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Integration example

We are asked to evaluate

sin x
I= dx.
cos x − sin x

We start by noticing that by multiplying the numerator and denominator of the integrand by
(cos x + sin x) the bottom becomes the difference of two squares, namely (cos2 x − sin2x) = cos 2x

We now have the following

sin x cos x + sin2x sin2x

sin x cos x
I= dx = dx + dx.
cos 2x cos 2x cos 2x

After substituting in some trigonometric identities, this can be written as

1 2 sin x cos x 1 1 − cos 2x
I= dx + dx
2 cos 2x 2 cos 2x

Z Z Z 
1 sin 2x 1 1
= dx + dx − dx .
2 cos 2x 2 cos 2x

We integrate these individually. We notice the first integrand of the form g(f (x))f ′(x) where
f (x) = cos 2x. So we solve this by substitution which yields

1 sin 2x 1
dx = − ln|cos 2x|.
2 cos 2x 4

The second is a combination of a standard result and the chain rule. We integrate to obtain
1 1
dx = ln|tan 2x + sec 2x|.
cos 2x 2

The final integrand is a constant and so can be written down straight away. Combining
everything, and adding the constant of integration at the end, we have

sin x 1 1 x
I= dx = − ln|cos 2x| + |tan 2x + sec 2x| − + k
cos x − sin x 4 4 2

1 tan 2x + sec 2x x
= ln − 2 + k.
4 cos 2x

This question was taken from an OCR FP2 textbook by Cambridge University Press, the answer
1 x
they give in the back is − 2 ln|cos x − sin x| − 2 + k, which looks similar to ours, but how can we
check? Well if we plt both functions on a graph, they should differ by no more than a constant
thanks to the fundamental theorem of calculus. I plotted the functions using maxima, and it
appeared to only show a single plot, this was encouraging. But I did add a constant on the end
of one of the functions hoping to spread them out, and this is what the graph looked like

Although not very clear, it’s easy to see that the two functions differ only by a constant, and
we’re able to sleep easy at night, knowing that we got a sensible answer.