The calculation of the optimum value of a function of two variables is a common requirement in many areas of engineering, for example in thermodynamics. Unlike the case of a function of one variable we have to use more complicated criteria to distinguish between the various types of stationary point.
- understand the idea of a function of two variables
- be able to work out partial derivatives
- identify local maximum points, local minimum points and saddle points on the surface
- use first partial derivatives to locate the stationary points of a function
- use second partial derivatives to determine the nature of a stationary point
2 Location of stationary points
3 The nature of a stationary point