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When solving a system of differential equations numerically, I get two interpolating functions. I can graph both of these, but when I try to evaluate either of the functions at a point, it just spits out:


x1[t] is the interpolating function, and 5 is the number I chose to try to evaluate it at.

I set prsol=NDSolve[blah blah] To evaluate it, I've tried:




Both of these spit out {x1[5]} which is contrary to what the F1 Help says it should do.

P0h = 1.856*10^7;
V0h = .826063;
T0 = 299.817
g = 9.81;
Vh[x_] := Vr - x*Aac;
Vl[x_] := Vst + x*Abe;
m1 = 290000;
m4 = 9021;
k3 = 8*10^6;
R = 8.3144621;
Tc = 126.1;
Pc = 3.394*10^6;
ω = .040;
b = .07779607*(R*Tc)/Pc;
Trr[T_] := T/Tc;
κ = .37464 + 1.54226 ω - .26993 ω^2
α[T_] := (1 + κ (1 - Sqrt[Trr[T]]))^2
ac = .45723553*(R^2*Tc^2)/Pc;
a[T_] := ac*α[T]
nh = (P0h*V0h)/(R*T0);
nl = (P0l*V0l)/(R*T0);
Vmolh[x_] := Vh[x]/nh
Vmoll[x_] := Vl[x]/nl

Ppr[x_] := (R*T0)/(Vmolh[x] - b) - 
  a[T0]/(Vmolh[x]^2 + 2*b*Vmolh[x] - b^2)

Fpr[x_] := 
 Aac ((R*T0)/(Vmolh[x] - b) - 
     a[T0]/(Vmolh[x]^2 + 2*b*Vmolh[x] - b^2)) - 
  Abe ((R*T0)/(Vmoll[x] - b) - 
     a[T0]/(Vmoll[x]^2 + 2*b*Vmoll[x] - b^2))

A1 = .1;
ω2 = π/4;
c = 10000;
d = 300000;

ctipmot[t_] := A1 Cos[ω2 t]

prsol = NDSolve[{-c x4'[t] - 
     k3 ((m4 g + Fpr[54/39.3701])/k3 + ctipmot[t] + x4[t]) + 
     Fpr[x1[t] - x4[t] + 54/39.3701] + m4 g == 
    m4 x4''[t], -c x1'[t] - d x1'[t]*Abs[x1'[t]] - 
     Fpr[x1[t] - x4[t] + 54/39.3701] + m1 g == m1 x1''[t], x1[0] == 1,
    x4[0] == 0, x1'[0] == 0, x4'[0] == 0}, {x1[t], x4[t]}, {t, 0, 

{{x1[t] -> InterpolatingFunction[{{0.,100.}},<>][t],x4[t] -> InterpolatingFunction[{{0.,100.}},<>][t]}}

Plot[Evaluate[x1[t] /. prsol], {t, 0, 32}]

^That gives me a graph

Evaluate[x1[5] /. prsol]

^That gives me:


instead of a value.

share|improve this question
Please provide more details or a minimal working code example that shows the behaviour to increase your chances of getting a helpful answer. – Thies Heidecke Aug 20 '13 at 13:17
Thanks! I also want to use the function x1[t] for other things such as plotting the derivative, or plugging that function into another function f(x[t]). How would I do that? – matt Aug 20 '13 at 13:56
Thank you everyone! I'm new to this site, clearly, and am not sure how to upvote or whatever the due process is for people helping me out. What am I supposed to do now? – matt Aug 20 '13 at 14:08
matt, since no one has actually posted an answer there's not really anything you can do. Normally you would up-vote any helpful answers, and Accept a (single) fully satisfactory one (you can change which one is Accepted at any time). These actions would be accomplished by using the up arrow and check-mark to the left of the answer. You will not be able to vote until you have a bit more reputation but you can still Accept. – Mr.Wizard Aug 20 '13 at 15:12
@PlatoManiac Perhaps you would like to post an answer? – Mr.Wizard Aug 20 '13 at 15:13
up vote 4 down vote accepted

In Mathematica when one numerically solves differential equations using NDSolve it is often preferable to specify the dependent variables as {x,y,..}. In this case the symbols x,y and so on will each be assigned with an InterpolatingFunction object via a Rule generated by the NDSolve output. Following is an example!

s = First@NDSolve[{x'[t] == -y[t] - x[t]^2, y'[t] == 2 x[t] - y[t]^3, 
    x[0] == y[0] == 1}, {x, y}, {t, 20}]


Now you can plot using

ParametricPlot[Evaluate[{x[k], y[k]} /. s], {k, 0, 20}]

Or evaluate the value of the function or its derivatives at certain points as usual.



Now what is wrong if you use

sBad = First@NDSolve[{x'[t] == -y[t] - x[t]^2, y'[t] == 2 x[t] - y[t]^3, 
    x[0] == y[0] == 1}, {x[[t], y[t]}, {t, 20}]


The main problem is Rule is assigning the solution in different format here. So evaluation at a single point becomes more involved which is probably unnecessary.

MapThread[#1 /. s /. t -> #2 &, 
         {({x[t], y[t], D[x[t] /. s, t], D[y[t] /. s, {t, 2}]}), {12, 9, 5, 15}}]

{-0.0801173, 0.0557406, -0.386381, -0.379341}

Hence you will need to replace every x[t] type expressions and you will need to use the independent variable t. Hope I could explain the issues u complained about. I will suggest that you play with the documentation examples more thoroughly as it has tons of useful information varying from basic to advance topics.


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