# Graphs and equations

A summary of everything that we now know which will help us to sketch curves of the form y = ax2 + bx + c 1. 2. 3. 4. If a is positive, the curve is U-shaped. If a is negative, the curve is an upside-down U. The value of c tells us the y-intercept. The curve crosses the y-axis at (0,c). We can factorize (or use the formula) to find whether and where the curve cuts the x-axis. If b2 – 4ac is negative, the curve does not cut the x-axis at all. We can complete the square to find where the least value of the curve is (or the greatest value, if it is an inverted U-shape). We shall see in Section 8.E.(b) that this can also be found by using calculus. If the curve does cut the x-axis, substituting the midway value of x between the cuts into the equation for y gives the least value of y (or the greatest value of y if the curve has an inverted Ushape).

Stretching and shifting – new functions from old (1) Adding a fixed amount to a function
What happens if we go from f (x) to f (x) + a, where a is some given constant number? Here are two examples, both taking a = 3. (a) f (x) = 2x + 1 (b) f (x) = x2 so f (x) + 3 = 2x + 4. so f (x) + 3 = x2 + 3. I show sketches of the two pairs of graphs below in Figure (a) and (b).

We see that the effect of adding 3 to f (x), so that y = f (x) + 3, is to shift the graph up by 3 units.

(2) Adding a fixed amount to each x value
What will happen if we add a fixed amount to each x value instead, so that we go from f (x) to f (x + a) in each case? Again, we look at two examples, taking a = 3.

(a) f (x) = 2x + 1 (b) f (x) = x2

so f (x + 3) = 2(x + 3) + 1 = 2x + 7. so f (x + 3) = (x + 3)2.

Notice that, to find f (x + 3) from f (x), we just replace x by (x + 3). This time, the effect is to slide the whole graph 3 units to the left.

(3) Multiplying the original function by a fixed amount
What will happen if we go from f (x) to a f(x) where a is some given constant number? Working with the same two examples as before, and with a = 3 again, we get (a) f (x) = 2x + 1 (b) f (x) = x
2

so so

3f (x) = 6x + 3 3f (x) = 3x2

Sketches of the two pairs of graphs are shown below in Figure (a) and (b).

This time, the whole graph has been pulled away from the x-axis by a factor of 3, so that every point is now three times further away than it was originally. Therefore the only points on the graph, which will remain unchanged, are those on the x-axis itself.

(4) Multiplying x by a fixed amount
What will happen if we go from f (x) to f (ax)? Taking our same two examples, with a = 3, we have (a) f (x) = 2x + 1 (b) f (x) = x2 so so f (3x) = 2(3x) + 1 = 6x + 1 f (3x) = (3x)2 = 9x2.

Notice that we simply replace x by 3x to find f (3x) from f (x). I show sketches of the two pairs of graphs below in Figure (a) and (b). This time the stretching effect is more complicated because it only affects the part of the function involving x. Any purely number parts

remain unchanged. The points which are unaffected by the stretching are those where the graphs cut the y-axis, so x = 0. Notice too that the strength of the effect now depends upon the power of x. Having (3x)2 in example 4(b) gives a more extreme effect than the 3x2 in 3(b), since the 3 is also being squared here.

A summary of some effects of transforming functions  (1) Transforming f (x) to f (x) + a shifts the whole of f (x) upwards by a distance a. We have

(2) Transforming f (x) into f (x + a) shifts the whole of f (x) back a distance a, because the curve is getting to  each of its values faster, by an amount a. We have fig. (b)    (3) Transforming f (x) into af (x) stretches out each value of f (x) by a factor a. We have fig. (c)

(4) Transforming f (x) into f (ax) has a more complicated effect, since how much a affects each part of f (x)  depends on what is happening to x itself in f (x). For example, if f (x) = x2 + x + 1, then f (ax) = a2x2 + ax + 1.  Each term has been affected differently. Therefore it is not possible to show this case on one sketch; the  change in shape will depend entirely upon the function concerned.

Even functions

A function is even if it is symmetrical about the y‐axis. For these functions, f (x) = f (–x) for any value of x.    Odd functions  A function is odd if rotation through a half‐turn leaves it unchanged. This is the same as saying that the  function reverses its sign if it is reflected in the y‐axis, so f (x) = – f (–x).

See if you can decide which of (a), (b), (c) and (d) have inverse functions. (a) and (c) will each have an  inverse function because each value of y is given by only one possible value of x, but (b) and (d) will only  have inverse relations.  With (b) for example, if y = 4 then x could be +2 or –2.  If y = x2 then x = y1/2. The inverse relation is x : x1/2, and x1/2 can be either + or –.  The sketch in Figure (a) shows the graphs of y = x2 and its inverse relation y = x1/2. However, if we say that x  cannot be negative, so that we restrict the domain of y = x2 to values of x which are greater than or equal to 0  (which we write as x ≥ 0), then we shall have a perfectly good inverse function which is y = √x. This is  shown in Figure (b). The symbol √is taken to mean the positive square root only.

