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A Bluetooth Wireless Headset Market.

Consider the demand function for a certain brand


of Bluetooth wireless headsets D(x) = −0.025x2 −0.5x+60 and the corresponding supply function
S(x) = 0.02x2 + 0.6x + 20, where the price functions D(x) and S(x) are expressed in dollars and
the quantity x is measured in units of one-thousand. Find the equilibrium quantity and price.

Solution. We note that D(x) = S(x) if and only if 9x2 + 220x − 8000 = 0. By factoring this
polynomial, we find that (9x + 400)(x − 20) = 0. By the zero factor property, we conclude that
x = 20 or x = −400/9. Because x cannot be negative, we conclude that the equilibrium quantity
is given by e = 20, from which it follows that the equilibrium price is given by S(e) = 40. �

2.3.4 Constructing Mathematical Models


Given a word problem, we may use the following algorithm to construct a mathematical model.

1.) Begin by assigning a letter to each variable mentioned in the problem. Draw and label a
figure when appropriate.

2.) Find an expression for the quantity sought. Often, this is referred to as the “unknown;”
therefore, it is usually the quantity about which the problem gives the least information.

3.) Use the conditions given in the problem to write the quantity sought as a function f of one
variable. Be sure to note any restrictions to be placed on the domain of f, which are given
by the physical considerations of the problem.

Building a Fence. Consider enclosing a rectangular piece of land along the straight portion of
a river using 3000 feet of fencing. Give a function f that yields the area of the land enclosed if all
fencing is used. (Hint: Use our algorithm, and note that no fence is needed along the river.)

2.4 Limits
2.4.1 Why Do We Care About Calculus?
Calculus is perhaps the most ubiquitous subject area of mathematics in the technical world. Of
the many problems for which calculus supplies an answer are

• finding the velocity of an object;

• finding the rate of change of a bacteria population with respect to time;

• finding the rate of change of a company’s profit with respect to time;

• finding the rate of change of a travel agency’s revenue with respect to the agency’s expendi-
ture for advertising;

• finding the area of irregularly-shaped regions; and

• finding the volume of irregularly-shaped objects.

Our answers to these problems come in the form of derivatives and integrals.

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2.4.2 Intuitive Definition of a Limit
We best illustrate the concept of a limit through an example.

Velocity of a Magnetic Levitation Train. Consider the position function s(t) = 4t2 of a
magnetic levitation train as observed from some starting location over the span of 30 seconds. We
note that s(t) is given in feet, and 0 ≤ t ≤ 30, hence the domain of s(t) is given by Ds = [0, 30].
We wish to find the velocity of the magnetic levitation train two seconds after it has departed
from the origin, i.e., we wish to find v(2). We note that the average velocity of the train can be
computed by taking the ratio of the distance covered to the time elapsed. For instance, the aver-
age velocity of the train between two and four seconds after it has departed is given by

s(4) − s(2) 4 · 42 − 4 · 22 48
vavg (t) = = = = 24
4−2 2 2
2
−4)
feet per second. Consider the average velocity function vavg (t) = 4(tt−2 on some interval [2, t].
By simplifying this rational expression in t, we find that vavg (t) = 4t + 8. We can obtain an
approximation for the velocity of the train at t = 2 by taking t to be a decreasing sequence of
values approaching 2, e.g., t = 2.1, t = 2.01, t = 2.001, t = 2.0001, etc. We have that

s(2.1) = 16.4,
s(2.01) = 16.04,
s(2.001) = 16.004,
s(2.0001) = 16.0004,

and so on. Checking an increasing sequence of values of t approaching 2, we obtain a similar re-
sult. We can at this point venture a guess that v(2) = 16, i.e., the velocity of the train at t = 2 is
16 feet per second, but how do we verify that this is true? We need the concept of a limit.

Definition. We say that the function f has the limit L as x approaches a if the value of f (x)
can be made as close to L as desired by taking x �= a to be sufficiently close to a. We write

lim f (x) = L
x→a

when it is true that the limit of f (x) as x �= a approaches a is equal to L.


We have enough evidence to conclude in our previous example that v(2) = lim vavg (t) = 16.
t→2

2.4.3 Evaluating Limits of Functions


Compute the following limits of functions using the definition of the limit, if possible. Explain
why it is not possible to compute the given limit, if that is the case.

(a.) lim f (x), where f (x) = x3 and Df = (−∞, 2)


x→2

(b.) lim g(x), where g(x) = x + 2 if x �= 1, g(1) = 1, and Dg = R


x→1

|x|
(c.) lim h(x), where h(x) = x
and Dh = R − {0}
x→0

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We have the following useful limit properties.
Properties of Limits. Consider functions f and g such that lim f (x) = L and lim g(x) = M .
x→a x→a

(a.) lim C = C, where C is a real number


x→a

(b.) lim [f (x)]r = [lim f (x)]r = Lr , where r is a positive real number


x→a x→a

(c.) lim [C · f (x)] = C · lim f (x) = C · L, where C is a real number


x→a x→a

(d.) lim [f (x) ± g(x)] = lim f (x) ± lim g(x) = L ± M


x→a x→a x→a

(e.) lim [f (x) · g(x)] = [lim f (x)] · [lim g(x)] = L · M


x→a x→a x→a

f (x) lim f (x) L


x→a
(f.) lim = = , provided that M �= 0
x→a g(x) lim g(x) M
x→a

Compute the following limits of functions using the definition of the limit and limit properties.
(a.) lim 5x3/2
x→4

