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Joint and Combined Variation Word Problems

In this lesson, we will learn how a quantity varies in relation to two or more other quantities.

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Joint variation is a variation where a quantity varies directly as the product of two or more other quantities. For example, the area of a rectangle varies whenever its length or its width varies. We say that , where A is the area, l is the length and w is the width.

Combined variation is a variation where a quantity depends on two (or more) other quantities, and varies directly with some of them and varies inversely with others.

Joint Variation

Example 1: A quantity varies inversely as two or more other quantities.

The figure below shows a rectangular solid with a fixed volume. Express its width, w, as a joint variation in terms of its length, l, and height, h.


In other words, the longer the length l or the height h, the narrower is the width w.

Example 2: A quantity varies directly as one quantity and inversely as another.

The speed, s, of a moving object varies directly as the distance traveled, d, and varies inversely as the time taken, t. Express s as a joint variation in terms of d and t.


In other words, the longer the distance or the shorter the time, the faster is the speed.

Suppose y varies jointly as x and z. What is y when x = 2 and z = 3, if y = 20 when x = 4 and z = 3?

Joint Variation
z varies jointly with x and y. when x = 3, y = 8, z = 6. Find z, when x = 6 and y = 4.

Direct, Inverse and Joint Variation
Determine whether the data in the table is an example of direct, inverse or joint variation. Then, identify the equation that represents the relationship.

Joint Variation Word Problems

Joint Variation Application
The energy that an item possesses due to its motion is called kinetic energy. The kinetic energy of an object (which is measured in joules) varies jointly with the mass of the object and the square of its velocity.
If the kinetic energy of a 3 kg ball traveling 12 m/s is 216 Joules, how is the mass of a ball that generates 250 Joules of energy when traveling at 10 m/s?

Joint Variation Problem involving Volume
If the height of a rectangular solid is held constant, the volume varies jointly with the length and the width.
If the volume is 250 cubic inches then the length then the length is 10 inches and the width is 5 inches. Find the volume when the length is 9 inches and the width is 6 inches.

Joint Variation Word Problem
The Volume of a cone, V, varies jointly with its height, h, and the square of its radius, r. A cone with its radius measuring 6 feet and its height measuring 10 feet has a volume of 12π cubic feet. Find the volume of a cone having a radius of 12 feet and a height of 2 feet.

Combined Variation

y varies jointly as x and z and inversely as w, and y = 3/2, when x = 2, z =3 and w = 4. Find the equation of variation.

Combined Variation Word Problem

The number of minutes needed to solve some math problems varies directly as the number of problems and inversely as the number of people working on those problems. It takes 4 people 32 minutes to solve 16 problems. How many minutes will it take 8 people to solve 24 problems?

Joint and Combined Variation

How to solve problems involving joint and combined variation
1) If t varies jointly with u and the square of v, and t is 1152 when u is 8 and v is 4, find t when v is 5 and u is 5.
2) The amount of oil used by a ship traveling at a uniform speed varies jointly with the distance and the square of the speed. If the ship uses 200 barrels of oil in traveling 200 miles at 36 miles per hour, determine how many barrels of oil are used when the ship travels 360 miles at 18 miles per hour.
3) Designer Dolls found that its number of Dress-Up Dolls sold, N, varies directly with their advertising budget , A, and inversely proportional with the price of each doll, P. When $54,00 was spent on advertising and the price of the doll is $90, then 9,600 units are sold. Determine the number of dolls sold if the amount of advertising budget is increased to $144,000.

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