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Math 1023 Section 6.

3 Exponential Functions

In this section we will look at what happens when you raise a positive number,
which is not equal to one, to a power.

Ex. 1: Find the approximate value of e3.2. Round to 3 decimal places.

An exponential function is a function of the form

f(x) = ax, where a is a positive real number (a > 0) and a ≠ 1. If a = 1, then f is


simply a constant function f(x) = 1 since 1 to any power = 1.
The domain of an exponential function is the set of all real numbers.

Ex. 2: Let us consider the exponential function f(x) = 2x.


What is the y-intercept? f(0) = 1

Find f(1) = 2 f(-1) = 1/2 f(2) = 4 f(-2) = 1/4

Graph f showing all the points.

4 (2,4)

2 (1,2)
1
1 (-1, ) (0,1)
(-2, ) 2
4
-5 5

-2

Notice that the range of f is all positive numbers and that the graph is always
increasing. As x approaches negative infinity, the graph gets closer and closer to
the x-axis but never touches it. That means there is a horizontal asymptote at the
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x-axis or y = 0.

The graph of f(x) = 2x is typical of all exponential functions that have a base larger
than one.
What do you think the graph of 3x would look like? 5x? Graph them on the same
axes as 2x.
8 x
1
Ex. 3: Now let’s consider the graph of g(x) =   .
2
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Find g(0) = 1 g(1) = 1/2 g(-1) = 2


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Graph g(x).
(-1,2) 2

(0,1)
(1,1/2)

-10 -5 5 10

-2

Notice again that the range of g is all positive numbers, y > 0.


The graph of g is always decreasing. As x approaches infinity, the graph gets
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closer and closer to the x-axis but never touches it. This means that the x-axis is a
horizontal asymptote or y = 0.
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The graph of g is typical of the graph of all exponential functions whose base is
between 0 and 1. -8

Characteristics of the Graph of an Exponential Function f(x) = ax.


1. The domain is all real numbers.
2. The range is the set of all positive numbers.
3. There are no x-intercepts; the y-intercept is (0, 1).
4. The x-axis (y = 0) is a horizontal asymptote.
5. The graph is increasing if a > 1, decreasing if 0 < a < 1.
6. f is a one-to-one function.
7. The graph contains the points (0, 1) and (1, a).
8. The graph of f is smooth and continuous.

a>1 0<a<1
The exponential function with base e is of special interest. It has many
applications in nature.
The number e is approximately 2.7. Your calculator has an ex key on it.

Ex. 4: Now let’s graph f(x) = ex.

________________________

Now that we know the basic exponential functions we will look at transformations
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of exponential functions
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Ex. 5: Given f(x) = ex + 3


a.) determine the graph from the following:
6
6

6
4 4

-5 5
4
2
2
-2
2

-5 5

-5 5 -4

-5 5
-2

-2
-2 -6

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b.) Determine the domain. Write in interval notation.


-4
-4

-6

-6

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c.) Determine the range. Write in interval notation.

d.) List the equation of the horizontal asymptote:


Ex. 6: Given graph of the function below, determine the function.
(2,16)
15

10

5
(1,4)

(0,1)
6 -20 -10 10 20

-5
4
Ex. 7: Given the graph of a function below, match the graph to one of the
following functions. -10
x
2
A. y = 2 E. y = -2x
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B. y = 2x – 1 F. y = 2-x
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C. y = -2-x G. y = 2x + 1
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D. y = 2x – 1 H. y = 2x + 1
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Solving exponential equations with the same base.


If au = av, then u = v. In other words, if the bases are the same and the sides are
equal then the exponents must be equal. This is a one-to-one property.

Ex. 8: Solve the exponential equation. Give exact answer.


2 x1
 1
   25
 5