Skip Nav

Method of undetermined coefficients

Navigation menu

❶So, what went wrong? We write down the guess for the polynomial and then multiply that by a cosine.

The Method of Undetermined Coefficients




For complex equations, the annihilator method or variation of parameters is less time consuming to perform. Undetermined coefficients is not as general a method as variation of parameters , since it only works for differential equations that follow certain forms.

In order to find the particular integral, we need to 'guess' its form, with some coefficients left as variables to be solved for. This takes the form of the first derivative of the complementary function. Below is a table of some typical functions and the solution to guess for them. If a term in the above particular integral for y appears in the homogeneous solution, it is necessary to multiply by a sufficiently large power of x in order to make the solution independent.

If the function of x is a sum of terms in the above table, the particular integral can be guessed using a sum of the corresponding terms for y. The 16 in front of the function has absolutely no bearing on our guess.

Any constants multiplying the whole function are ignored. We will start this one the same way that we initially started the previous example. The guess for the polynomial is. Notice that everywhere one of the unknown constants occurs it is in a product of unknown constants.

This means that if we went through and used this as our guess the system of equations that we would need to solve for the unknown constants would have products of the unknowns in them.

These types of systems are generally very difficult to solve. So, to avoid this we will do the same thing that we did in the previous example. Everywhere we see a product of constants we will rename it and call it a single constant. This is a general rule that we will use when faced with a product of a polynomial and a trig function. We write down the guess for the polynomial and then multiply that by a cosine. We then write down the guess for the polynomial again, using different coefficients, and multiply this by a sine.

This final part has all three parts to it. First, we will ignore the exponential and write down a guess for. Writing down the guesses for products is usually not that difficult. The difficulty arises when you need to actually find the constants. This fact can be used to both find particular solutions to differential equations that have sums in them and to write down guess for functions that have sums in them. There is nothing to do with this problem.

All that we need to do it go back to the appropriate examples above and get the particular solution from that example and add them all together.

This is in the table of the basic functions. However, we wanted to justify the guess that we put down there. Using the fact on sums of function we would be tempted to write down a guess for the cosine and a guess for the sine.

So, we would get a cosine from each guess and a sine from each guess. The problem with this as a guess is that we are only going to get two equations to solve after plugging into the differential equation and yet we have 4 unknowns. We will never be able to solve for each of the constants. The general rule of thumb for writing down guesses for functions that involve sums is to always combine like terms into single terms with single coefficients.

This will greatly simplify the work required to find the coefficients. For this one we will get two sets of sines and cosines. This will arise because we have two different arguments in them. The main point of this problem is dealing with the constant. We just wanted to make sure that an example of that is somewhere in the notes. If you recall that a constant is nothing more than a zeroth degree polynomial the guess becomes clear. All we did was move the 9. However, upon doing that we see that the function is really a sum of a quadratic polynomial and a sine.

The guess for this is then. Notice however that if we were to multiply the exponential in the second term through we would end up with two terms that are essentially the same and would need to be combined.

This is a case where the guess for one term is completely contained in the guess for a different term. Therefore, we will take the one with the largest degree polynomial in front of it and write down the guess for that one and ignore the other term. So, the guess for the function is. This last part is designed to make sure you understand the general rule that we used in the last two parts. This time there really are three terms and we will need a guess for each term.

The guess here is. We can only combine guesses if they are identical up to the constant. So, when dealing with sums of functions make sure that you look for identical guesses that may or may not be contained in other guesses and combine them.

This will simplify your work later on. We have one last topic in this section that needs to be dealt with. In the first few examples we were constantly harping on the usefulness of having the complementary solution in hand before making the guess for a particular solution.

It is now time to see why having the complementary solution in hand first is useful. This problem seems almost too simple to be given this late in the section. There is not much to the guess here. The first step is to obtain the general solution of the corresponding homogeneous equation.

Since the auxiliary polynomial equation has distinct real roots,. Combining like terms and simplifying yields. Therefore, the desired solution of the IVP is. Now that the basic process of the method of undetermined coefficients has been illustrated, it is time to mention that is isn't always this straightforward. A problem arises if a member of a family of the nonhomogeneous term happens to be a solution of the corresponding homogeneous equation. In this case, that family must be modified before the general linear combination can be substituted into the original nonhomogeneous differential equation to solve for the undetermined coefficients.

The specific modification procedure will be introduced through the following alteration of Example 6. Find the complete solution of the differential equation. The general solution of the corresponding homogeneous equation was obtained in Example Multiply each member of the family by x and try again. Since the modified family no longer contains a solution of the corresponding homogeneous equation, the method of undetermined coefficients can now proceed.

First, obtain the general solution of the corresponding homogeneous equation.


Main Topics

Privacy Policy

In this section we introduce the method of undetermined coefficients to find particular solutions to nonhomogeneous differential equation. We work a wide variety of examples illustrating the many guidelines for making the initial guess of the form of the particular solution that is needed for the method.

Privacy FAQs

The Method of Undetermined Coefficients In order to give the complete solution of a nonhomogeneous linear differential equation, Theorem B says that a particular solution must be added to the general solution of the corresponding homogeneous equation.

About Our Ads

The method of undetermined coefficients is a technique for determining the particular solution to linear constant-coefficient differential equations. The method of undetermined coefficients is used to solve a class of nonhomogeneous second order differential equations. This method makes use of.

Cookie Info

Method of Undetermined Coefficients Problem. Find a particular solution y p of the constant coefficients linear equation a ny (n) +···+a 2y 00 +a 1y 0 +a 0y = g(x). We assume that g(x) = [polynomial]×[exponential]×[sinusoid]. Introduction to the method of undetermined coefficients for obtaining the particular solutions of ordinary differential equations, a list of trial functions, and a brief discussion of pors and cons of this method.