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4.3 Exponential Decay

4.3 Exponential Decay
  • Math Help

    Note in Example 2 that n represents the height (in thousands of feet) and not elapsed time. The relationship between the height and atmospheric pressure, however, can be modeled by the formula for exponential decay. Also, because n is the height in thousands of feet, be sure you understand that n = 35 corresponds to a height of 35,000 feet.

    For more information about sea level, visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    Download the spreadsheet to access the data used to make the graph in Example 2.

  • Consumer Suggestion

    The prices of plane tickets can be affected by the time of year, fuel costs, airport costs, time of day, and your destination. If you're thinking of taking a trip, you can compare plane ticket prices from various airline companies through websites like Kayak and Travelocity.


    Some tips for a good flying experience include:

    • Give yourself plenty of time for check-in and security.
    • Pack chewing gum, hand sanitizer, phone charger, and items to keep busy (magazines, books, music) in your carry-on bag.
    • Avoid using blankets and pillows provided by the airline. You don't know who used them before you.

    For more travel tips and information, visit The Independent Traveler.

  • Checkpoint Solution

    The formula for this exponential decay is

    At 14,000 feet, the atmospheric pressure is

    At 20,320 feet, the atmospheric pressure is

    So, the atmospheric pressure decreases by about atmosphere as you climb from 14,000 to 20,320 feet.

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