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Homework Help: ODE - Reduction of order

  1. Oct 16, 2005 #1
    Hi, say I have a second order ODE [tex]a_1 \left( x \right)\frac{{d^2 y}}{{dx}} + a_2 \left( x \right)\frac{{dy}}{{dx}} + a_3 \left( x \right)y = f\left( x \right)[/tex] and I have [tex]y_H = h\left( x \right)[/tex] which satisfies the DE for case of f(x) = 0. Can I always, in principle, find the general solution to the DE for the case where f(x) is not necessarily zero by using the substitution [tex]y\left( x \right) = u\left( x \right)h\left( x \right)[/tex]. I know that there are various substitutions for second order ODEs but I would like to know if the one I mentioned always works. Any help would be good thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2005 #2


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    Absolutely. The problem of course is effecting the integration: After letting y=uh and substituting into the ODE, then let:


    resulting in:

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