math

The atmospheric pressure P(h) (in pounds per square inch) at a height h (in miles) above sea level on Earth satisfies a differential equation P' = -kP for some positive constant k.

(a) Measurements with a barometer show that P(0) = 1.2 and P(9) = 0.7. What is the decay constant k?
(b) Determine the atmospheric pressure 14 miles above sea level.

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  1. P' = -kP
    dP/P = -k dh
    lnP = -kh + c

    P = c e^-kh
    P(0) = 1.2, so c = 1.2

    P = 1.2 e^-kh
    1.2 e^(-9k) = 0.7
    k = .06

    so,

    P(h) = 1.2 e^-.06h

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