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Exponential and Logarithmic functions have perhaps more real-world applications than

any other class of functions at the pre-calculus level and beyond. These functions

govern population increase as well as interest income in a bank. And since (it seems)

virtually everything decays exponentially, we can apply exponential decay equations to

many different applications (see http://www.mathmotivation.com/science/carvalue.html )

kt

Exponential growth and decline is governed by the function: N(t) = Noe

where

No = the original amount at time t=0.

k = the (decimal) rate of growth per time period, be it years, days, etc.

t = the units used in the time period.

N(t) = the amount at time t

NOTE: N(t) means N as a function of t, NOT N times t!

1000, how many years will it take for the population to double to 2000? How many years

will it take for the population to reach 4000?

Since the original amount is 1000, No=1000. Also, we know that N(t) = 2000 and also

N(t) = 4000. In both cases, k = 0.03 . So we have to solve the equations:

0.03t

2000 = 1000e and

0.03t

4000 = 1000e .

2000 = 1000e0.03t Given

0.03t

2=e Division Property of Equality

0.03t

LN(2) = LN(e ) If A = B, LN(A) = LN(B)

LN(2) = 0.03t LN(e) Power Rule For Logs

LN(2) = 0.03t Loga(a) = 1

[LN(2)]/0.03 = t 23.1 yrs Division Property of Equality

4 = e0.03t Division Property of Equality

LN(4) = LN(e0.03t) If A = B, LN(A) = LN(B)

LN(4) = 0.03t LN(e) Power Rule For Logs

LN(4) = 0.03t Loga(a) = 1

[LN(4)]/0.03 = t 46.2 yrs Division Property of Equality

So it took a little over 23 years for the population to double. The population doubled

again after another 23 years. As mentioned in the previous section, exponential growth

results in a doubling at a fixed interval of time.

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Example: A cars value is declining exponentially. The car is currently 3 years old and

has a value of $18000. The car sold for $26,000 brand new. How much will the car be

worth 5 years from now?

kt

N(t) = 26000e

We can use the given data to solve for k by noting that at t=3, N(3) = 18000. This gives

us

k3

18000 = 26000e

Now, solve for k.

3k

18000/26000 = e Division Property of Equality

3k

18/26 = e Simplify Fraction

3k

LN(18/26) = LN(e ) If A = B, LN(A) = LN(B)

LN(18/26) = 3kLN(e) Power Rule For Logs

LN(18/26) = 3k Loga(a) = 1

[LN(18/26)]/3 = k -0.1226 Division Property of Equality

-0.1226t

So now, the completed model is N(t) = 26000e

We can now use the completed model to answer our question, How old will the car be

in 5 years? Since the car is already 3 years old, in 5 years it will be 8 years old, so we

let t = 8 in our completed model to get

-0.12268

N(8) = 26000e

= $9750, rounded

You can verify this answer with the Car Value Calculator, shown at

http://www.mathmotivation.com/science/carvalue.html

You will note that the answer is close, but not an exact match this is due to the fact

that we rounded our value of k more than the calculator does.

If you noticed, in the last problem, we followed this procedure:

1. Use the given data to solve for the constants k and No, unless these constants

are already given.

2. Write the completed model.

3. Use the completed model to predict other values.

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Compound Interest Solving For t

Now that we are able to solve for variables that are exponents, we may solve the

nt

compound interest formula A = P(1 + r/n) for t. In other words, we can calculate the

time required for a given amount of money P to reach some given future value A.

compounded monthly. How many years will it take for the total value to reach

$100,000?

nt

We let P = 4000, r=0.05, A = 100000, and n = 12 in A = P(1 + r/n) to get

12t

100000 = 4000(1 + 0.05/12)

12t

100000/4000 = (1 + 0.05/12) Division Property of Equality

12t

25 = (1 + 0.05/12) Simplify Fraction

12t

LN(25) = LN[(1 + 0.05/12) ] If A = B, LN(A) = LN(B)

LN(25) = 12tLN(1 + 0.05/12) Power Rule For Logs

LN(25)/LN(1 + 0.05/12) = 12t Division Property of Equality

[LN(25)/LN(1 + 0.05/12)]/12 = t Division Property of Equality

t = 64.5 years (rounded) Evaluate Logs and divide

You may check this answer by plugging back into the original equation

12t

100000 = 4000(1 + 0.05/12)

Base-10 log scales are used in different areas of science. Common applications include

the pH scale and the Richter scale. An example involving pH is included here.

pH = -LOG10[H+]. If pH is 5.2, what is [H+]?

-5.2 = LOG10[H+]

-5.2 = LOG10[H+] Given

-5.2

10 = [H+] Rewrite in equivalent exponential form

[H+] = 0.000006309 Evaluate power of 10

-6

[H+] = 6.309 x 10 Rewrite in scientific notation

Did You Know This About pH? The lower the pH, the more acidic a solution is. Since

pH uses a base-10 logarithmic scale, it takes a 10-fold increase in acidity to lower the pH

1 unit. With respect to the current issue of acid rain, if a lakes pH decreases by 1 unit,

the acidity of a lake increases by a power of 10!

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