Differentiation by Substitution

Differentiation by Substitution:

  • Differentiation by substitution is a technique used to simplify the process of finding derivatives by replacing complex expressions with simpler variables.
  • It's based on the chain rule and often involves substituting one variable or expression with another to make the derivative calculation more manageable.

Steps for Differentiation by Substitution:

  1. Identify a complex part of the function that can be substituted with a simpler variable.

  2. Choose an appropriate substitution:

    • Select a new variable or expression to replace the complex part of the function.
    • Ensure the substitution makes the differentiation process easier.
  3. Compute the derivative using the substituted variable:

    • Differentiate the function with respect to the new variable.
    • Substitute back the original expression to express the derivative in terms of the original variable.


Given the function y=sin(3x2+5):

  1. Identify the complex part: 3x2+5

  2. Choose a substitution: Let u=3x2+5.

  3. Compute the derivative using substitution:

    • Express y as y=sin(u).
    • Find dydu. dydu=cos(u)
    • Now, find dudx : dudx=6x
    • Apply the chain rule: dydx=dydududx. dydx=cos(u)6x
    • Substitute back u=3x2+5 and cos(u)=cos(3x2+5) : dydx=6xcos(3x2+5)

Tips for Substitution in Differentiation:

  • Choose effective substitutions:

    • Opt for substitutions that simplify the expression and make differentiation easier.
  • Chain Rule Application:

    • Remember to apply the chain rule when differentiating the substituted expression.
  • Substitution Reversal:

    • Substitute back the original expression to express the final derivative in terms of the original variable.

Advantages of Substitution in Differentiation:

  • Simplification of Complex Functions:

    • It helps handle intricate functions by replacing parts with simpler expressions.
  • Ease in Calculation:

    • Substitution often makes differentiation more straightforward, especially for functions involving nested or composite structures.

Special Cases:

  • Nested Functions:

    • Particularly useful for functions within functions, making nested derivatives more manageable.
  • Inverse Functions:

    • Substitution can aid in finding derivatives of inverse functions by choosing appropriate substitutions.