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[SOLVED] method of integrating factor


Well-known member
Jan 31, 2012
$\textsf{3. use the method of integrating factor}\\$
$\textsf{to find the general solution to the first order linear differential equation}\\$
$\textit{clueless !!!}$
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Staff member
Feb 24, 2012
Given a first order linear ODE of the form:

\(\displaystyle \d{y}{x}+f(x)y=g(x)\)

We can use an integrating factor $\mu(x)$ to make the LHS of the ODE into the derivative of a product, using the special properties of the exponential function with regard to differentiation. Consider what happens if we multiply though by:

\(\displaystyle \mu(x)=\exp\left(\int f(x)\,dx\right)\)

We get:

\(\displaystyle \exp\left(\int f(x)\,dx\right)\d{y}{x}+\exp\left(\int f(x)\,dx\right)f(x)y=g(x)\exp\left(\int f(x)\,dx\right)\)

Now, let's use:

\(\displaystyle F(x)=\int f(x)\,dx\implies F'(x)=f(x)\)

And we now have:

\(\displaystyle \exp\left(F(x)\right)\d{y}{x}+\exp\left(F(x)\right)F'(x)y=g(x)\exp\left(F(x)\right)\)

Now, if we observe that, via the product rule, we have:

\(\displaystyle \frac{d}{dx}\left(\exp(F(x))y\right)=\exp\left(F(x)\right)\d{y}{x}+\exp\left(F(x)\right)F'(x)y\)

Then, we may now write our ODE as:

\(\displaystyle \frac{d}{dx}\left(\exp(F(x))y\right)=g(x)\exp\left(F(x)\right)\)

Now, we may integrate both sides w.r.t $x$.

So, in the given ODE:

\(\displaystyle \d{y}{x}+5y=10x\)

We identify: \(\displaystyle f(x)=5\)

And so we compute the integrating factor as:

\(\displaystyle \mu(x)=\exp\left(5\int\,dx\right)=\)?


Well-known member
Jan 31, 2012
wow that was a great help. but I'll have go thru this tonmorro ...

ok, got it, but have never come up with that😎
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