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Consider a region in the plane of area A. We can think of the region as a thin plate with uniform thickness

and density. The centroid of the region has coordinates (x, y). It can be found using

x =

1

A

_

A

x

e

dA and y =

1

A

_

A

y

e

dA

where (x

e

, y

e

) is the coordinates of the centroid of the diﬀerential element of area dA.

Example 1. Find the centroid of the region bounded by the curve y = x

3

and the lines y = 0 and x = 2.

Solution. We will use diﬀerential elements consisting of rectangular vertical slices of height y and width dx.

This means that variable x will be the variable of integration.

x

y

2

8

0 dx

y

x

(x

e

, y

e

)

y = x

3

We ﬁrst ﬁnd the area A.

A =

_

A

dA =

_

2

0

y dx

.¸¸.

dA

=

_

2

0

x

3

dx =

x

4

4

¸

¸

¸

¸

2

0

=

2

4

4

= 4

Now, observe that the centroid of the diﬀerential element has coordinates (x

e

, y

e

) where

x

e

= x and y

e

=

y

2

.

Therefore,

_

A

x

e

dA =

_

2

0

x y dx

.¸¸.

dA

=

_

2

0

x(x

3

) dx =

_

2

0

x

4

dx =

x

5

5

¸

¸

¸

¸

2

0

=

2

5

5

=

32

5

and

_

A

y

e

dA =

_

2

0

y

2

y dx

.¸¸.

dA

=

_

2

0

y

2

2

dx =

_

2

0

(x

3

)

2

2

dx =

_

2

0

x

6

2

dx =

x

7

14

¸

¸

¸

¸

2

0

=

2

7

14

=

64

7

.

We can now ﬁnd the coordinates of the centroid.

x =

1

A

_

A

x

e

dA =

32/5

4

=

8

5

and y =

1

A

_

A

y

e

dA =

64/7

4

=

16

7

We conclude that the centroid is located at the following point.

(x, y) =

_

8

5

,

16

7

_

Gilles Cazelais. Typeset with LAT

E

X on May 22, 2008.

Example 2. Find the centroid of the region bounded by the curve y =

√

x and the lines x = 0 and y = 3.

Solution. We will use diﬀerential elements consisting of rectangular horizontal slices of height x and width dy.

This means that variable y will be the variable of integration.

x

y

3

9 0

dy

y

x

(x

e

, y

e

)

y =

√

x

Observe that

y =

√

x implies that x = y

2

.

Let’s ﬁnd the area A.

A =

_

A

dA =

_

3

0

xdy

.¸¸.

dA

=

_

3

0

y

2

dy =

y

3

3

¸

¸

¸

¸

3

0

=

3

3

3

= 9

Now, observe that the centroid of the diﬀerential element has coordinates (x

e

, y

e

) where

x

e

=

x

2

and y

e

= y.

Therefore,

_

A

x

e

dA =

_

3

0

x

2

xdy

.¸¸.

dA

=

_

3

0

x

2

2

dy =

_

3

0

(y

2

)

2

2

dy =

_

3

0

y

4

2

dy =

y

5

10

¸

¸

¸

¸

3

0

=

3

5

10

=

243

10

and

_

A

y

e

dA =

_

3

0

y xdy

.¸¸.

dA

=

_

3

0

y(y

2

) dy =

_

3

0

y

3

dy =

y

4

4

¸

¸

¸

¸

3

0

=

3

4

4

=

81

4

.

We can now ﬁnd the coordinates of the centroid.

x =

1

A

_

A

x

e

dA =

243/10

9

=

27

10

and y =

1

A

_

A

y

e

dA =

81/4

9

=

9

4

We conclude that the centroid is located at the following point.

(x, y) =

_

27

10

,

9

4

_

2

Let’s now consider the area between two curves. First consider the area bounded by the curves y = f(x) and

y = g(x) over a ≤ x ≤ b.

a

b

x

y

y = f(x)

y = g(x)

dx

(x

e

, y

e

)

x

In this case, we have

x

e

= x and y

e

=

f(x) + g(x)

2

.

Therefore,

A =

_

A

dA =

_

b

a

(f(x) −g(x)) dx

. ¸¸ .

dA

_

A

x

e

dA =

_

b

a

x (f(x) −g(x)) dx

. ¸¸ .

dA

and

_

A

y

e

dA =

_

b

a

_

f(x) + g(x)

2

_

(f(x) −g(x)) dx

. ¸¸ .

dA

.

Now consider the area bounded by the curves x = f(y) and x = g(y) over c ≤ y ≤ d.

c

d

x

y

x = f(y)

x = g(y)

dy

y

(x

e

, y

e

)

In this case, we have

x

e

=

f(y) + g(y)

2

and y

e

= y.

