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Sometimes we can find integrals for functions where

the function or the limits are infinite. These are called

improper integrals.

Example 1:

1

0

1

1

x

dx

x

+

}

The function is

undefined at x = 1 .

0

1

2

3

4

1

Since x = 1 is an asymptote, the

function has no maximum.

Can we find

the area under

an infinitely

high curve?

We could define this integral as:

0

1

1

lim

1

b

b

x

dx

x

}

(left hand limit)

We must approach the limit from

inside the interval.

0

1

1

lim

1

b

b

x

dx

x

}

1

1

1

1

x

x

x

dx

x

+ +

+

}

Rationalize the numerator.

2

1+x

1

dx

x

}

2 2

1 x

1 1

dx dx

x x

+

} }

2

1 u x =

2 du x dx =

1

2

du x dx =

1

1

2

1

sin

2

x u du

}

2 2

1 x

1 1

dx dx

x x

+

} }

2

1 u x =

2 du x dx =

1

2

du x dx =

1

1

2

1

sin

2

x u du

}

1

1

2

sin x u

1 2

1

0

lim sin 1

b

b

x x

( )

( )

1 2 1

1

lim sin 1 sin 0 1

b

b b

1

2

t

= +

2

t

0 0

This integral converges

because it approaches a

solution.

Example 2:

-1

0

1

2

3

4

-1 1

1

0

dx

x

}

1

0

limln

b

b

x

+

0

lim ln1 ln

b

b

+

0

1

lim ln

b

b

+

=

This integral diverges.

(right hand limit)

We approach the limit from inside

the interval.

1

0

1

lim

b

b

dx

x

+

}

Example 3:

( )

3

2

0

3

1

dx

x

}

The function

approaches

when .

1 x

0

1

2

3

4

1 2 3

( )

2

3

3

0

1 x dx

}

( ) ( )

2 2

3

3 3

0

1 1

lim 1 lim 1

b

c

b c

x dx x dx

+

+

} }

( ) ( )

3

1 1

3 3

1 1

0

lim3 1 lim3 1

b

b c

c

x x

+

+

( ) ( )

2 2

3

3 3

0

1 1

lim 1 lim 1

b

c

b c

x dx x dx

+

+

} }

( ) ( )

3

1 1

3 3

1 1

0

lim3 1 lim3 1

b

b c

c

x x

+

+

( ) ( ) ( )

1

1 1 1

3

3 3 3

1 1

lim 3 1 3 1 lim 3 2 3 1

b c

b c

+

(

(

+

(

(

0

0

3

3 3 2 +

0

1

2

3

4

1 2 3

Example 3 without limits:

( )

3

2

0

3

1

dx

x

}

The function

approaches

when .

1 x

( )

2

3

3

0

1 x dx

}

( ) 1 2 3 1 3 2 3 1 3

3 3 3

3

0

3

+ = = = x

So yes, you can evaluate this without limits.

Note that the limit method will

always

always work if you

have a singularity. The regular method may not, or

may give you a wrong answer.

Example 4:

1

P

dx

x

}

0 P >

1

P

x dx

}

1

lim

b

P

b

x dx

}

1

1

1

lim

1

b

P

b

x

P

+

+

1 1

1

lim

1 1

P P

b

b

P P

+ +

+ +

What happens here?

If , then the ratio involving

gets bigger and bigger as ,

therefore the integral diverges.

1 P s

1 P

b

+

b

If then b has a negative

exponent and ,

therefore the integral converges.

1 P >

1

0

P

b

+

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