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Calculus-Triple integrals in Spherical coordinates

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We have already seen the advantage of changing to polar coordinates in some

double integral problems. The same situation happens for triple integrals. For this

case we introduce two coordinate systems besides our friend (x, y, z): the rst is

(r, , z) with (r, ) as given before; the second is (, , ) which we dene shortly.

We remark that there are many other coordinate systems which you may encounter

in applications, but only the ones given above will be developed in this course.

Since (r, , z) is essentially familiar to us, we merely note that dV in this case

is dV = (r dr d) dz. You should be aware that there are two other versions of this

system: (r, , y) and (r, , x). For (r, , y) we set

z= r sin

x= r cos

x

z

r

z= r sin

y= r cos .

y

z

r

We select one of the three possibilities based, once again, on how the boundary of

the solid is given. Please see the examples below.

148

We now pass to the spherical system: (, , ). This is dened as follows:

_

_

=

_

x

2

+ y

2

+ z

2

cos =

z

=

z

_

x

2

+ y

2

+ z

2

tan =

y

x

_

_

z = cos

y = sinsin

x = sincos .

c

o

s

s

in

x

y

z

(x , y , z)

These formulas enable us to move between the (x, y, z) system and the (, , )

system. We note the following: (a) measures the distance of a point to the

origin, and is thus nonnegative (unlike r); (b) corresponds to latitude; (c)

corresponds to longitude. Note that varies between 0 and (not 2) and = 0

corresponds to the positive z-axis. On the other hand, varies between 0 and 2,

just like before. To become a little more familiar with (, , ) we note:

Example 1. The sphere x

2

+ y

2

+ z

2

= a

2

becomes

2

sin

2

cos

2

+

2

sin

2

sin

2

+

2

cos

2

= a

2

or = a.

149

= a

x

y

z

Example 2. The cone z =

_

x

2

+ y

2

becomes

cos =

_

2

sin

2

cos

2

+

2

sin

2

sin

2

=

_

2

sin

2

= | sin| =

(sin 0!)

sin

or tan = 1, i.e., = /4.

= / 4

/ 4

x

y

z

Example 3. The plane: x y = 0 becomes

sincos = sinsin

or tan = 1, i.e., = /4 or = 5/4.

= / 4

= 5/4

x

y

z

150

What these three example show is that the surfaces = constant are spheres;

the surfaces = constant are cones; the surfaces = constant are 1/2 planes. This

coordinate system should always be considered for triple integrals where f(x, y, z)

becomes simpler when written in spherical coordinates and/or the boundary of the

solid involves (some) cones and/or spheres and/or planes.

We now consider the volume element dV in terms of (, , ). Suppose we

increase by d, by d and by d. We obtain a volume dV as shown in the

gure.

d

d

d sin

d

sin

d

x

y

z

d V

Just as had been the case for dA in polar coordinates, in the limit we can treat

dV as if it were a cube (this can be formally proved in theoretical mathematics

courses). We then get

dV = (d)( d)( sind) =

2

sin d dd.

Observe two facts:

(1) the units for dV are correct (length

3

),

(2) the presence of the term sin in ( sind). This is due to the fact that as

varies, the arm of rotation is sin and not . (Think of what happens

if is almost zero!)

151

We now pass to examples.

Example 4. Find the mass of the solid bounded by z = x

2

+ y

2

4 and z = 0 if

the density f(x, y, z) = 1 + x

2

+ y

2

.

Answer. We note that this problem begs for cylindrical coordinates. Indeed, z = 0

corresponds to x

2

+ y

2

= 4 (i.e., r = 2) and f = 1 + r

2

!

x + y = 4

x

y

z

2

z = x + y - 4

2

2 2

We can change to cylindrical coordinates immediately or half way through! Suppose

we start with (x, y, z). Then we get

Mass of cube = (1 + x

2

+ y

2

) dx dy dz

Mass of column =

_

z=0 (top)

z=x

2

+y

2

4 (bottom)

(1 + x

2

+ y

2

) dz dx dy

x

y

x + y = 4

2 2

152

Mass of slice =

_

4y

2

x=

4y

2

_

z=0

z=x

2

+y

2

4

(1 + x

2

+ y

2

) dz dx dy

Mass =

_

1

y=1

_

4y

2

x=

4y

2

_

z=0

z=x

2

+y

2

4

(1 + x

2

+ y

2

) dz dx dy.

Clearly evaluating this integral is going to be a lot of work! Instead, we switch to

cylindrical coordinates.

x

y x

y

z

Mass of cube = (1 + x

2

+ y

2

) dz r dr d = (1 + r

2

)r dz dr d

Mass of column =

_

0

z=r

2

4

(1 + r

2

)r dz dr d

Mass of slice =

_

2

r=0

_

0

z=r

2

4

(1 + r

2

)r dz dr d

Mass =

_

2

=0

_

2

r=0

_

0

z=r

2

4

(r + r

3

)dz dr d

=

_

2

=0

_

2

r=0

(r + r

3

)(r

2

4)dr d

=

_

2

=0

_

2

r=0

(4r + r

5

3r

3

) dr d

=

_

2

=0

_

2r

2

+

r

6

6

3r

4

4

_

2

0

d

153

= 2

_

8

64

6

+ 12

_

= 2

_

20

64

6

_

Example 5. Find the z coordinate of the center of mass of the solid consisting

of the part of the hemisphere z =

_

4 x

2

y

2

inside the cylinder x

2

+ y

2

= 2x if

the density = 1.

