Mathematics » Differential Calculus » Second Derivative

Second Derivative

Second Derivative

The second derivative of a function is the derivative of the first derivative and it indicates the change in gradient of the original function. The sign of the second derivative tells us if the gradient of the original function is increasing, decreasing or remaining constant.

To determine the second derivative of the function \(f(x)\), we differentiate \(f'(x)\) using the rules for differentiation.

\[f”(x) = \cfrac{d}{dx}[f'(x)]\]

We also use the following notation for determining the second derivative of \(y\):

\[y” = \cfrac{d}{dx}[\cfrac{dy}{dx}] = \cfrac{d^{2}y}{dx^{2}}\]

Example

Question

Calculate the second derivative for each of the following:

  1. \(k(x) = 2x^{3} – 4x^{2} + 9\)
  2. \(y = \cfrac{3}{x}\)
  1. \begin{align*} k'(x) &= 2(3x^{2}) – 4(2x) + 0 \\ &= 6x^{2} – 8x \\ & \\ k”(x) &= 6(2x) – 8 \\ &= 12x – 8 \end{align*}
  2. \begin{align*} y &= 3x^{-1} \\ & \\ \cfrac{dy}{dx} &= 3(-1x^{-2}) \\ &= -3x^{-2} \\ &= -\cfrac{3}{x^{2}} \\ & \\ \cfrac{d^{2}y}{dx^{2}} &= -3(-2x^{-3}) \\ &= \cfrac{6}{x^{3}} \end{align*}

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