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In this section, you will:
  • Find the inverse of an invertible polynomial function.
  • Restrict the domain to find the inverse of a polynomial function.

A mound of gravel is in the shape of a cone with the height equal to twice the radius.

Gravel in the shape of a cone.

The volume is found using a formula from elementary geometry.

V = 1 3 π r 2 h = 1 3 π r 2 ( 2 r ) = 2 3 π r 3

We have written the volume V in terms of the radius r . However, in some cases, we may start out with the volume and want to find the radius. For example: A customer purchases 100 cubic feet of gravel to construct a cone shape mound with a height twice the radius. What are the radius and height of the new cone? To answer this question, we use the formula

r = 3 V 2 π 3

This function is the inverse of the formula for V in terms of r .

In this section, we will explore the inverses of polynomial and rational functions and in particular the radical functions we encounter in the process.

Finding the inverse of a polynomial function

Two functions f and g are inverse functions if for every coordinate pair in f , ( a , b ) , there exists a corresponding coordinate pair in the inverse function, g , ( b , a ) . In other words, the coordinate pairs of the inverse functions have the input and output interchanged. Only one-to-one functions have inverses. Recall that a one-to-one function has a unique output value for each input value and passes the horizontal line test.

For example, suppose a water runoff collector is built in the shape of a parabolic trough as shown in [link] . We can use the information in the figure to find the surface area of the water in the trough as a function of the depth of the water.

Diagram of a parabolic trough that is 18” in height, 3’ in length, and 12” in width.

Because it will be helpful to have an equation for the parabolic cross-sectional shape, we will impose a coordinate system at the cross section, with x measured horizontally and y measured vertically, with the origin at the vertex of the parabola. See [link] .

Graph of a parabola.

From this we find an equation for the parabolic shape. We placed the origin at the vertex of the parabola, so we know the equation will have form y ( x ) = a x 2 . Our equation will need to pass through the point (6, 18), from which we can solve for the stretch factor a .

18 = a 6 2 a = 18 36 = 1 2

Our parabolic cross section has the equation

y ( x ) = 1 2 x 2

We are interested in the surface area of the water, so we must determine the width at the top of the water as a function of the water depth. For any depth y , the width will be given by 2 x , so we need to solve the equation above for x and find the inverse function. However, notice that the original function is not one-to-one, and indeed, given any output there are two inputs that produce the same output, one positive and one negative.

To find an inverse, we can restrict our original function to a limited domain on which it is one-to-one. In this case, it makes sense to restrict ourselves to positive x values. On this domain, we can find an inverse by solving for the input variable:

y = 1 2 x 2 2 y = x 2 x = ± 2 y

This is not a function as written. We are limiting ourselves to positive x values, so we eliminate the negative solution, giving us the inverse function we’re looking for.

Questions & Answers

the third and the seventh terms of a G.P are 81 and 16, find the first and fifth terms.
Suleiman Reply
if a=3, b =4 and c=5 find the six trigonometric value sin
Martin Reply
pls how do I factorize x⁴+x³-7x²-x+6=0
Gift Reply
in a function the input value is called
Rimsha Reply
how do I test for values on the number line
Modesta Reply
if a=4 b=4 then a+b=
Rimsha Reply
a+b+2ab
Kin
commulative principle
DIOSDADO
a+b= 4+4=8
Mimi
If a=4 and b=4 then we add the value of a and b i.e a+b=4+4=8.
Tariq
what are examples of natural number
sani Reply
an equation for the line that goes through the point (-1,12) and has a slope of 2,3
Katheryn Reply
3y=-9x+25
Ishaq
show that the set of natural numberdoes not from agroup with addition or multiplication butit forms aseni group with respect toaaddition as well as multiplication
Komal Reply
x^20+x^15+x^10+x^5/x^2+1
Urmila Reply
evaluate each algebraic expression. 2x+×_2 if ×=5
Sarch Reply
if the ratio of the root of ax+bx+c =0, show that (m+1)^2 ac =b^2m
Awe Reply
By the definition, is such that 0!=1.why?
Unikpel Reply
(1+cosA+IsinA)(1+cosB+isinB)/(cos@+isin@)(cos$+isin$)
Ajay Reply
hatdog
Mark
jaks
Ryan
how we can draw three triangles of distinctly different shapes. All the angles will be cutt off each triangle and placed side by side with vertices touching
Shahid Reply
Practice Key Terms 1

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Source:  OpenStax, Algebra and trigonometry. OpenStax CNX. Nov 14, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11758/1.6
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