# TRIPLE INTEGRALS

Topics Covered
• • • • Theory Meaning Rules for Solving Examples!

Theory As the name implies. over 3 other independent dimensions. Examples: 𝑉 𝑓 𝑥. or to integrate in a 4th dimension. 𝑧 𝑑𝑉 5 1 3𝑥−2 0 0 cos(𝑥+𝑦) sin(𝑥+𝑦) 2π 2 3 2𝑥 + 𝑒 𝑦𝑧 𝑑𝑧 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑥 𝑟 𝑑𝑧 𝑑𝑟 𝑑𝜃 0 0 −3 . triple integrals are 3 successive integrations. used to calculate a volume. 𝑦.

coordinate geometry in 3 dimensions. it is extremely important to have an understanding of double integrals. . and polar (cylindrical) coordinates. Sums of triple integrals are based on these topics and cannot be solved without this prior knowledge.• To understand triple integrals.

. Integrating z with respect to x and y gives us the volume as a function of t. a triple integral represents a summation in a hypothetical 4th dimension. and x and y are also functions of t. imagine a slightly different scenario. space. where the first 3 dimensions are space. To understand this. this gives us the numerical volume at a particular instance of time. y.Meaning • Just as a single integral over a curve represents an area (2D). and t. If we plug in a value for t. and time. and that the fourth dimension is the third space dimension: suppose you have an integral of z where z is a function of x. and a double integral over a curve represents a volume (3D).

Meaning (Contd. Thus. For example. we are adding up all the different volumes over a period of time. if we integrate this result with respect to t. imagine a balloon that is being inflated. we must use a triple integral as described above. it changes with respect to time. However. . we can use a double integral to calculate its volume.) • However. At any particular instant of time. if we wanted to sum up all the volumes over the entire inflation process. as the volume is a function of t.

) • Triple Integrals can also be used to represent a volume. 𝑦. In the triple integral 𝑑 𝑏 𝑧 𝑓 𝑥.Meaning (Contd. 𝑧) = 1 then this triple integral is the same as 𝑧 𝑥.y). 𝑦 𝑑𝑦𝑑𝑥 𝑐 𝑎 which is simply the volume under the surface represented by z(x. . 𝑦. 𝑧 𝑑𝑧 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑥 𝑐 𝑎 𝑑 0 𝑏 If 𝑓(𝑥. in the same way that a double integral can be used to represent an area.

z) over a volume V. for 6 different possible orders of integration. and z. . you can integrate with respect to the 3 variables in any order.Rules for Solving In general. 𝑓 𝑑 𝑏 𝑓 𝑒 𝑐 𝑎 𝑑𝑧 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑥 = 𝑑 𝑏 𝑓 𝑓 𝑐 𝑎 𝑒 𝑑𝑥 𝑑𝑧 𝑑𝑦 = … and so on. y. the limits of integration will all be constants and the order does not matter at all. if V represents a rectangular box.y. if you are evaluating a triple integral of f(x. For example. by properly choosing the limits. then for x.

0). 𝑧 𝑑𝑉 0 where V is the volume under the plane 𝑧 + 2𝑥 + 3𝑦 = 6. and (0.0). 𝑦.Now consider the case where you want to find the triple integral 𝑉 𝑓 𝑥.6). 𝑧 = 0 in addition to the plane whose equation is given above. Since V is in the first quadrant. (0.0. 𝑦 = 0.0. in the first quadrant. (0. Clearly. it is bounded by the 3 planes 𝑥 = 0.0). .0. the shape of V is a tetrahedron with the vertices (3.2.

𝑧 𝑑𝑧 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑥 0 0 . then we can consider the x or y direction next.One way to set up the integral is to first consider the z direction. 2 we enter through 𝑦 = 0. and our triple integral is: 3 0 2 −3𝑥+2 6−2𝑥−3𝑦 𝑓 𝑥. If we do this first. In this direction we enter through 𝑧 = 0 and leave through 𝑧 = 6 − 2𝑥 − 3𝑦. 𝑦. If y. x 3 must be given the limits 0 to 3. and leave through 𝑦 = − 𝑥 + 2. Thus.

and leave through 1 𝑦 = − 𝑧 + 2. If we do this first.Consider the same volume. In this direction we enter through x = 0 and leave through 1 𝑥 = (6 − 𝑧 − 3𝑦). and z must be from 0 to 6. then we can consider the z or y 2 direction next. but now first we will go through in the x direction. 𝑦. Thus the integral would be 3 6 0 1 −3𝑧+2 0 1 2(6−𝑧−3𝑦) 0 𝑓 𝑥. we enter through 𝑦 = 0. If y. 𝑧 𝑑𝑥 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑧 .

since the limits were chosen such that z is dependent on (x. In the first case. this is entirely independent of the function 𝑓(𝑥. It is important to note that the third (outermost) integral MUST always have limits of integration that are constants.Both these integrals are correct and either one can be used to solve the sum and obtain the same value. If any variables are surviving after the integral is evaluated. z must be integrated first.y). Lastly. After this. y is integrated next. 𝑦. and the result should be a number. 𝑧). x as the most independent variable is integrated. most probably you have made a mistake somewhere. It is important to see that choosing the order of integration depends on how the limits are chosen. since y is chosen to be dependent on x. . However.

