Siddharth Kalla91.5K reads

Non-linear relationship is fundamental to most physical and statistical phenomena and their study is important to fully understand the world around.

Discover 34 more articles on this topic

Don't miss these related articles:

- 1Statistical Hypothesis Testing
- 2Relationships
- 3Correlation
- 4Regression
- 5Student’s T-Test
- 6ANOVA
- 7Nonparametric Statistics
- 8Other Ways to Analyse Data

Linear relationships are the easiest to understand and study and a number of very important physical phenomena are linear. However, it doesn't cover the whole ambit of our mathematical techniques and non-linear relationships are fundamental to a number of most important and intriguing physical and social phenomena around.

As their name suggest, non-linear relationships are not linear, which means by doubling one variable, the other variable will not double.

There are an endless variety of non-linear relationships that one can encounter. However, most of them can still fit into other categories, like polynomial, logarithmic, etc.

- The side of a square and its area are not linear. In fact, this is a quadratic relationship. If you double the side of a square, its area will increase 4 times.
- While charging a capacitor, the amount of charge and time are non-linearly dependent. Thus the capacitor is not twice as charged after 2 seconds as it was after 1 second. This is an exponential relationship.

Even though non-linear relationships are much more complicated than linear ones, they can be studied in their own right. If you are studying these, you should first see if they fit any standard shapes like parabolas or exponential curves. These are commonly occurring relationships between variables.

For example, the pressure and volume of nitrogen during an isentropic expansion are related as PV1.4 which is highly non-linear but fits neatly into this equation.

Next, a number of non-linear relationships are monotonic in nature. This means they do not oscillate and steadily increase or decrease. This is good to study because they behave qualitatively like linear relationships for a number of cases.

A linear relationship is the simplest to understand and therefore can serve as the first approximation of a non-linear relationship. The limits of validity need to be well noted. In fact, a number of phenomena were thought to be linear but later scientists realized that this was only true as an approximation.

Consider special theory of relativity that redefined our perceptions of space and time. It gives the full non-linear relationship between variables. They can very well be approximated to be linear in Newtonian mechanics as a first approximation at lower speeds. If you consider momentum, in Newtonian mechanics it is linearly dependent on velocity. If you double the velocity, the momentum will double. However, at speeds approaching those of light, this becomes a highly non-linear relationship.

Some of the greatest scientific challenges need the study of non-linear relationships. The study of turbulence, which is one of the greatest unsolved problems in science and engineering, needs the study of a non-linear differential equation.

Full reference:

Siddharth Kalla (Feb 17, 2011). Non-Linear Relationship. Retrieved Dec 15, 2019 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/non-linear-relationship

The text in this article is licensed under the Creative Commons-License Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

This means you're free to copy, share and adapt any parts (or all) of the text in the article, as long as you give ** appropriate credit** and

That is it. You don't need our permission to copy the article; just include a link/reference back to this page. You can use it freely (with some kind of link), and we're also okay with people reprinting in publications like books, blogs, newsletters, course-material, papers, wikipedia and presentations (with clear attribution).

Discover 34 more articles on this topic

Don't miss these related articles:

- 1Statistical Hypothesis Testing
- 2Relationships
- 3Correlation
- 4Regression
- 5Student’s T-Test
- 6ANOVA
- 7Nonparametric Statistics
- 8Other Ways to Analyse Data

Thank you to...

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 827736.

Subscribe / Share

- Subscribe to our RSS Feed
- Like us on Facebook
- Follow us on Twitter
- Founder:
- Oskar Blakstad Blog
- Oskar Blakstad on Twitter

Explorable.com - 2008-2019

You are free to copy, share and adapt any text in the article, as long as you give *appropriate credit* and *provide a link/reference* to this page.