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Order of a Differential Equation

The order of a differential equation is the order of the highest derivative included in the
equation.

Example 1: State the order of the following differential equations

Solution to Example 1

1. The highest derivative is dy/dx, the first derivative of y. The order is therefore 1.

2. The highest derivative is d2y / dx2, a second derivative. The order is therefore 2.

3. The highest derivative is the second derivative y". The order is 2.

4. The highest derivative is the third derivative d 3 / dy3. The order is 3.

Linearity a Differential Equation


A differential equation is linear if the dependent variable and all its derivative occur
linearly in the equation.

Example 2: Which of these differential equations are linear?


Solution to Example 2

1. Both dy/dx and y are linear. The differential equation is linear.

2. The term y3 is not linear. The differential equation is not linear.

3. The term ln y is not linear. This differential equation is not linear.

4. The terms d3y / dx 3, d2y / dx 2 and dy / dx are all linear. The differential equation is
linear.

Example 3:

General form of the first order linear differential equation.

Example 4:

General form of the second order linear differential equation.

Exercises: Determine the order and state the linearity of each differential below.
Answers to Above Exercises

1. order 3 , non linear.

2. order 1 , linear.

3. order 1 , non linear.

4. order 2 , linear.

Simple Differential Equation


This is a tutorial on solving simple first order differential equations of the form

y ' = f(x)

A set of examples with detailed solutions is presented and a set of exercises is


presented after the tutorials. Depending on f(x), these equations may be solved
analytically by integration. In what follows C is a constant of integration and can take
any constant value.
Example 1: Solve and find a general solution to the differential equation.

y ' = 2x + 1

Solution to Example 1:

Integrate both sides of the equation.

∫ y ' dx = ∫ (2x + 1) dx
which gives

y = x 2 + x + C.

As a practice, verify that the solution obtained satisfy the differential equation given
above.

Example 2: Solve and find a general solution to the differential equation.

2 y ' = sin(2x)

Solution to Example 2:

Write the differential equation of the form y ' = f(x).

y ' = (1/2) sin(2x)

Integrate both sides

∫ y ' dx = ∫ (1/2) sin(2x) dx


Let u = 2x so that du = 2 dx, the right side becomes

y = ∫ (1/4) sin(u) du

Which gives.

y = (-1/4) cos(u) = (-1/4) cos (2x)

Example 3: Solve and find a general solution to the differential equation.

y 'e -x + e 2x = 0
Solution to Example 3:

Multiply all terms of the equation by e x and write the differential equation of the form y '
= f(x).

y ' = - e 3x

Integrate both sides of the equation

∫ y ' dx = ∫ - e 3x
dx

Let u = 3x so that du = 3 dx, write the right side in terms of u

y = ∫ (-1/3) e u du

Which gives.

y = (-1/3) e u = (-1/3) e 3x

Exercises: Solve the following differential equations.

a) 2y ' = 6x

b) y ' cos x = sin(2x)

c) y ' e x = e 3x

Solutions to the above exercises

a) y = (3/2) x 2 + C

b) y = -2 cos x + C

c) y =(1 / 2) e 2x + C

Separable Differential Equation


What are separable differential equations and how to solve them?

This is a tutorial on solving separable differential equations of the form


y ' = f(x) / g(y)

Examples with detailed solutions are presented and a set of exercises is presented after
the tutorials. Depending on f(x) and g(y), these equations may be solved analytically.

Example 1: Solve and find a general solution to the differential equation.

y ' = 3 ey x2

Solution to Example 1:

We first rewrite the given equations in differential form and with variables separated,
the y's on one side and the x's on the other side as follows.

e -y dy = 3 x 2 dx

Integrate both side.

∫e -y
dy = ∫ 3 x 2 dx

which gives

-e -y + C1 = x 3 + C2 , C1 and C2 are constant of integration.

We now solve the above equation for y

y = - ln( - x 3 - C ) , where C = C2 - C1.

As practice, verify that the solution obtained satisfy the differential equation given
above.

Example 2: Solve and find a general solution to the differential equation.

y ' = sin x / (y cos y)

Solution to Example 2:

Separate variables and write in differential form.

y cos y dy = sin x dx

Integrate both sides

∫ y cos y dy = ∫ sin x dx
The left side may be integrated by parts

y sin y - ∫ sin y dy = - cos x

y sin y + cos y + C1 = - cos x + C2 , C1 and C2 are constants of integration.

In this case there is no simple formula for y as a function of x.


y = (-cos x - cos y + C ) / sin y , where C = C2 - C1

Exercises: Solve the following separable differential equations.

a) y ' = -9 x 2 y 2

b) y ' = - 2x e y

Solutions to the above exercises

a) y = 1 / (3x 3 + C)

b) y = - ln (x 2 + C)