APPLIED PROBLEMS IN MAXIMA AND MINIMA

MAXIMUM/MINIMUM PROBLEMS
The following problems are maximum/minimum optimization problems. problems. They illustrate one of the most important applications of the first derivative. Many students find these derivative. problems intimidating because they are "word" problems, and because there does not appear to be a pattern to these problems. problems. However, if you are patient you can minimize your anxiety and maximize your success with these problems by following these guidelines : GUIDELINES FOR SOLVING MAX./MIN. PROBLEMS MAX./MIN. 1. Read each problem slowly and carefully. Read the problem at carefully. least three times before trying to solve it. Sometimes words it. can be ambiguous. It is imperative to know exactly what the ambiguous. problem is asking. If you misread the problem or hurry asking. through it, you have NO chance of solving it correctly. correctly. 2. If appropriate, draw a sketch or diagram of the problem to be solved. solved. Pictures are a great help in organizing and sorting out your thoughts. thoughts.

make sure that the optimization equation is a function of only one variable. . equation is a "constraint" equation and the other is the "optimization" equation. This step is very important variables. welldifferentiation. because it leads directly or indirectly to the creation of mathematical equations. equations.MAXIMUM/MINIMUM PROBLEMS 3. Then differentiate variable. 5. equations. using the well-known rules of differentiation. This is then substituted into the variables. may have two or more constraint equations. optimization problems will begin with two equations. 4. problems may have NO constraint equation. Some occurs. The "constraint" equation is used to equation. Before differentiating. solve for one of the variables. Some problems equation. Write down all equations which are related to your problem or diagram. One equations. Experience will show you that MOST minimize. diagram. Clearly denote that equation which you are asked to maximize or minimize. Define variables to be used and carefully label your picture or diagram with these variables. "optimization" equation before differentiation occurs.

maximum. The numbers.x . sum of the two numbers is given to be 9 = x + y or y = 9 .Example PROBLEM 1 : Find two nonnegative numbers whose sum is 9 and so that the product of one number and the square of the other number is a maximum. SOLUTION 1 : Let variables x and y represent two nonnegative numbers.

Substitute for y getting only. before we differentiate the rightright-hand side. we will write it as a function of x only. P = x y2 = x ( 9-x)2 Now differentiate this equation using the product rule and chain rule. However. getting P ' = x (2) ( 9-x)(-1) + ( 9-x)2(1) = 0 )(- .We wish to MAXIMIZE the PRODUCT P = x y2 .

( 9-x) [ -2x + ( 9-x) ] =0 99( 9-x) [ 9-3x ] =0 993( 9-x)( 3-x )=0 939-x =0. which does not satisfy the condition. It means the two non-negative numbers are 3 and non9 3 or 6. 3-x =0 3therefore x=9 or x=3 If x=9. . y = 9 x = 9 9 = 0.

PROBLEM 2 : Build a rectangular pen with three parallel partitions using 500 feet of fencing. . What dimensions will maximize the total area of the pen ? SOLUTION 2 : Let variable x be the width of the pen and variable y the length of the pen.

Illustration y x x x x x y .

The total amount of fencing is given to be 500 = 5 (width) + 2 (length) = 5x + 2y . .5x or y = 250 . so that 2y = 500 . We wish to MAXIMIZE the total AREA of the pen A = (width) (length) = x y .(5/2)x .

(5/2)x2 .However. only. Therefor y= (250-5/2x) = ft.5/2x) = 250x .(5/2) 2x =0 250 . 250x Now differentiate this equation.5x =0 5 (50 . before we differentiate the right-hand rightside. x = 50 ft. Substitute for y getting A=xy = x ( 250 . 250125 ft .x ) =0 Solving for x. getting A ' = 250 . we will write it as a function of x only.

box. . What dimensions will result in material. a box with the largest possible volume ? SOLUTION 3 : Let variable x be the length of one edge of the square base and variable y the height of the box.PROBLEM 3 : An open rectangular box with square base is to be made from 48 ft2 of material.

Illustration y x x .

xy) so that 4xy = 48 x 2 or 48  x y! 4x 2 .The total surface area of the box is given to be 48 = (area of base) + 4 (area of one side) = x 2 + 4 (xy) .

We wish to MAXIMIZE the total VOLUME of the box V = (length) (width) (height) = (x) (x) (y) = x 2y .(1/4)x 3 12x . we rightwill write it as a function of x only. Substitute for y only. However. getting V = x 2y ¨ 12 1 ¸ V ! x ©  x¹ ªx 4 º 2 or V = 12x . before we differentiate the right-hand side.

getting V = 12 . x = 4 ft or x = -4 ft (disregarded) Therefore y = (12/4 .Now differentiate this equation.(1/4)3x 2 = 0 )3x 12 .1/4[4]) = 3 1 = 2 ft and then V = 32 ft3 .(3/4)x 2 = 0 (3/4)(16 x 2 ) = 0 (3/4)(4 .x)(4 + x) = 0 Solving for x.

