121616949-math.115 - f x = x 3-x f ± x = 3 x 2-1 f ±± x...

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5.4 Concavity and inflection points 101 a . a . Figure 5.6 f ( a ) < 0: f ( a ) positive and decreasing, f ( a ) negative and decreasing. down and is getting steeper. The two situations are shown in figure 5.6 . A curve that is shaped like this is called concave down. If we are trying to understand the shape of the graph of a function, knowing where it is concave up and concave down helps us to get a more accurate picture. Of particular interest are points at which the concavity changes from up to down or down to up; such points are called inflection points. If the concavity changes from up to down at x = a , f changes from positive to the left of a to negative to the right of a , and usually f ( a ) = 0. We can identify such points by first finding where f ( x ) is zero and then checking to see whether f ( x ) does in fact go from positive to negative or negative to positive at these points. Note that it is possible that f ( a ) = 0 but the concavity is the same on both sides; f ( x ) = x 4 is an example. EXAMPLE 5.7 Describe the concavity of f ( x ) = x 3 - x .
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Unformatted text preview: f ( x ) = x 3-x . f ± ( x ) = 3 x 2-1, f ±± ( x ) = 6 x . Since f ±± (0) = 0, there is potentially an inflection point at zero. Since f ±± ( x ) > 0 when x > 0 and f ±± ( x ) < 0 when x < 0 the concavity does change from down to up at zero, and the curve is concave down for all x < 0 and concave up for all x > 0. Note that we need to compute and analyze the second derivative to understand con-cavity, so we may as well try to use the second derivative test for maxima and minima. If for some reason this fails we can then try one of the other tests. Exercises Describe the concavity of the functions in 1–18. 1. y = x 2-x ⇒ 2. y = 2 + 3 x-x 3 ⇒ 3. y = x 3-9 x 2 + 24 x ⇒ 4. y = x 4-2 x 2 + 3 ⇒ 5. y = 3 x 4-4 x 3 ⇒ 6. y = ( x 2-1) /x ⇒ 7. y = 3 x 2-(1 /x 2 ) ⇒ 8. y = sin x + cos x ⇒ 9. y = 4 x + √ 1-x ⇒ 10. y = ( x + 1) / p 5 x 2 + 35 ⇒ 11. y = x 5-x ⇒ 12. y = 6 x + sin 3 x ⇒ 13. y = x + 1 /x ⇒ 14. y = x 2 + 1 /x ⇒...
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