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separation of variables

noun, Mathematics
1.
a grouping of the terms of an ordinary differential equation so that associated with each differential is a factor consisting entirely of functions of the independent variable appearing in the differential.
2.
a process of finding a particular solution of a partial differential equation in the form of a product of factors that each involve only one of the variables.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Article for separation of variables

one of the oldest and most widely used techniques for solving some types of partial differential equations. A partial differential equation is called linear if the unknown function and its derivatives have no exponent greater than one and there are no cross-terms-i.e., terms such as f f' or f'f'' in which the function or its derivatives appear more than once. An equation is called homogeneous if each term contains the function or one of its derivatives. For example, the equation f'+f 2=0 is homogeneous but not linear, f'+x2=0 is linear but not homogeneous, and fxx+fyy=0 is both homogeneous and linear

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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