How are limits (Calculus limits) used or applied to daily life? Or applied to the real world problems? I need a couple of examples! Thanks!

1 Answer | Add Yours

lfryerda's profile pic

lfryerda | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

Real-life limits are used any time you have some type of real-world application approach a steady-state solution.  

As an example, we could have a chemical reaction in a beaker start with two chemicals that form a new compound over time.  The amount of the new compound is the limit of a function as time approaches infinity.

Similarly, if you drop an ice cube in a glass of warm water and measure the temperature with time, the temperature eventually approaches the room temperature where the glass is stored.  Measuring the temperature is a limit again as time approaches infinity.

Limits are also used as real-life approximations to calculating derivatives.  It is very difficult to calculate a derivative of complicated motions in real-life situations.  So, to make calculations, engineers will approximate a function using small differences in the a function and then try and calculate the derivative of the function by having smaller and smaller spacing in the function sample intervals.  For example, when designing the engine of a new car, an engineer may model the gasoline through the car's engine with small intervals called a mesh, since the geometry of the engine is too complicated to get exactly with simply functions such as polynomials.  These approximations always use limits.

We’ve answered 319,816 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question