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MTH 252 Section 4.4 Exercise 24
Justin Drawbert June 29, 2010
In James Stewart’s Calculus: Concepts and Contexts, 4th Edition, Section 4.4, Excercise 24, we are given the parametric equation x = t4 + 4t3 − 8t2 , y = 2t2 − t
We are then asked to ﬁnd the points at which the curve has horizontal or vertical tangents.
dy We start by using calculus to put the equation in the form dx . Hopefully this will make things a bit clearer and give us some insight as to what’s going on with what is likely to

4 Exercise 24

Justin Drawbert June 29, 2010

In James Stewart’s Calculus: Concepts and Contexts, 4th Edition, Section 4.4, Excercise 24, we are given the parametric equation x = t4 + 4t3 − 8t2 , y = 2t2 − t

We are then asked to ﬁnd the points at which the curve has horizontal or vertical tangents.

dy We start by using calculus to put the equation in the form dx . Hopefully this will make things a bit clearer and give us some insight as to what’s going on with what is likely to be a bit of an unfarmiliar equation and how how these points may occur.

dy dy/dt 4t − 1 = = 2 dx dx/dt 4t + 12t2 − 16t We should now be able to see that the point(s) on the curve for which a line tangent to the curve is horizontal will occur at the point(s) at which the slope of the curve is zero, or in other dy words, when dx = 0. This is true for values of t such that dy = 0. dt We should then also see that the point(s) on the curve for which a line tangent to the curve is dy vertical will occur when the slope of the curve is vertical or undeﬁned, or in other words, when dx dx is undeﬁned. This is true for values of t such that dt = 0. Let us start by ﬁnding the point(s) at which the curve has horizontal tangent(s). We do this by ﬁrst setting dy equal to 0 and then solving for t. dt dy 1 = 4t − 1 = 0 ⇒ t = dt 4 So our curve will have a horizontal tangent at t = 1 . Plugging t = 4 gives us: x 1 4 = 1 4

4 1 4

**back into our original equation 1 4
**

2

+4

1 4

3

−8

1 4

2

=−

111 , 256

y

1 4

=2

−

1 1 =− 4 8

**So the point at which the curve has a horizontal tangent is − 111 1 ,− 256 8 ≈ (−0.434, −0.125)
**

dx dt

Let us now ﬁnd the point(s) at which the cuve has vertical tangent(s). We ﬁrst set 0 and then slove for t. dx = 4t3 + 12t2 − 16t = 4t(t2 − 3t − 4) = 4t(t + 4)(t − 1) = 0 dt t=0 or t = −4 or t=1

equal to

1

**Plugging these values into our original equation gives us x(0) = 0,
**

4 3 2

y(0) = 0 y(−4) = 2(−4)2 − (−4) = 36 y = 2(1)2 − 1 = 1

x(−4) = (−4) + 4(−4) − 8(−4) = −128, x(1) = (1)4 + 4(1)3 − 8(1)2 = −3,

So the points at which the curve has vertical tangents are (0, 0), (−128, 36), (−3, 1) Graphing allows us to see this visually. We start fairly zoomed in, but then zoom out in order to see that our curve does indeed have a point with a vertical tangent at (−128, 36).

Figure 1 2 Vertical Tangent Horizontal Tangent 1.75

1.5

1.25

1

0.75

y

0.5

0.25

0

-0.25

-0.5 -4 -3.5 -3 -2.5 -2 x Figure 2 55 Vertical Tangent 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 -5 -140 y -1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5

-120

-100

-80

-60 x

-40

-20

0

I believe the purpose of this lab was to make sure that we were comfortable dealing with parametric equations so that we might show that the methods are really not all that diﬀerent. 2

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