# Product rule OR Partial differentiation

• B
• Jahnavi
In summary, the conversation discusses the ideal gas law and the process of differentiating it. The two approaches of differentiating the gas law, one using the product rule and the other using partial derivatives, are shown to be equivalent. The only difference is the point of evaluation, with the first approach carrying the point of evaluation with it while the second approach explicitly states the point of evaluation.
Jahnavi
I have a very basic knowledge of calculus of one variable .

In the chapter on heat and thermodynamics , ideal gas law PV =nRT is given .

Then the book says, differentiating you get

PdV +VdP = nRdT .

The book doesn't explain the differentiation step .

I think , there are two ways to differentiate the gas law PV =nRT

1) Applying product rule of differentiation when a single variable is involved :

Assuming all the three P, V, T are functions of a common variable x , I can differentiate both sides of PV = nRT by x .

d[P(x)V(x)]/dx = d[nRT]dx

Applying product rule on left side I get ,

VdP/dx+PdV/dx = nRdT/dx

Eliminating dx from the denominator from both sides I get ,

VdP+PdV = nRdT

2) Taking total derivative of both sides ,

d(PV) = d(nRT)

[∂(PV)/∂P]dP + [∂(PV)/∂V]dV = [∂(nRT)/∂T]dT

This also gives PdV +VdP = nRdT

Both approaches give same result(equation) .

Is it the product rule that is applied or is it the total derivative (involving partial differentiation ) being applied here ?

Thank you

Last edited:
Jahnavi said:
I have a very basic knowledge of calculus of one variable .
In the chapter on heat and thermodynamics , ideal gas law ##PV =nRT## is given .
Then the book says, differentiating you get
$$PdV +VdP = nRdT$$
The book doesn't explain the differentiation step .
I think , there are two ways to differentiate the gas law ##PV =nRT##
1) Applying product rule of differentiation when a single variable is involved :
Assuming all the three ##P, V, T## are functions of a common variable ##x## , I can differentiate both sides of ##PV = nRT## by ##x## .
$$d[P(x)V(x)]/dx = d[nRT]dx$$
Applying product rule on left side I get ,
$$VdP/dx+PdV/dx = nRdT/dx$$
Eliminating ##dx## from the denominator from both sides I get ,
$$VdP+PdV = nRdT$$

2) Taking total derivative of both sides ,
$$d(PV) = d(nRT) \\ [∂(PV)/∂P]dP + [∂(PV)/∂V]dV = [∂(nRT)/∂T]dT$$
This also gives ##PdV +VdP = nRdT##
Both approaches give same result(equation) .
Is it the product rule that is applied or is it the total derivative (involving partial differentiation ) being applied here ?

Thank you
These two approaches are basically the same. You applied the product rule in both cases.

The first case means the application of a differentiation and thus the product rule on functions in one variable ##x## as you've said. In the last step, eliminating ##\frac{1}{dx}## means, it is here where you passed from an equation of functions to an equation of differential forms.

The second case means to consider differential forms from the beginning and to write them as a linear combination of its coordinates, the partial derivatives. Here you apply the product rule on the coordinate forms.

Hello Jahnavi,

The answer is 'yes'

I think your path 2 is somewhat safer. (basically you derive the product rule there...)

fresh_42 said:
The second case means to consider differential forms from the beginning and to write them as a linear combination of its coordinates, the partial derivatives. Here you apply the product rule on the coordinate forms.

If possible , could you explain how the second approach (use of partial derivatives ) is same as the product rule of differentiation of a single variable .

The product rule is part of the definition of derivatives, so it is applied in both cases: first on ##P(x)V(x)=nRT(x)## as single variable functions and second in ##\frac{\partial PV}{\partial P}\; , \;\frac{\partial PV}{\partial V}\, , \,\frac{\partial nRT}{\partial T}## as functions in ##P,V,T##.

The first case is an equation of dependencies of ##x##:
$$(P(x)\cdot V(x))' = P(x)' \cdot V(x) + P(x) \cdot V(x)'$$
The second case is an equation of dependencies of functions ##P,V,T##.
Differentiation is always basically Linearity plus Leibniz Rule per definition, resp. construction.
$$d(P\cdot V) = d(P) \cdot V + P\cdot d(V)$$
and with a function ##F(P,V) := P\cdot V## of functions, i.e. in a subspace spanned by the functions ##P,V,T##. So we get in coordinates
$$dF(P,V) = \dfrac{\partial F}{\partial P} dP + \dfrac{\partial F}{\partial V} dV = VdP +PdV$$
The major difference is, that in the first case we more or less implicitly carry the point of evaluation with us, because it is actually
$$\left. \dfrac{d}{dx}\right|_{x=x_0} (P(x)V(x)) = \left( \left. \dfrac{d}{dx}\right|_{x=x_0} P(x)\right) \cdot V(x_0) + P(x_0) \cdot \left( \left. \dfrac{d}{dx}\right|_{x=x_0} V(x)\right)$$
what we have written, whereas in the second case the evaluation at ##x=x_0## means
$$d_{x_0}(P\cdot V) = d_{x_0}(P) \cdot V(x_0) + P(x_0) \cdot d_{x_0}(V)$$
It is simply a different point of view.

## 1. What is the product rule in calculus?

The product rule in calculus is a formula used to find the derivative of a product of two functions. It states that the derivative of the product of two functions f(x) and g(x) is equal to f'(x)g(x) + f(x)g'(x).

## 2. How is the product rule applied in real-world situations?

The product rule is often used in physics and engineering to calculate rates of change, such as velocity and acceleration, in systems where multiple variables are involved. It is also useful in economics and finance to analyze the relationship between different factors affecting a system.

## 3. What is partial differentiation?

Partial differentiation is a mathematical technique used to find the derivative of a function with respect to one of its variables while holding all other variables constant. It is often used in multivariable calculus to analyze how a function changes with respect to one variable at a time.

## 4. How is partial differentiation different from regular differentiation?

Regular differentiation finds the rate of change of a function with respect to one independent variable, while partial differentiation finds the rate of change with respect to one specific variable while holding all other variables constant. This is useful when analyzing functions with multiple independent variables.

## 5. In what fields is partial differentiation commonly used?

Partial differentiation is commonly used in fields such as physics, engineering, economics, and statistics, where systems involve multiple variables. It is also used in machine learning and data analysis to optimize models and algorithms by finding the relationship between multiple variables.

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