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Homework Help: Trapezoid - Calculus of Several Variables

  1. Oct 14, 2012 #1
    First time posting on this forum so let's see how this goes!

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    The base B of a trapezoid increases in length at the rate of 2cm/sec and the top T decreases in length at the rate of 1cm/sec. If the height h is increasing at the rate of 3cm/sec how rapidly is the area A changing when B = 30cm, T = 50cm and h=10cm.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I wasn't too sure how to start this.
    I had the equation of ∇f(x,y,z) = 2x-y+3z (setting x=base, y=top, z=height). From lecture notes on a previous example it showed finding the dot product with P(a,b,c) so in this case P(30,50,10).
    Following this through:
    (2i-j+3k) ° ((x-50)i + (y-30)j + (z-10)k) = 0
    => 2x-y+3z-100=0 which leaves me with the equation I started with but with just -100. I don't think this is the right route as there is no where to go from here and I haven't used the area formula yet. Anyone with any nudges in the right direction?
  2. jcsd
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