Therefore,

A =

_

A

dA =

_

d

c

(f(y) −g(y)) dy

. ¸¸ .

dA

_

A

x

e

dA =

_

d

c

_

f(y) + g(y)

2

_

(f(y) −g(y)) dy

. ¸¸ .

dA

and

_

A

y

e

dA =

_

d

c

y (f(y) −g(y)) dy

. ¸¸ .

dA

3

Example 3. Find the centroid of the region between the curves y = 2x and y = x

2

over the interval 0 ≤ x ≤ 2.

Solution. We will use diﬀerential elements consisting of rectangular vertical slices of width dx. This means

that variable x will be the variable of integration.

x

y

(x

e

, y

e

)

dx 2

4

0

y = 2x

y = x

2

x

Let’s ﬁnd the area A.

A =

_

A

dA =

_

2

0

(2x −x

2

) dx

. ¸¸ .

dA

=

_

x

2

−

x

3

3

_¸

¸

¸

¸

2

0

= 4 −

8

3

=

4

3

Now, observe that

x

e

= x and y

e

=

2x + x

2

2

.

Therefore,

_

A

x

e

dA =

_

2

0

x (2x −x

2

) dx

. ¸¸ .

dA

=

_

2

0

(2x

2

−x

3

) dx =

_

2x

3

3

−

x

4

4

_¸

¸

¸

¸

2

0

=

16

3

−4 =

4

3

and

_

A

y

e

dA =

_

2

0

_

2x + x

2

2

_

(2x −x

2

) dx

. ¸¸ .

dA

=

_

2

0

4x

2

−x

4

2

dx =

_

2x

3

3

−

x

5

10

_¸

¸

¸

¸

2

0

=

16

3

−

16

5

=

32

15

.

We can now ﬁnd the coordinates of the centroid.

x =

1

A

_

A

x

e

dA =

4/3

4/3

= 1 and y =

1

A

_

A

y

e

dA =

32/15

4/3

=

8

5

We conclude that the centroid is located at the following point.

(x, y) =

_

1,

8

5

_

4

Example 4. Find the centroid of the region bounded by the curves y = 3 −x, y =

√

x −1, and y = 0.

Solution. We will use diﬀerential elements consisting of horizontal vertical slices of width dy. This means that

variable y will be the variable of integration.

x

y

1 3

1

2

0

dy

y = 3 −x

y =

√

x −1

y

(x

e

, y

e

)

Let’s ﬁnd the point of intersection of y = 3 −x and y =

√

x −1.

3 −x =

√

x −1 =⇒ 9 −6x + x

2

= x −1 =⇒ x

2

−7x + 10 = 0 =⇒ (x −2)(x −5) = 0

We conclude that x = 2 is the solution. Then, the point of intersection is (2, 1). Now, observe that

y =

√

x −1 =⇒ x = y

2

+ 1 and y = 3 −x =⇒ x = 3 −y.

We can describe the region as the region between the curves x = y

2

+ 1 and x = 3 −y over 0 ≤ y ≤ 1.

Let’s ﬁnd the area A.

A =

_

A

dA =

_

1

0

_

(3 −y) −(y

2

+ 1)

¸

dy

. ¸¸ .

dA

=

_

1

0

(2 −y −y

2

) dy =

_

2y −

y

2

2

−

y

3

3

_¸

¸

¸

¸

1

0

=

7

6

Now, observe that

x

e

=

(3 −y) + (y

2

+ 1)

2

and y

e

= y.

Therefore,

_

A

x

e

dA =

_

1

0

_

(3 −y) + (y

2

+ 1)

2

_

_

(3 −y) −(y

2

+ 1)

¸

dy

. ¸¸ .

dA

=

_

1

0

(3 −y)

2

−(y

2

+ 1)

2

2

dy

=

_

1

0

8 −6y −y

2

−y

4

2

dy =

_

4y −

3y

2

2

−

y

3

6

−

y

5

10

_¸

¸

¸

¸

1

0

=

67

30

and

_

A

y

e

dA =

_

1

0

y

_

(3 −y) −(y

2

+ 1)

¸

dy

. ¸¸ .

dA

_

1

0

(2y −y

2

−y

3

) dy =

_

y

2

−

y

3

3

−

y

4

4

_¸

¸

¸

¸

1

0

=

5

12

We can now ﬁnd the coordinates of the centroid.

x =

1

A

_

A

x

e

dA =

67/30

7/6

=

67

35

and y =

1

A

_

A

y

e

dA =

5/12

7/6

=

5

14

We conclude that the centroid is located at the following point.

(x, y) =

_

67

35

,

5

14

_

5

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