Answer. Again we try using cylindrical coordinates, this time from the start. Note

that x

2

+ y

2

= 2x is not centered at the origin.

x + y = 2x

z = 4 - x - y

2 2

2 2

x

y

z

We have, as before,

Mass of cube = dV = 1(r dr d) dz

Mass of column =

_

4r

2

z=0

r dz dr d.

Looking down we see the picture given below.

154

= / 2

= 2 /

r = 2 cos

r = 2

Note that x

2

+ y

2

= 2x becomes r = 2 cos , and thus

Mass =

_

2

=

2

_

2 cos

r=0

_

4r

2

z=0

r dz dr d.

(Note that we could also use symmetry here. We do instead the given integral to

practice.) So,

Mass =

_

2

2

_

2 cos

r=0

r

_

4 r

2

dr d

=

_

2

2

_

(4 r

2

)

3/2

3

2 cos

r=0

_

d (u = 4 r

2

)

=

1

3

_

2

2

[8 (4 4 cos

2

)

3/2

] d

=

1

3

_

2

2

_

8 (4 sin

2

)

3/2

_

d.

Attention: It would seem reasonable to write (4 sin

2

)

3/2

= 8 sin

3

but this is

WRONG! Actually, (4 sin

2

)

3/2

= (

4 sin

2

)

3

= 8| sin|

3

and, if /2 0,

| sin| = sin ! So, we split the integral:

Mass =

1

3

_ _

2

0

8(1 sin

3

) d +

_

0

2

8(1 + sin

3

) d

_

.

155

But,

_

2

0

sin

3

d =

_

2

0

(1 cos

2

) sin d = cos +

cos

3

2

0

=

2

3

,

_

0

2

sin

3

d = cos +

cos

3

2

=

2

3

and so

Mass =

8

3

_

2

2

3

_

+

8

3

_

2

2

3

_

=

16

3

_

2

2

3

_

.

Now for M

xy

M

xy

=

_

2

=

2

_

2 cos

r=0

_

4r

2

z=0

zr dz dr d =

_

2

=

2

_

2 cos

r=0

r

2

(4 r

2

) dr d

=

_

2

=

2

_

r

2

r

4

8

_

2 cos

r=0

d =

_

2

2

_

4 cos

2

16 cos

4

8

_

d

=

_

2

2

_

2(1 + cos 2) (1 + cos 2)

2

d

=

_

2

2

_

2(1 + cos 2)

_

1 + 2 cos 2 +

1 + cos 4

2

__

d

=

_

2

3

2

_

=

2

.

So

z =

2

3

16[

2

2

3

]

.

We now consider some examples using spherical coordinates.

Example 6. Find the mass of the hollow region bounded by the spheres x

2

+y

2

+

z

2

= 4 and x

2

+ y

2

+ z

2

= 1 if the density is directly proportional to the distance

from the origin.

156

Answer.

2 2 2

x + y + z = 1

( or = 1)

x + y + z = 4

2 2 2

( or = 2)

x

y

z

Now

dV =

2

sin d dd

density =

k

_

x

2

+ y

2

+ z

2

=

k

.

So we get

Mass M =

_

2

=0

_

=0

_

2

=1

k

2

sin d dd

=

_

2

=0

_

=0

_

k

2

(sin )

2

2

=1

_

dd

=

_

2

=0

_

=0

k

2

sin [4 1] dd

=

3

2

k

_

2

0

_

cos

0

d =

3

2

k 2 2 = 6k.

Can you imagine how hard the integrals would be if we tried to do this problem

using (x, y, z)!

157

Example 7. Evaluate by changing to spherical coordinates:

_

5

x=0

_

25x

2

y=0

_

50x

2

y

2

z=

x

2

+y

2

_

x

2

+ y

2

+ z

2

dz dy dx.

Answer. We start by sketching the region. Again, no work of art is needed, but

the picture should be good enough to determine the limits of integration. We rst

observe that the rst integral involves z, so the columns run up and down. So we

look down on the solid, and we note that x goes from 0 to 5 and for any x, y goes

from zero to y =

25 x

2

, i.e., x

2

+ y

2

= 25. It follows that if we look down on

the solid, we see a quarter of a circle.

x

y

Now for a given (x, y) in the quarter circle, z goes between z =

_

x

2

+ y

2

(i.e., a

cone) and z =

_

50 x

2

y

2

(i.e., x

2

+y

2

+z

2

= 50, and thus a sphere). Note that

the cone z =

_

x

2

+ y

2

and the sphere x

2

+y

2

+z

2

= 50 meet at x

2

+y

2

+x

2

+y

2

= 50,

i.e., x

2

+y

2

= 25 (and z =

of the points inside the cone and sphere and over the quarter circle.

