You are on page 1of 8
44 Second Derivative and Shape Contemporary Caleulus 4.4 SECOND DERIVATIVE AND THE SHAPE OF f “The first derivative ofa function gives information about the shape of the function, so the second derivative ‘of a funeton gives information about the shape of the first derivative and about the shape ofthe function In this section we investigate how to use the second derivative and the shape ofthe first derivative to reach conclusions about the shape of the function. ‘The first derivative tells us whether the graph of f is increasing or decreasing. ‘The second derivative will tellus about the "concavity" of f, whether f is curving upward or downward. Coneavity conve » 5 \ Cinghicaly, a anton concave pit gap is ced with the x e oping upward Fi, 1). Siily, function i coneve down its \ oe Arp opens downward (Fg 1). The concn of facionesa be ———_— 6 » ‘mornin pli problems an an een fit billon-dllr devon fet An Epidemic: Suppose an epidemic has started, and you, as a member of congress, must decide whether the ccurrent methods are effectively fighting the spread of the disease or whether more drastic measures and. more money are needed, In Fig. 2, f(x) is the number of people who have the disease at time x, and ‘ovo different situations are shown. In both (a) and (b), the number of people with the disease, (now), and the rate at which new people are getting sick, f (now), are the same. ‘The difference in the two situations is the concavity of ingen == Z tend tn loci concn mih be ig ton __ fon your decision. In (a), is concave down at "now", and tangent it appears that the current methods are starting to bring the ——— Ss] » = » = @ Fig? © epidemic under control. In (b), f is concave up, and it appears thatthe epidemic is still out of control Usually itis easy to determine the concavity of a function by examining its graph, but we also need a definition which does not require that we have a graph of the function, a definition we can apply to a function described by a formula without having to graph the function. Definiti Let £ be a differentiable Function. f isconeave up at a ifthe graph of f is above the tangent ine L. to f forall x close to a (but not equal to a): fla) > L(x) = fla) +f a) f isconeave down at a ifthe graph of f is below the tangent line L. to f forallx close to a (but not equal to a): fx) 0 forall x in T, and let & be any point in I. We want to show that f is concave up at so we need to prove that the graph of f (Fig. 4) is above the fS) tangent line to f at a: f(s) >L(x)= fla) +£'@)(-8) for x close toa, Lx) ‘Assume that x is in T., and apply the Mean Value Theorem to f on the interval from a to x. Then there is anumber ¢ between @ and x so that and f(x) = fla) +f (©O-a) Fig. 4 Since £">0 between a and x, we know from the Second Shape Theorem that F" is increasing between a and x. We will consider two cases: x>a and xa,then x-a>0 and cisin the interval fax] so a£'(a)ra) and a) = fla) + £Ye)x-8) > fa) + £(ay-a) = Lt) In each case we get thatthe function f(x) is above the tangent line L(x). The proof of () (©). © wsacrc 2 44 Second Derivative and Shape Contemporary Caleulus (6) Let f(s and h(x) =x° (Fig. 5). The second derivative of each of these functions is 20) zero at a= 0, and at (0,0) they all have the same tangent line: L(x) =O , the x-axis. However, at (0,0) they all have different concavity: f is concave up, g is concave down, and h is neither concave up nor dow, ‘ Nan tort are fi) Son \ a9) > 4 J 12 NN cree ot ona ° pot ene Sm Fié : FO 00) Fes ‘ Practice 1: Use the graph of f in Fig.6 to finish filling in the table with "+* for positive, for negative" , or “0 Concavity (up or down) Feeling the Second Derivative Earlier we saw that if function £(0) represents the position of acar at time t, then £ (0) is the velocity and £"(0) is the acceleration of the carat the instant i we are driving along a straight, smooth road, then what we felis the acceleration ofthe car: a large positive acceleration fecls like a "push* toward the back ofthe ca, a large negative acceleration (a deceleration) fels like a "push" toward the front ofthe car, and an acceleration of 0 fora period of time means the velocity is constant and we donot feel pushed in either direction ‘On a moving vehicle itis possible to measure these "pushes", the acceleration, and from that information to determine the velocity ofthe vehicle, and from the velocity information to determine the position. Inertial ‘guidance systems in aeplanes use this tactic: they measure front-back, let-right and up-down acceleration several times a second and then calculate the positon of the plane. They also use computers to keep track of time and the rotation of the earth under the plane. After all, i 6 hours the earth has made a quarter of a revolution, and Dallas has rotated more than \$000 miles! WSBCTC