MATLAB Answers


is possible use some function to find derivatives of a vector?

Asked by jonathan valle on 30 Nov 2012
 by example:
NO2=( 1.1 2.4 3.3 4.7 5.9 6.0)' that corresponding to depth: Z=(4.5 6.2 8.4 10.3 12.5 14.8)' 
I want find d(NO2)/dz and d^2(NO2)/dz^2

Exist some function that calculate this?



3 Answers

Answer by Azzi Abdelmalek
on 30 Nov 2012
Edited by Azzi Abdelmalek
on 2 Dec 2012


NO2=[1.1 2.4 3.3 4.7 5.9 6.0]
Z=[4.5 6.2 8.4 10.3 12.5 14.8]


  1. diff(y)./diff(t) is an approximation of the first derivative g=dy/dt, In general diff(t) is a constant, then diff(y)./diff(t)=cst*diff(y) , with cst=unique(1/diff(t))
  2. the second derivative f=d(dy/dt)/dt is approximated by diff(cst*diff(y))./diff(t)=cst*diff(cst*diff(y))=cst^2*diff(diff(y))
  3. finally f=diff(diff(y))./diff(t).^2=diff(y,2)./diff(t).^2
Jan Simon
on 2 Dec 2012

As far as I can see, your approximation is based on the assumption, that Z is equidistant. This is neither the general case, nor does it match the question. Therefore I think, that this approximation in unnecessarily rough, especially if the 2nd derivative is wanted.

Your method, cropped edges:

d2 =  [-0.0826, 0.1385, -0.0413, -0.2079]

Suggest 2nd order method, one-sided differences at the edges:

d2 = [-0.0912, -0.0563, 0.0126, -0.0555, -0.1354, -0.1116]

No, even Z is not equidistant, there is no reason that diff(Z) will change at each point, we are not looking for the variation of Z, it's No2. if the approximation is bad, it's because the distance between Z's value is big. To improve the result, maybe we can interpolate.

Answer by Image Analyst
on 30 Nov 2012

How about the gradient() function?


Answer by Jan Simon
on 1 Dec 2012

Matlab's GRADIENT is accurate in the fist order only for not equidistant input. See FEX: DGradient and FEX: central_difference.


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