Derivative of a Function with Respect to Another Function

Derivative of a Function with Respect to Another Function:

  • The derivative of a function with respect to another function involves understanding how changes in one function affect the rate of change of another function.


  • Given two functions y=f(x) and x=g(t), if y depends on x and x depends on t, we can denote the derivative of y with respect to t as dydt.

Chain Rule for Functions of a Single Variable:

  • If y=f(u) and u=g(x), then the chain rule states: dydx=dydududx

Extension to Derivative with Respect to Another Function:

  • Given: y=f(u) and u=g(x), also x=h(t)
  • The derivative of y with respect to t is calculated as follows: dydt=dydududxdxdt


Given y=sin(3x), x=t2+1, find dydt.

  1. Calculate dydx and dxdt: dydx=3cos(3x) dxdt=2t

  2. Apply the chain rule: dydt=dydxdxdt=3cos(3x)2t=6tcos(3x) Substitute x=t2+1 into the expression: dydt=6tcos(3(t2+1))

Key Considerations:

  • Sequential Dependency of Functions:

    • Ensure the sequential relationship between the functions is well-defined for accurate differentiation.
  • Chain Rule Application:

    • Apply the chain rule successively for functions dependent on multiple variables.


  • Physics and Dynamics:

    • Understanding how the rate of change of one variable depends on changes in another variable is crucial in physics, particularly in problems involving multiple forces or interactions.
  • Economics and Optimization:

    • In economics, this concept is applied in optimization problems to analyze the interdependence of variables in models.

Special Cases:

  • Implicit Functions:

    • Derivatives of implicitly defined functions involving multiple variables often require this concept to find the rate of change.
  • Optimization Problems:

    • Problems aiming to optimize one function while considering the dependence on another function utilize this concept for modeling and finding optimal solutions.