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  1. Math 242: Calculus 1/
  2. Chapter 2/

Section 2.5

The chain rule

The Chain Rule #

My motto, which you’ll hear me say again and again: “it’s always the chain rule.”

We can differentiate polynomials, trigonometric functions, rational (fractional) functions, etc… but what about functions that are compositions of multiple functions?

The chain rule: #

If $f$ and $g$ are differentiable functions and $y = f(g(x))$, then:

$$ \frac{d}{dx} (f(g(x)) = f’(g(x)) g’(x) $$

Demo example #

Find the derivative of $(3x+1)^2$ in two ways. First by using the chain rule, then by expanding it and differentiating the polynomial.

Examples #

  1. Find the derivative of $y = \sin(x^2)$
  2. Find the derivative of $y=\sin^2 (x)$
  1. Find $\dfrac{d}{dx} \sqrt{3x^2 - 4x}$
  1. Find $\dfrac{dy}{dx}$ where $\displaystyle y = \left(\frac{t}{1-2t}\right)^3$

Super examples! #

  1. Find $k’(t)$ if $k(x) = \sin(\cot (\sec x))$.
  1. Find the derivative of $f(x) = \sin^2(\tan (x^2))$

Now practice! #

Head over to WebAssign and work on the exercises.

Have a question? A comment? Want to clarify something above or on your homework set? Let me know!