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Product and Chain Rule

  1. Jun 25, 2005 #1
    Could someone please help me, I do not understand how the author of my text book gets from one point to another. Here is the problem worked out, after the problem I will explain which part I don't understand.

    [tex]f(x)=x(x-4)^3[/tex]
    [tex]f'(x)=x[3(x-4)^2]+(x-4)^3[/tex]
    [tex]=(x-4)^2(4x-4)[/tex]

    I do not understand how the author gets from here:
    [tex]f'(x)=x[3(x-4)^2]+(x-4)^3[/tex]
    to here:
    [tex]=(x-4)^2(4x-4)[/tex]
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 25, 2005 #2
    When I do it it looks like this:
    [tex]f'(x)=x[3(x-4)^2]+(x-4)^3[/tex]
    [tex]=x[3(x^2-8x+16)]+(x-4)(x^2-8x+16)[/tex]
    [tex]=x(3x^2-24x+48)+(x^3-8x^2+16x-4x^2+32x-64)[/tex]
    [tex]=3x^3-24x^2+48x+x^3-8x^2+16x-4x^2+32x-64[/tex]
    [tex]=4x^3-36x^2+96x-64[/tex]
    [tex]=4(x^3-9x^2+24x-16)[/tex]
     
  4. Jun 25, 2005 #3
    I am obviously doing something wrong, but I can't seem to figure it out. It will help me a great deal when I figure out what I am doing wrong in these types of problems, so any help is greatly apreciated.
     
  5. Jun 25, 2005 #4

    jma2001

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    I believe it was done by factoring [tex](x-4)^2[/tex] out of the second line.

    So, you end up with: [tex](x-4)^2[3x+(x-4)][/tex] which reduces to the final expression.
     
  6. Jun 25, 2005 #5
    I don not understand how you can factor [tex](x-4)^2[/tex] out of the second line.
     
  7. Jun 25, 2005 #6

    jma2001

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    Gold Member

    The square brackets in the second line are redundant and may be part of what is confusing you. That is:

    [tex]x[3(x-4)^2] = 3x(x-4)^2[/tex]

    Now, rewrite the second line and see if it makes more sense.
     
  8. Jun 25, 2005 #7
    Jimminy Christmas!!
    It's that easy. Man, I can't believe that. I always mess stupid things up like that. Now it is time for me to find the second derivative.
     
  9. Jun 25, 2005 #8

    jma2001

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    Gold Member

    I'm glad you understand it. :smile: That sort of thing used to confuse me all the time, and it still does on occasion. The only way to get better at "seeing" those quick solutions is with lots of practice.
     
  10. Jun 25, 2005 #9
    I am learning that the hard way jma. By the way, thanks for the help, I would have never seen that without the assistance.
     
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