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II. Multiple Integrals and Applications II.

a Introduction To motivate what follows, let us consider a prototype problem: We are given a at metal plate of shape D as shown, and we suppose f (x, y) is the (variable) density of the plate.

x D the plate

The problem is to nd the mass of the plate. Here density = mass/area. To solve this problem, we divide D into a rectangular grid of rectangles Ri with sides x, y.

y x


Since D is usually not rectangular, some rectangles may extend beyond the boundary of D while small parts of D may be missed. We choose in any rectangle Ri a point (xi , yi ) in Ri , and note the mass of the rectangle Ri f (xi , yi )xy.

We obtain an approximation to the total mass M of the plate by summing the approximate masses of the rectangles. I.e., M

f (xi , yi )xy.

It is clear that this formula is only an approximation: the rectangles do not exactly cover the plate, and the mass of each rectangle is not exactly f (xi , yi )xy due to changes of f in the rectangle. It is also clear that as the rectangles become smaller in area, these errors should decrease. It seems logical to set M = lim f (xi , yi )xy .

x0 y0

This is precisely the process that underlies the formal mathematical treatment of what we are going to do. It can be shown that for practical f the limit exists. Much software is also based upon this approach. For our purposes, however, we face the diculty that to nd the mass M in this way we need to actually evaluate the limit on the right hand side! We proceed in a related but somewhat dierent way, which works very well for practical problems. First, however, some notation: Given any region D and any function f (positive or not) we dene the double integral of f over D by f dA = lim

x0 y0

f (xi , yi ) x y


where we set dA = dx dy, and we call

f (xi , yi ) x y

a Riemann Sum. Now we introduce in this prototype case our approach. This is similar to what was done in 1-d problems where we had to calculate area under a curve. There too we had an approximating sum and, in the limit, obtained an integral. Consider again a plate D with density f (x, y). We decompose the plate D into elementary regions of area dx dy.
y dx y=h(x)

dy D x


y = g (x)


Again the mass of a subregion is f (x, y)dx dy. For the next step, we need to know equations which describe the boundary of D. Let us suppose these are y = h(x), y = g(x), x = a, x = b as shown. We next calculate the mass of a slice, that is, the mass of D between x and x + dx. To do this, we add the masses of the rectangles (from y = g(x) to y = h(x)) and take the limit as dy 0. I.e., we integrate.

y y=h(x)

x x x + dx x=b


y = g (x)

Note that here x is a constant. So the mass of a slice between x and x + dx is


f (x, y) dy dx.

We now add the masses of all the slices, from the rst one at x = a to the last at x = b, and let dx 0. I.e., we integrate again! So
b h(x)

x=a y=g(x)

f (x, y) dx dy.

This example shows what we are going to do in detail for the next several sections. We conclude with the following comments. 1. That what we calculate (iterated integrals) is the same as the double integral rst introduced, can be formally shown by mathematical techniques such as Fubinis Theorem. We will not be concerned with these arguments in this course. 2. The specic assembly of the rectangles into slices depends on how the boundary of D is given. We may assemble the rectangles left to right rather than up and down, or may use polar coordinates. All these situations are discussed in detail below.

3. The key steps are: (a) decomposition of region into subregions for which the sought quantity can be calculated, (b) sum and limit (i.e., integration) of the subregion quantity to obtain the nal answer. As such, we can also do three dimensional problems. We decomposed a solid into cubes, and then assemble the cubes into columns, followed by assembling the columns into slices. We add and then take the limit (i.e., integrate) the slices contribution to get the nal answer. Once again this process will be carried out in detail below.