(b.) lim (5x4 − 2)


x→1

(c.) lim 2x3 x2 + 7
x→3

2x2 + 1
(d.) lim
x→2 x + 1

2.4.4 Indeterminate Forms


Recall that the limit of a rational function can be written as the ratio of the limit of the numer-
ator to the limit of the denominator only if the limit of the denominator is non-zero; however, if
the limit of the numerator tends to L �= 0 and the limit of the denominator tends to 0, then the
1
limit of the rational function does not exist, e.g., lim 2 does not exist. On the other hand, there
x→0 x
are instances in which both the numerator and the denominator of a rational function both tend
to 0 and yield a meaningful limit. We refer to this as the indeterminate form 0/0. Curiously,
we note that the indeterminate form 0/0 can take the value of any real number! (WHOA.) Using
the following algorithm, we are able to deal with the indeterminate form 0/0.
1.) Replace the given function with an appropriate function that takes the same values as the
original function everywhere except at x = a. We note that this can by achieved by rational-
izing the numerator, rationalizing the denominator, cancelling like terms in fractions, etc.
2.) Evaluate the limit of this function as x approaches a.
Compute the limits of the following rational functions of indeterminate form 0/0.
t3 − 8
(a.) lim
t→2 t − 2

4−h−2
(b.) lim
h→0 h

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2.4.5 Limits at Infinity
Until now, we have considered the limits of functions at finite values. Often, it is useful to con-
sider the limit of a function f (t) as t grows arbitrarily large, i.e., as t approaches ±∞.

Mortality Rate of Fruit Flies. Consider a population of fruit flies whose mortality rate is
4t2
modeled by the function g(t) = 2+t 2 , where t is time in minutes and g(t) is the ratio of births

to deaths. Evaluating g(t) for t = 1, t = 2, t = 5, t = 10, t = 100, and t = 1000, we see that
4
g(1) = ≈ 1.3,
3
8
g(2) = ≈ 2.7,
3
100
g(5) = ≈ 3.7,
27
200
g(10) = ≈ 3.9,
51
20000
g(100) = ≈ 4, and
5001
2000000
g(1000) = ≈ 4.
500001
We conclude that as t grows arbitrarily large, g(t) grows closer and closer to 4.

Definition. We say that the function f has the limit L as x approaches infinity if the value of
f (x) can be made as close to L as desired by taking x to be sufficiently large. We write

lim f (x) = L.
x→∞

Likewise, we say that the function f has the limit M as x approaches negative infinity if the
value of f (x) can be made as close to M as desired by taking x to be negative and sufficiently
large in absolute value. Likewise, we write

lim f (x) = M.
x→−∞

Limits of Rational Functions at Infinity. Consider polynomials f (x) = an xn + · · · + a1 x + a0


and g(x) = bm xm + · · · + b1 x + b0 , and define the rational function r(x) = fg(x)
(x)
for x s.t. g(x) �= 0.

1.) Given that n < m, we have that lim r(x) = 0.


x→±∞

an
2.) Given that n = m, we have that lim r(x) = .
x→±∞ bm
3.) Given that n > m, we have that lim r(x) = ±∞, depending on whether n is odd or even.
x→±∞

1
Furthermore, for all real numbers r > 0, we have that lim = 0.
x→±∞ xr

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Compute the following limits of functions using the definition of the limit, if possible. Explain
why it is not possible to compute the given limit, if that is the case.
|x|
(a.) lim
x→∞ x

|x|
(b.) lim
x→−∞ x

1
(c.) lim
x→∞ x2

1
(d.) lim
x→−∞ x2

x2 − x + 3
(e.) lim
x→∞ 2x3 + 1

3x2 − 5x + 4
(f.) lim
x→∞ 2x2 + 7x − 1

12x3 − 4x2 − 2
(g.) lim
x→∞ 1000x2 + 1
12x3 − 4x2 − 2
(h.) lim
x→−∞ 1000x2 + 1

2.5 One-Sided Limits and Continuity


2.5.1 One-Sided Limits
Consider the piecewise-defined function

x+1 x≥0
f (x) = .
x−1 x<0

Using the definition of the limit as x approaches 0, we find that lim f (x) does not exist; however,
x→0
if we restrict our attention to only the piece of the function defined on [0, ∞), we note that the
limit as x approaches 0 exists and equals 1. Likewise, if we restrict our attention to only the piece
of the function defined on (−∞, 0), then the limit as x approaches 0 exists and equals −1.
Definition. We say the function f has the right-hand limit L as x approaches a if the value of
f (x) can be made as close to L as desired by taking x > a sufficiently close to a. We write

lim f (x) = L.
x→a+

Likewise, we say the function f has the left-hand limit M as x approaches a if the value of f (x)
can be made as close to M as desired by taking x < a sufficiently close to a. We write

lim f (x) = M.
x→a−

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