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Section Number:

Topics: Related Rates

Day: 1 to 4

Example 1: Two Rates That Are Related

Assume x and y are both differentiable functions of t. Find

= 12 for the equation 2 x 3


given y = -1 and


Example 2: Ripples in a Pond

A pebble is dropped into a calm pond, causing ripples in the form of concentric circles.
The radius r of the outer ripple is increasing at a rate of 1 foot per second. When the
radius is 4 feet, at what rate is the total area A of the disturbed water changing?

Example 3:
18, 19

An Inflating Balloon
Air is being pumped into a spherical balloon at a rate of 4.5 cubic inches per second.
Find the rate of change of the radius of the balloon when the radius is 2 inches.

Example 4:
13, 14

Example 5:

Example 6:

Changing Distances
Find the rate of change of the distance between the origin and a moving point on the
graph of y = 3x2 2 if dx/dt = 2 centimeters per second at the point (1, 1).

The Conical Pile

Sand is being dropped at a rate of 10 m3/min onto a conical pile. If the height of the pile
is always twice the base radius, at what rate is the height increasing when the pile is
8 m high?

Cars and Rates and Intersections and Pythagoras, Oh My!

Two cars, one going due east at a rate of 90 km/hr and the other going due south at a
rate of 60 km/hr, are travelling toward an intersection of the two roads. At what rate are
the two cars approaching each other at the instant when the first car is 200 m and the
second car is 150 m from the intersection?

Example 7: Changing Angles

An airplane is flying west at 500 ft/sec at an altitude of 4000 ft. The airplane is in a
vertical plane with a searchlight on the ground. If the light is to be kept on the plane,
how fast is the angle that the searchlight makes with the ground changing when the
airplane is due east of the searchlight at an airline distance of 2000 ft.?

Example 8:

More Changing Angles

A camera tracks the launch of a vertically ascending spacecraft. The camera is located
at ground level 2 miles from the launch pad. If the spacecraft is 3 miles up and traveling
at 0.2 miles per second, at what rate is the camera angle (measured from the
horizontal) changing?

Example 9: Me and My Shadow

Suppose a 6 foot tall person is 12 ft away from an 18-feet tall lamppost. If the person is
moving away at a rate of 2 ft/sec, at what rate is the length of the shadow changing?

Guidelines for Solving Related Rate Problems

1. Identify all given quantities and quantities to be determined. Make a sketch and label all quantities when
2. Write an equation involving the variables whose rates of change are either given or are to be determined.
3. Using the Chain Rule, implicitly differentiate both sides of the equation with respect to t.
4. After completing Step 3, substitute into the resulting equation all known values for the variables and their
rates of change. Then solve for the required rate of change.