158

x

y

z

Now

_

z =

_

x

2

+ y

2

becomes tan = 1 or =

4

x

2

+ y

2

+ z

2

= 50 becomes =

50.

So

_

x

2

+ y

2

+ z

2

dV = ()

2

sin d dd

and our integral is

_

2

=0

_

4

=0

_

50

=0

3

sin d dd =

_

2

=0

_

4

=0

(50)

2

4

sin dd

=

_

4

0

(50)

2

4

_

cos

4

0

d =

(50)

2

4

_

1

2

2

_

4

.

Example 8. Find the z coordinate of the centroid of a cone of height h, base

radius b, positioned so that the vertex is at (0, 0, 0) and the axis is the positive

z-axis.

159

Answer.

x

y

z

b

h

Note that the equation of the cone is

z =

h

b

_

x

2

+ y

2

.

We calculate the volume rst. We have a choice of approaches and we use spherical

coordinates to practice. The top of the cone is z = h, i.e. cos = h or = hsec ,

while z = (h/b)

_

x

2

+ y

2

becomes cos = (h/b) sin = tan = b/h. We then

have

V =

_

2

=0

_

tan

1

(

b

h

)

=0

_

hsec

=0

2

sin d dd

=

1

3

_

2

0

_

tan

1

(

b

h

)

=0

h

3

cos

3

sin dd

=

h

3

3

_

2

0

_

cos

2

2

_

tan

1

(

b

h

)

=0

d.

Now sec

2

= 1 + tan

2

and so

sec

2

_

tan

1

_

b

h

__

= 1 +

b

2

h

2

and we get

V =

h

3

3 2

_

2

0

__

1 +

b

2

h

2

_

1

_

d =

h

3

6

b

2

h

2

2 =

1

3

b

2

h,

160

just like the known formula! Now

M

xy

=

_

2

=0

_

tan

1

(

b

h

)

=0

_

hsec

=0

( cos )

2

sin d dd

=

_

2

=0

_

tan

1

(

b

h

)

=0

(cos )(sin)

h

4

4

1

cos

4

dd

=

_

2

=0

_

tan

1

(

b

h

)

=0

h

4

4

sin

cos

3

dd

=

_

2

0

h

4

4 2

_

1

cos

2

tan

1

(

b

h

)

=0

d =

h

4

8

b

2

h

2

2 =

4

h

2

b

2

and so

z =

4

h

2

b

2

3

b

2

h

=

3

4

h.

To practice, let us do the same problem using cylindrical coordinates. We have

V =

_

2

=0

_

b

r=0

_

h

z=

h

b

r

dz r dr d

=

_

2

=0

_

b

r=0

_

h

hr

b

_

r dr d =

_

2

=0

_

hb

2

2

h

b

b

3

3

_

d

=

hb

2

6

2 =

hb

2

3

,

while

M

xy

=

_

2

=0

_

b

r=0

_

h

z=

h

b

r

z dz r dr d =

_

2

=0

_

b

r=0

_

h

2

h

2

r

2

b

2

_

1

2

r dr d

=

_

2

=0

1

2

_

h

2

b

2

2

h

2

b

2

b

4

4

_

d =

1

8

h

2

b

2

2 =

h

2

b

2

4

.

Exactly the same as before!

161

Further Exercises:

1) Find the volume of the solid bounded by the cone x =

_

y

2

+ z

2

and the

plane x = 1.

2) Find the volume of the solid bounded by the sphere x

2

+y

2

+z

2

= 1 and the

cylinder x

2

+ y

2

= 2y.

3) Find the radius of gyration of the cylinder bounded by x

2

+ y

2

= 1, z = 1,

z = 1 if the density is constant.

4) Find the center of mass of the hemisphere bounded by the surfaces z =

_

1 x

2

y

2

, z = 0 if the density is 1 +

_

x

2

+ y

2

.

5) Calculate the volume of the ellipsoid x

2

+

y

2

4

+

z

2

9

= 1.

6) Find the moment of inertia with respect to the xy plane of the solid bounded

by: the hemisphere z =

_

9 x

2

y

2

, the plane z = 0 and the surface

x

2

+ y

2

= 3x if the density is constant.

7) Calculate the centroid of the solid bounded by z = 1

_

x

2

+ y

2

and z = 3.

8) Calculate the centroid of the solid bounded by the cone z =

_

x

2

+ y

2

and

the planes z = 1, z = 2.

9) Calculate the volume inside the cylinder x

2

+ y

2

= 1 and outside the cone

z

2

= x

2

+ y

2

.

10) Find the mass of the solid bounded by the surfaces: = sec , = /4,

= /2, = if the density is constant.

162

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