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# What are some real world uses for linear functions?

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Real world uses for linear functions include solving problems and finding unknowns in engineering, economics and finances. A linear function describes a gradual rate of change, either positive or negative. When drawn, it presents a straight line.

## Keep Learning

Linear functions are a mathematical concept often taught first in an Algebra I class. Specific real world problems that can be solved using a linear function include:

• predicting equipment rental cost given a rate and rental period
• calculating profit for a small business
• taxes due on a particular amount of income
• in structural engineering design

Some real world examples with corresponding linear functions are:

• To convert a temperature from Celsius to Fahrenheit: F = 1.8C + 32
• To calculate the total monthly income for a salesperson with a base salary of \$1,500 plus a commission of \$400/unit sold: I = 400T + 1,500, where T represents the total number of units sold

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## Related Questions

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Mathematical functions are derived for the purpose of describing a set of unknown values the occur in everyday life. Physics is perhaps the best coursework to illuminate how functions can play an intimate role in even the most unlikely of events. The equation x = vt + 1/2at^2 not only describes motion, but it also covers a wide array of subjects relating to growth.

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Real-life examples of linear equations include distance and rate problems, pricing problems, calculating dimensions and mixing different percentages of solutions. One application of linear equations is illustrated in finding the time it takes for two cars moving toward each other at different speeds to reach the same point. Another example is estimating how much a shirt on sale for \$20 and marked down by 35 percent cost before the sale.

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Algebra has its beginning in the cultures of ancient Egypt and Babylonia between 1800 and 1600 B.C. Mathematicians of the time could solve for unknowns, but only used positive numbers. Their mathematics involved the use of few symbols and is called rhetorical algebra.

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Matrices are studied in linear algebra. One of their applications is the simple solution of systems of linear equations. An inverse matrix, when it exists, solves these systems through either the mathematics of manipulating these matrices or through numerical analysis by a software program, such as Matlab.