AP Calculus

Implicit Function Graphing Tool

"Standard" graphing software, such as the typical graphing calculator, will only graph explicit functions - that is, functions of the form y = f(x), such as y = x2 - 2x + 1, or y = sin x, but will not graph implicit functions, such as x2 + xy - 2y2 = 6, or x = sin y. Since implicitly-defined functions can be difficult and time-consuming to graph by hand, to graph an implicitly-defined function one must either solve for y (which can be "difficult to impossible"), try converting to polar coordinates (which only helps occasionally) or do without the graph.

The JAVA applet below is designed to conveniently display the graphs of implicitly-defined functions. Actually, it will graph explicit functions quite well also, but it does lack many of the features a graphing calculator. However, if you want to add a tangent line to a graph, or something like that - no problem (I hope...).

For Those Who Read Instructions:


last update April 13, 2008 by JL Stanbrough