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Integration example

We are asked to evaluate


Z
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


Z Z Z
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

Z Z
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

Z
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
Z
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

Z
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

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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.