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# TOPIC: 7.0 LIMITS AND CONTINUITY 7.

2 : ASYMPTOTES

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OBJECTIVES

At the end of the lesson, students are able to

  

explain vertical and horizontal asymptotes define vertical and horizontal asymptote. discuss the shape of the graph of a vertical and horizontal asymptote.

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Definition of Vertical Asymptote

A line x = a is a vertical asymptote of the graph of a function y = f(x) if either

x→a

lim+ f ( x ) = ±∞
or

EXAMPLE

EXERCISE

x→a
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lim− f ( x ) = ±∞
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Definition of horizontal asymptote
A line y = b is a horizontal asymptote of the graph of a function y = f(x) if either

x → +∞

lim f ( x ) = b
EXAMPLE

or

x → −∞
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lim f ( x ) = b
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EXERCISE

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Strategy for Graphing Rational Functions
STEP 1

Find the intercepts of the graph with the main axes Find the dominant terms. Find the asymptotes. Choose x-values between and beyond the vertical asymptotes and the xintercepts and construct a table of values.

STEP 2  STEP 3  STEP 4 

 STEP 5

Draw smooth curve through the intercepts and the points from the table so that a portion of each curve approaches an asymptote as that portion of the curve moves away from the origin

Example : Graph the function

x+3 y= x+2
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STEP 1:
Find the intercepts of the graph with the main axes

x +3 y = x +2

If x=0, y =

graph with x-axis.

3 3 Hence,  0,  is the intercept of the   2 2

If y=0, x=-3 Hence,( -3,0) is the intercept of the graph with y-axis.

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STEP 2

Find the dominant terms. By dividing (x+2) into (x+3), we yield

1 y = 1+ x+2

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STEP 3:

Find the asymptotes

When x+2 = 0 x = -2 Thus x = -2 is a vertical asymptote of f(x) Applying the definition of horizontal asymptote
1   lim f ( x) = lim1 +  x→∞ x→∞  x + 2
=1+0 =1

Thus y = 1 is a horizontal asymptote of f(x)
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STEP 4:

Choose x-values between and beyond the vertical asymptotes and the x-intercepts and construct a table of values.

x f(x)

-5

-3 0

-1 2

0

2 3

3 2

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STEP 5 :
Draw smooth curve through the intercepts and the points from the table so that a portion of each curve approaches an asymptote as that portion of the curve moves away from the origin.

y

1.5 y=1

-3

o

x

EXERCISE

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EXERCISE

Graph the functions.

3x + 1 a) y = 2x − 1
b)

6 y= 2 x + x−6
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y

y=3/2

-1/3

o

x -1

x=1/2

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y

o

x

x=3 x= -2

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EXAMPLE

Find the vertical asymptote of
y

1 f ( x) = 2 x

x
0

x →0

lim f ( x ) = + ∞
+

The y –axis is an asymptote of the curve because

and

x →0 −

lim f ( x ) = +∞
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Thus, the line x = 0 is a vertical asymptote of f(x).
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EXAMPLE
y

Examine

f

lim

o

x

f ( x)

x → −∞

=4

the function sketched in this figure, as x approaches negative infinity, f(x) approaches but never quite reaches a value of 4. Using limit o notation, we state

lim x → −∞

f ( x)

=4

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EXAMPLE
y

g x

Similarly, in this figure, g approaches but never quite reaches the x axis as x approaches . We can state this behavior by the notation

lim g ( x)
o

As with f, g has a horizontal asymptote of y = 0 as x approaches
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x→∞

=0

EXERCISE
Determine the vertical asymptote

i) ii)

x+3 f ( x) = x+2
f ( x) =
f ( x) =
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SOLUTION

1 x2 −1

SOLUTION

iii)

2x x2 − x − 2
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SOLUTION

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SOLUTION (i)

x+3 f ( x) = x+2
i) x+2=0 x = -2
Thus, the line x = -2 is a vertical asymptote of f(x).

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SOLUTION
ii)

1 f ( x) = 2 x −1
x2 – 1 = 0 x = -1 , x = 1 Thus, the lines x = -1 and x = 1 are vertical asymptotes of f(x).

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SOLUTION

iii)

2x f ( x) = 2 x −x−2

x − 2 x − 2= 0
2

(x – 2)(x + 1) = 0 x = 2 , x = -1 The lines x = 2 and x = -1 are vertical asymptotes of f(x).
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