Finding and working with the equations which give circles
How can we find the equation of the curve which gives a particular circle in terms of x and y?   We will start by considering the simplest case which is a circle of radius r symmetrically placed so that its  centre is at the origin.

Any point P on it, with coordinates (x, y), must be a distance r from the origin, so x2 + y2 = r2 by Pythagoras’  Theorem. The equation of the circle with centre (a,b) and radius r is given by (x – a)2 + (y – b)2 = r2.

The equation of the circle with centre (a,b) and radius r can also be written as  x2 – 2ax + y2 – 2by + c = 0 where c = a2 + b2 – r2.    For an equation like this to give a circle it must fit the following conditions.  (1) There must be equal coefficients of x2 and y2. The coefficient is the number which tells us how many  we’ve got. The coefficient of 3x2 is 3. The coefficient of y2 is 1. If there are no terms in x, say, then the  coefficient of x is zero.  (2) There must only be, at the most, terms in x2, y2, x, y and a number. (We mustn’t have any terms with xy,    for instance.)  (3) The value of r2 must be positive so that we have a physically possible length for the radius.
Example (1) Find whether, and if so where, the lines (a) y = 2x – 4 (b) 3y = x + 11 and (c) y = 3x + 6 cut the

circle whose equation is x2 – 4x + y2 – 2y – 5 = 0. Draw a sketch showing the three lines and the circle.    Answer:  (a) If the line y = 2x – 4 cuts the circle, the values of x and y at the points where it cuts must fit both  the equations of the circle and of the line.  This means that we can put y = 2x – 4 into the equation of the circle to find the possible values of x.  This gives us  x2 – 4x + (2x – 4)2 – 2(2x – 4) – 5 = 0  x2 – 4x + 4x2 – 16x + 16 – 4x + 8 – 5 = 0  5x2 – 24x + 19 = 0  (5x – 19)(x – 1) = 0  x = 1 or x = 19/5 .  Substituting these values of x back in the line y = 2x – 4 gives us the corresponding two values for y of –2 and  18/5. So the line y = 2x – 4 cuts the circle at the two points with coordinates (1, –2) and (19/5,18/5).  (b) To find if the line 3y = x + 11 cuts the circle, we can rewrite its equation as  x = 3y – 11 and substitute this for x in the equation of the circle. This gives us  (3y – 11)2 – 4(3y – 11) + y2 – 2y – 5 = 0  9y2 – 66y + 121 – 12y + 44 + y2 – 2y – 5 = 0  10y2 – 80y + 160 = 0  y2 – 8y + 16 = 0  (y – 4)2 = 0.  The two possible cutting points have come together here to give the single point for which y = 4 and   x = 12 – 11 = 1. This means that the line 3y = x + 11 just touches the circle – it is a tangent to it.  The point of contact has the coordinates (1,4).  (c) This time, we put y = 3x + 6 in the equation of the circle. This gives us  x2 – 4x + (3x + 6)2 – 2(3x + 6) – 5 = 0  x2– 4x + 9x2+ 36x + 36 – 6x – 12 – 5 = 0  10x2 + 26x + 19 = 0.  Using the quadratic formula on this equation, with a = 10, b = 26 and c = 19 gives b2 – 4ac = –84, so we can’t

find any value for x which will satisfy this equation.   This must mean that the line misses the circle completely.  For the sketch, we need the centre and the radius of the circle.  We have  x2– 4x + y2 – 2y – 5 = 0  (x – 2)2 – 4 + (y – 1)2 – 1 – 5 = 0  so (x – 2)2 + (y – 1)2 = 10.  The centre of the circle is at the point (2,1) and its radius is

10

Straight lines and circles  • Substituting the equation of the line into the equation of the circle will give you a quadratic equation  in x or y.   The equation has two roots. This means that the line cuts the circle in two points.  The equation has one repeated root. This means that the line is a tangent to the circle – it just  touches it.  ‘b2 – 4ac’ is negative, and the equation has no real roots. This means that the line misses the circle  altogether.

There are then three possibilities.  • • •

Finding the equations of tangents to circles
Any tangent to a circle must be perpendicular to the radius going to the point of contact. The gradient of the  tangent will then tell us the slope or gradient of the circle at this point of contact.    Example (1) Find the equations of the four tangents to the circle x2 – 6x + y2 – 4y – 12 = 0 with points of  contact (a) (7,5), (b) (–1, –1), (c) (8,2) and (d) (3,7). Draw a sketch showing the circle and these four  tangents.    Answer:   We start by finding the centre and radius of the circle.  We have  x2 – 6x + y2 – 4y – 12 = 0 = (x – 3)2 – 9 + (y – 2)2 – 4 – 12.  So the equation of the circle is also given by (x – 3)2 + (y – 2)2 = 25. Its centre is at the point (3,2) and  its radius is 5 units. I have drawn a sketch of this circle in Figure showing the first tangent that we  shall find. I think that it will help you in the working, which follows if you sketch in how you think the

other three tangents will go.

(a) The first tangent touches the circle at the point (7,5). The radius to the point of contact joins (3,2) to  (7,5), so its gradient is

y2 - y1 5-2 3 x2 - x1 = 7 - 3 = 4   Demo