a Maclaurin’s series and determine its interval of convergence

Solution
f ( x) = e x f (0) =1
f ' ( x) = e x
f ' (0) =1
f ' ' ( x) = e x f ' ' (0) =1
f ' ' ' ( x) = e x f ' ' ' ( 0) = 1
………….. ………….
( n−1) ( n −1)
f ( x) = e x
f (0) =1

Substituting these values in (2), we get


x 2 x3 x n−1
e x =1 + x + + + + +
2! 3! ( n −1)!
To determine the interval of convergence, we note that
xn
u n+1 1
lim un
=lim n!
x n −1
= lim x ⋅ =0
n→
∞ n→

n
( n −1)! n→

The series is convergent for all values of x.


This series can now be used to calculate powers of e , specially those where the exponent is a number
near zero. For example, to find e = e1 / 2 , we substitute ½ for x in the series, thus
1 (1 / 2) 2 (1 / 2) 3 (1 / 2) 4 (1 / 2) 5
e = e1 / 2 = 1 + + + + + +
2 2! 3! 4! 5!
e = e1 / 2 =1 + 0.5 + 0.125 + 0.02083 + 0.00260 + 0.00026
e = e1 / 2 = 1.6487

Taylor’s Series
Suppose a function f ( x) having derivatives of all orders at x = a can be represented within a certain
level of convergence by a power series of the form
f ( x) = c0 + c1 ( x − a ) + c2 ( x − a ) 2 + c3 ( x − a )3  + cn−1 ( x − a ) n−1 + (1)
Where the c’s are the constants to be determined.

Setting x = a in (1) with respect to x , we get


f ' ( x ) = c1 + 2c2 ( x − a ) + 3c3 ( x − a ) 2  + (n −1)cn−1 ( x − a ) n−2 +
f ' ' ( x) = 2c2 + 2 ⋅ 3c3 ( x − a ) + + (n − 2)( n −1)cn−1 ( x − a ) n−3 +
f ' ' ' ( x ) = 2 ⋅ 3c3 + + (n − 3)( n − 2)( n −1)cn−1 ( x − a) n−4 +
……………………………………………………….
f ( n−1) ( x) = 1 ⋅ 2 ( n − 3)( n − 2)( n −1)cn−1 +

Letting x = a in each of these equations, we have


f ' ( a ) = c1 c1 = f ' (a )
f ' ' (a) f ' ' (a)
f ' ' ( a ) = 2c2 c2 = =
1⋅ 2 2!
f ' ' ' (a ) f ' ' ' (a )
f ' ' ' (a ) = 2 ⋅ 3c3 c3 = =
1⋅ 2 ⋅ 3 3!
( n −1) f (a )
n −1

f (a ) = 1 ⋅ 2 (n − 3)( n − 2)( n −1)c n −1 = (n −1)! c n −1 cn−1 =


( n −1)!
Substituting the values of the c’s in (1), we get

f ' ' (a) f ' ' ' (a) f n−1 ( a )


f ( x ) = f ( a ) + f ' ( a )( x − a ) + ( x − a) 2 + ( x − a ) 3 + + ( x − a ) n−1 +
2! 3! ( n −1)!
(2)

This series is known as Taylor series after the English mathematician Brook Taylor.

Example

π
Expand sin x in powers of x − and use the series to find sin 31 0 .
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Solution:

π
In this case a =
6
π  1
f ( x) = sin x f =
6 2
f ' ( x ) = cos x π  3
f '  =
6 2
π  1
f ' ' ( x) = −sin x f ''  = −
6 2

f ' ' ' ( x) = −cos x π  3


f '''  = −
6 2
π  1
f ( 4)
( x) = sin x f ( 4)   =
6 2
Etc. Substituting in (2), we obtain
2 3 4
1 π 3 π  1 π 
x−  x−  x− 
1 3 π  2 6 2  6 2 6
sin x = + x− − − + +
2 2  6 2! 3! 4!

It is easy to show by the ratio test that this series is convergent for all values of x.

To find sin 31 0 , we have


 π
 x −  = 31 − 30 = 1 = 0.01745 radian
0 0 0

 6
2
 π
 x −  = 0.00030
 6
3
 π
 x −  = 0.00001
 6
4
 π
 x −  is negligible
 6

Thus,

1 3
1 3
( 0.0003 )
2
( 0.00001 ) 3
sin 31 = +
0
( 0.01745 ) − 2 − 2
2 2 2! 3!
sin 31 = 0.5 + 0.01511 − 0.00008 − ...
0

sin 31 0 = 0.50503 .