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Differentiation Refresher Sheet 2

Differentiation is about gradients on a curve.

Stationary Points:

You need to be able to find a stationary point on a curve and decide whether it is a turning point (maximum or minimum) or a point of inflexion.

When

the gradient is zero and so you have a stationary point.

Maximum turning point

Minimum turning point

Point of inflexion

2 nd Order Differentiation:

The 2 nd differential measures the change in gradient and can help you decide whether a stationary point is a maximum, minimum or point of inflexion. To find the 2 nd differential you need to differentiate again.

 If and > 0 then you have a minimum (positive is minimum). If and < 0 then you have a maximum (negative is maximum). If and = 0 then it could be maximum, minimum or point of inflexion.

In the last case differentiate again:

If

0

then it is a point of inflexion.

Otherwise (or as an alternative to the above) you need to find the gradient at either side of the stationary point to decide whether it is a maximum or minimum.

Examples:

Find the stationary point on the curve

:

=

= 0

4

(we need to put this equal to zero to find the stationary point)

(we know that the stationary point is at

.)

Next find the value of

when

So the stationary point is at (2, -2)

Next decide whether the stationary point is a maximum, minimum or point of inflexion:

= 2

This is positive (>0) so the turning point must be a minimum.

(

)

:

Find the stationary points on the curve

 ( ) (we need to put this equal to zero to find the stationary point) 3 = 0 3 ( ) (we know that the stationary points are at .) Next find the values:

stationary point is at (0,4) stationary point is at (2,0)

Next decide whether the stationary points are maximum, minimum or point of inflexion:

(

)

 When ( ) (maximum) When ( ) (minimum)

Find the stationary point on the curve

:

Stationary point is at (0, 0)
This is 0 when
= 0 so could be a max, min or point of inflexion.
Differentiate again to decide:
The 3 rd differential is not 0 so it is a point of inflexion.

Practice Questions:

Find the stationary points and determine whether they are maximum, minimum or points of inflexion for the following curves:

 1) 2) 3) 4) ( ) (Hint: factorise) 5) 6) ( ) 7) 8) ( ) 9)

Challenge Activity:

10)

Write 3 equations for curves of your own choice. Make sure that one curve has a maximum, one has both a maximum and a minimum and one has a point of inflexion and prove each one.