We sometimes come across quantities that are functions of more than one independent variable. Thus, we may find a case where \(y\) depends on two other variable quantities, one of which we will call \(u\) and the other \(v\). In symbols\[y = f(u, v).\]

Take the simplest concrete case.

Let \[y = u\times v\] What are we to do? If we were to treat \(v\) as a constant, and differentiate with respect to \(u\), we should get \[ dy_v = vdu;\] or if we treat \(u\) as constant, and differentiate with respect to \(v\), we should have:\[ dy_u = udv.\]

The little letters here put as subscripts are to show which quantity has been taken as constant in the operation.

Another way of indicating that the differentiation has been performed only *partially*, that is, has been performed only with respect to *one* of the independent variables, is to write the differential coefficients with Greek deltas, like \(\partial\), instead of little \(d\). In this way \[\begin{aligned} \frac{\partial y}{\partial u} &= v, \\ \frac{\partial y}{\partial v} &= u.\end{aligned}\]

If we put in these values for \(v\) and \(u\) respectively, we shall have \[\left. \begin{aligned} dy_v &= \frac{\partial y}{\partial u}\, du, \\ dy_u &= \frac{\partial y}{\partial v}\, dv, \end{aligned} \right\} \quad\text{which are partial differentials.}\]

But, if you think of it, you will observe that the total variation of \(y\) depends on *both* these things at the same time. That is to say, if both are varying, the real \(dy\) ought to be written \[dy = \frac{\partial y}{\partial u}\, du + \dfrac{\partial y}{\partial v}\, dv;\] and this is called a *total differential*. In some books it is written \(dy = \left(\dfrac{dy}{du}\right)\, du + \left(\dfrac{dy}{dv}\right)\, dv\).

### Examples

## Maxima and Minima of Functions of two Independent Variables

## Exercises XV

(1) Differentiate the expression \(\dfrac{x^3}{3} – 2x^3y – 2y^2x + \dfrac{y}{3}\) with respect to \(x\) alone, and with respect to \(y\) alone.

(2) Find the partial differential coefficients with respect to \(x\), \(y\) and \(z\), of the expression \[x^2yz + xy^2z + xyz^2 + x^2y^2z^2.\]

(3) Let \(r^2 = (x-a)^2 + (y-b)^2 + (z-c)^2\).

Find the value of \(\dfrac{\partial r}{\partial x} + \dfrac{\partial r}{\partial y} + \dfrac{\partial r}{\partial z}\). Also find the value of \(\dfrac{\partial^2r}{\partial x^2} + \dfrac{\partial^2r}{\partial y^2} + \dfrac{\partial^2r}{\partial z^2}\).

(4) Find the total differential of \(y=u^v\).

(5) Find the total differential of \(y=u^3 \sin v\); of \(y = (\sin x)^u\); and of \(y = \dfrac{\ln u}{v}\).

(6) Verify that the sum of three quantities \(x\), \(y\), \(z\), whose product is a constant \(k\), is maximum when these three quantities are equal.

(7) Find the maximum or minimum of the function \[u = x + 2xy + y.\]

(8) The post-office regulations state that no parcel is to be of such a size that its length plus its girth exceeds \(6\) feet. What is the greatest volume that can be sent by post (*a*) in the case of a package of rectangular cross section; (*b*) in the case of a package of circular cross section.

(9) Divide \(\pi\) into \(3\) parts such that the continued product of their sines may be a maximum or minimum.

(10) Find the maximum or minimum of \(u = \dfrac{e^{x+y}}{xy}\).

(11) Find maximum and minimum of \[u = y + 2x – 2 \ln y – \ln x.\]

(12) A telpherage bucket of given capacity has the shape of a horizontal isosceles triangular prism with the apex underneath, and the opposite face open. Find its dimensions in order that the least amount of iron sheet may be used in its construction.