MTH 252

Fnal Lab
Bonus 1
Justin Drawbert
August 10, 2010
In our Final Lab Bonus Project 1 we are given the equation

b
a
x
2
dx = 2
0 a b
A
y = x
2
Given this equation, we are asked to consider what happens to the length of the interval (a, b) as
a →∞. Intuitively we’d imagine that, as the a get’s larger and larger, so to will the height of the
area under the curve, and thus the interval will get shorter and shorter becoming pretty much a
straight line. But this is a math class and intuition is not sufficient to mathematically justify this.
Let’s take a look at lim
a→∞
(b −a), shall we?
We first need to solve for b in terms of a

b
a
x
2
dx = 2 ⇒
b
3
3

a
3
3
= 2 ⇒ b
3
−a
3
= 6 ⇒ b =
3

6 + a
3
1
We then need to evaluate the limit. This may get tricky, but let’s show this limit who’s boss.
lim
a→∞
(b −a) = lim
a→∞

3

6 + a
3
−a

= lim
a→∞

a
3

6
a
3
+ 1 −a

= lim
a→∞
a

3

6
a
3
+ 1 −1

= lim
a→∞
a

6
a
3
+ 1

1/3
−1

= lim
a→∞
a
¸

6
a
3
+ 1

1/3
−1
¸
= lim
a→∞

6
a
3
+ 1

1/3
−1
a
−1
H
= lim
a→∞
1
3

6
a
3
+ 1

−2/3
· 18a
−4
−1
a
−2
= lim
a→∞
6
a
2

6
a
3
+ 1

2/3
= lim
a→∞
6
lim
a→∞
(a
2
)

lim
a→∞

6
a
3

+ 1

2/3
= 0
So our intuition was correct. As a gets bigger, so too does b, and the interval b −a gets smaller and
smaller. Infinitely small, in fact.
As if that weren’t enough fun, we are then asked to maximize the interval (a, b). Here we’ll
keep b −a in terms of a, find the derivative, set the derivative equal to 0 and use the first derivative
test to find a maximum. We will not need to look for a minimum, since we just showed that our in-
terval will not have a minimum; it can be as small as you like! Well let the length of the interval be L.
L(a) = b −a =
3

6 + a
3
−a =

6 + a
3

1/3
−a
L

(a) =
1
3
(6 + a) −2/3 · 3a
2
−1 ⇒
a
2
(6 + a
3
)
2/3
−1
We next set L

(a) equal to zero and solve to get a critical values (which will be our minimum).
Things are going to get tricky here, and we’ll have to pay attention to what’s going on with our
exponents, but it should’t be that bad. Setting L

(a) equal to zero, we get
L

(a) =
a
2
(6 + a
3
)
2/3
−1 = 0 ⇒
a
2
(6 + a
3
)
2/3
= 1 ⇒ a
2
=

6 + a
3

2/3

a
2

3/2
=
¸

6 + a
3

2/3

3/2


a
6
=
¸

6 + a
3

6

1/6

a
3

=

6 + a
3

So, we now have
a
3
= 6 + a
3
or a
3
= −6 −a
3
Since we know a
3
= 6 + a
3
a
3
= −6 −a
3
⇒ 2a
3
= −6 ⇒ a
3
= −3 ⇒ a =
3

−3
2
So the maximum interval (a, b) is at

3

−3,
3

3

.
And indeed
3

3
3

3

−3
3
= 1 −(−1) = 2
3

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