Derivative of Tangent Function

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$D_x \left({\tan x}\right) = \sec^2 x = \dfrac 1 {\cos^2 x}$

when $\cos x \ne 0$.


$\map {D_x} {\tan a x} = a \sec^2 a x$

Proof 1

From the definition of the tangent function:

$\tan x = \dfrac {\sin x} {\cos x}$

From Derivative of Sine Function:

$D_x \left({\sin x}\right) = \cos x$

From Derivative of Cosine Function:

$D_x \left({\cos x}\right) = -\sin x$


\(\displaystyle D_x \left({\tan x}\right)\) \(=\) \(\displaystyle \frac {\cos x \cos x - \sin x \left({-\sin x}\right)} {\cos^2 x}\) Quotient Rule for Derivatives
\(\displaystyle \) \(=\) \(\displaystyle \frac {\cos^2 x + \sin^2 x} {\cos^2 x}\)
\(\displaystyle \) \(=\) \(\displaystyle \frac 1 {\cos^2 x}\) Sum of Squares of Sine and Cosine

This is valid only when $\cos x \ne 0$.

The result follows from the Secant is Reciprocal of Cosine.


Proof 2

\(\displaystyle D_x \left({\tan x}\right)\) \(=\) \(\displaystyle \lim_{h \mathop \to 0} \frac {\tan \left({x + h}\right) - \tan \left({x}\right)} h\) Definition of Derivative of Real Function at Point
\(\displaystyle \) \(=\) \(\displaystyle \lim_{h \mathop \to 0} \frac {\frac {\tan \left({x}\right) + \tan \left({h}\right)} {1 - \tan \left({x}\right) \tan \left({h}\right)} - \tan \left({x}\right)} h\) Tangent of Sum
\(\displaystyle \) \(=\) \(\displaystyle \lim_{h \mathop \to 0} \frac {\frac {\tan \left({x}\right) + \tan \left({h}\right) - \tan \left({x}\right) + \tan^2 \left({x}\right) \tan \left({h}\right)} {1 - \tan \left({x}\right) \tan \left({h}\right)} } h\)
\(\displaystyle \) \(=\) \(\displaystyle \lim_{h \mathop \to 0} \frac {\tan \left({h}\right) + \tan^2 \left({x}\right) \tan \left({h}\right)} {h \left({1 - \tan \left({x}\right) \tan \left({h}\right)}\right)}\)
\(\displaystyle \) \(=\) \(\displaystyle \lim_{h \mathop \to 0} \frac {1 + \tan^2 \left({x}\right)} {1 - \tan \left({x}\right) \tan \left({h}\right)} \cdot \lim_{h \mathop \to 0} \frac {\tan \left({h}\right)} h\) Product Rule for Limits of Functions
\(\displaystyle \) \(=\) \(\displaystyle \frac{ 1 + \tan^2 \left({x}\right)} {1 - \tan \left({x}\right) \tan \left({0}\right)} \cdot 1\) Limit of Tan X over X
\(\displaystyle \) \(=\) \(\displaystyle 1 + \tan^2 \left({x}\right)\) Tangent of Zero
\(\displaystyle \) \(=\) \(\displaystyle \sec^2 \left({x}\right)\) Corollary to Sum of Squares of Sine and Cosine
\(\displaystyle \) \(=\) \(\displaystyle \frac 1 {\cos^2 \left({x}\right)}\) Secant is Reciprocal of Cosine ($\cos \left({x}\right) \ne 0$)