# Solving Exact Differential Equations

Here I introduce you to a method for solving the first-order differential equation

M(x, y)dx + N(x, y)dy = 0

for the special case in which this equation represents the exact differential of a function z = f(x, y).

step 1: Test for Exactness

Let M and N have continuous partial derivatives. The differential equation is exact if and only if ­­­

∂­­M/∂­­y = ∂­­­N/∂­­­x.

step 2:

equation 1 -> ∂­­u/∂­­x = M                          equation 2 -> ∂­­­u/∂­­y = N

step 3: Integrate equation 1 with respect to x

equation A -> ∂u = M ∂­­x + k(y)

Note: If you integrate equation 1 then take constant as k(y), as above. Otherwise if you integrate equation 2, which is with respect to y, then you’ll have to take h(x) as a constant.

step 4: Partially differentiate with respect to y

∂­­­u/∂­­y = ∂­­­/∂­­y M ∂­­x + ∂­­­/∂­­y k(y)

use the equation 1 and 2 from the step 2 to substitute,

∂­­­u = M ∂­­x,                M ∂­­x/∂­­y = N.

So, left and right side cancels,

∴ ∂­­­/∂­­y k(y) = 0,       k(y) = 0.

step 5: Put the value of k(y) or h(x) in equation A & finally substitute u=c.

Example Question: (x3 + 3xy2)dx + (3x2y + y2)dy = 0

M = (x3 + 3xy2),       N = (3x2y + y2).

Differential w.r.t y -> My = 6xy,

Differential w.r.t x -> Nx = 6xy.

step 1: My = Nx (Exact).

step 2: equation 1 -> ∂­­u/∂­­x = (x3 + 3xy2),                    equation 2 -> ∂­­­u/∂­­y = (3x2y + y2).

step 3: Integrate equation 1 w.r.t x ∂u = (x3 + 3xy2) ∂­­x

equation A -> u = x4/4 + 3/2 x2y2 + k(y).

step 4: Partially differentiate equation A w.r.t y

N = ∂­­­u/∂­­y = 3x2y+ ∂­­­/∂­­y k(y)

now substitute N,

3x2y + y2 = 3x2y+ ∂­­­/∂­­y k(y)

y2 = ∂­­­/∂­­y k(y)

integrate to get the value of k(y),

k(y) = y3/3.

step 5: substitute k(y) and u=c,

x4/4 + 3/2 x2y2 + y3/3 = c.

1 Comment
1. Reply Kyla Pozar February 6, 2018 at 12:53 AM

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