What height h and base radius r will maximize the volume of the cylinder ? SOLUTION 4 : Let variable r be the radius of the circular base and variable h the height of the cylinder.PROBLEM 4 : A container in the shape of a right circular cylinder with no top has surface area 3 ft2. . cylinder.

Illustration r h .

The total surface area of the cylinder is given to be SA = (area of base) + (area of the curved side) = 3 r2 + 2 rh = 3 r2)/ or h = (3 = 3/2r .r/2 2 r .

we will write it as a function of r only. Substitute for h getting V= r2(3/2r .r/2) =3 r/2 . before we differentiate the rightrighthand side.We wish to MAXIMIZE the total VOLUME of the cylinder V = (area of base) (height) However.r3/2 .

getting V = 3 /2 .1/2 = 2/2 =1 ft .3 r2/2 = 0 3 / (1 .r) = 0 2 Solving for r: r = 1 ft or r = -1 (disregarded) and = 3/2(1) .Now differentiate this equation.1/2 = 3/2 .r2) = 0 2 3 / (1 + r)(1 .

equalequal-sized squares from each corner and folding up the four edges. 4 ft. cardboard. . will be made into a box by cutting ft. What will be edges.PROBLEM 5 : A sheet of cardboard 3 ft. the dimensions of the box with largest volume ? SOLUTION 5 : Let variable x be the length of one edge of the square cut from each corner of the sheet of cardboard. by ft.

Illustration 4 x x x x 3 x x x x .

we have an ordinary rectangular box. box.After removing the corners and folding up the flaps. x 3-2x 4-2x .

)(x)(-2)+(3.)(3.)(x)(2)=0 Solving for x: 1212-14x+4x2-8x +4x2-6x+4x2=0 12x2-28x +12=0 4(3x2-7x +3)=0 Using the quadratic equation: 7 s 13 x! } 1.)(1)+(4.57 ft 6 . getting V ' = (4-2x)(3-2x)(1)+(4-2x)(x)(-2)+(3-2x)(x)((4.77 (disregard ed) or 0.We wish to MAXIMIZE the total VOLUME of the box V = (length) (width) (height) = (4-2x) (3-2x) (x) (4(3(x Now differentiate this equation using the triple product rule.

y) on the graph of y ! x nearest the point (4. 0).Exercises. can. hypotenuse. PROBLEM 8 : A cylindrical can is to hold 20 m3 The material for the top and bottom costs $10/m2 and material for the side costs $8/m2 10/m Find the radius r and height h of the most economical can. Find the dimensions of the axes. triangle with the shortest hypotenuse.and y-axes. PROBLEM 7 : Find the point (x.3) and both the x. . Solve each of the following: PROBLEM 6 : Consider all triangles formed by lines passing through the point (8/9.

outside of the window is 12 feet. You can swim at 2 mph and walk at 3 mph. what dimensions will result in the rectangle having largest possible area ? . If the distance around the rectangle. What route will take the least swim. amount of time ? PROBLEM 10 : Construct a window in the shape of a semisemi-circle over a rectangle.PROBLEM 9 : You are standing at the edge of a slowslowmoving river which is one mile wide and wish to return to your campground on the opposite side of the river. river. From there walk to the campground. bank. You must mph. first swim across the river to any point on the opposite bank. which is one mile from the point directly across the river from where you start your swim.

x 3 . yaxis. and graph of y = 8 . each additional tree planted in the orchard. For apples. How many apples. orchard.PROBLEM 11 : There are 50 apple trees in an orchard. trees should be added to the existing orchard in order to maximize the total output of trees ? PROBLEM 12 : Find the dimensions of the rectangle of largest area which can be inscribed in the closed region bounded by the x-axis. the output per tree drops by 10 apples. Each tree produces 800 apples.

. distance x from the front of the room should you position yourself so that the viewing angle of the movie screen is as large as possible ? PROBLEM 15 : Find the dimensions (radius r and height h) of the cone of maximum volume which can be inscribed in a sphere of radius 2. At what floor. dimensions of the rectangle will result in a cylinder of maximum volume ? PROBLEM 14 : A movie screen on a wall is 20 feet high and 10 feet above the floor.PROBLEM 13 : Consider a rectangle of perimeter 12 inches. rectangle about one of its edges. What edges. Form a cylinder by revolving this inches.

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