NOTE: It is very important to remember that in polar and cylindrical coordinates. For example: 2π 2 3 𝑟 𝑑𝑧 𝑑𝑟 𝑑𝜃 0 0 −3 is the triple integral used to calculate the volume of a cylinder of height 6 and radius 2. It is very easy to forget this 𝒓 which will lead to a wrong answer. usually the easiest order of integration is 𝑧. just like in double integrals. then 𝑟 then 𝜃 as shown above. or to integrate over a volume. . With polar coordinates. though it is not necessary to do it in this order. there is an extra 𝒓 in the integral.• POLAR (CYLINDRICAL) COORDINATES: Triple integrals can also be used with polar coordinates in the exact same way to calculate a volume.

we should integrate in the z direction first. and so x is between 0 and 1.1). 𝑧 𝑑𝑧 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑥 0 .0) and (1. SOLUTION: Since z is expressed as a function of (x.y). The two curves meet at (0. 1 0 𝑥 2 𝑥 𝑥+𝑦 𝑓 𝑥. 𝑦. we can see that the region begins at 𝑦 = 𝑥 2 and ends at 𝑦 = 𝑥 . We can integrate in x or y first. Thus the integral is: 1. and between the surfaces 𝑦 = 𝑥 2 and 𝑥 = 𝑦 2 . If we choose y. 𝑧 = 𝑥𝑦 over the volume enclose by the planes 𝑧 = 𝑥 + 𝑦 and 𝑧 = 0.Examples! Integrate the function 𝑓 𝑥. After this we consider the xy-plane. 𝑦.

1 𝑥 𝑥 2 𝑥+𝑦 = 0 1 𝑥𝑦 𝑑𝑧 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑥 0 𝑥 = 0 1 0 1 𝑥 2 𝑥𝑦 𝑥 𝑧=𝑥+𝑦 𝑧=0 𝑧 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑥 = = 0 𝑥 2 𝑥 𝑥𝑦 𝑥 + 𝑦 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑥 𝑥 2 𝑦 + 𝑦 2 𝑥 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑥 𝑥 2 𝑦 2 𝑦 3 𝑥 + 𝑑𝑥 2 3 𝑥 2 1 𝑦= 𝑥 = 1 = 2 1 0 0 𝑦=𝑥 2 𝑥 2 1 1 3 𝑥 − 𝑑𝑥 + 𝑥 𝑥 − 𝑥 2 3 𝑥 𝑑𝑥 3 0 1 1 3 1 1 5 6 = 𝑥 − 𝑥 𝑑𝑥 + 𝑥 2 − 𝑥 7 𝑑𝑥 2 0 3 0 1 1 1 1 2 1 3 = − + − = 2 4 7 3 7 8 28 2 𝑥 2 𝑥 2 2 .

In the following integral. exchange the order of integration of y and z: 1 1 1−𝑦 𝑓 𝑥. From the integrals. 𝑦 enters through 𝑦 = 𝑥 and leaves through 𝑦 = 1. 𝑦. it can be seen that z enters the volume at 𝑧 = 0 and leaves through the plane 𝑧 = 1 − 𝑦. These 2 conditions alone are enough to draw the figure and see that 0 ≤ 𝑥 ≤ 1. 𝑧 𝑑𝑧 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑥 0 𝑥 0 SOLUTION: With a problem like this.2. . it helps to draw the figure enclose by the surfaces. In the 𝑥𝑦 plane.

𝑦. 𝑧 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑧 𝑑𝑥 𝑥 .0. Rewriting the equation of the plane as 𝑦 = 1 − 𝑧. B.0).The shape is like a tetrahedron with the vertices A(0. and D(0.1. Again.0).1). it can be seen that these conditions are sufficient to obtain the limits of x as 0 ≤ 𝑥 ≤ 1. It is a 3-sided figure bounded by 𝑥 = 0. and looking at this figure. Thus.0. clearly. C(1. C. 𝑥 ≤ 𝑦 ≤ 1 − 𝑧. 𝑧 = 0.1. B(0. but with a curved surface between vertices A. the integral is: 1 0 1− 𝑥 0 1−𝑧 𝑓 𝑥. Consider the projection of this surface in the 𝑧𝑥 plane.0). and 𝑧 = 1 − 𝑥.

This is also in accordance with the diagram which is obtained by drawing these surfaces. . 𝑧 = 𝑥 + 𝑦 + 5. 𝑟 = 2 and 𝑟 = 3. we substitute 𝑥 = 𝑟 cos θ in the argument of the integral. Evaluate 𝐸 𝑥𝑑𝑉 where E is enclosed by 𝑧 = 0. Converting the given outer limits of E we get: 𝑧 = 0. SOLUTION: We will use cylindrical coordinates to easily solve this sum. Since there is no limitation on the values of θ. we assume it has the values of 0 to 2π. 𝑥 2 + 𝑦 2 = 4 and 𝑥 2 + 𝑦 2 = 9.3. 𝑧 = 𝑟 cos θ + 𝑟 sin θ + 5. Also.

Thus the integral is: 2π 0 3 2 𝑟 cos θ+𝑟 sin θ+5 𝑟 cos θ 𝑟 𝑑𝑧 𝑑𝑟 𝑑θ 2π 3 0 = = = 0 𝑟 2 cos θ 𝑟 cos θ + 𝑟 sin θ + 5 𝑑𝑟 𝑑θ cos 2 θ + 0 2 2π 𝑟=3 4 𝑟 0 𝑟=2 2𝜋 65 8 65 = 8 𝑟 4 5 cos θ sin θ + 𝑟 3 cos θ 𝑑θ 4 4 3 65 95 1 + cos 2θ + sin 2θ + cos θ 𝑑θ 8 3 1 1 95 2𝜋 + 0 − + 0 − 0 + + 0 2 2 3 65𝜋 = 4 .

References • Calculus – Sixth Edition James Stewart • Rohit Agarwal – Math Scholar at Academic Resource Center Illinois Institute of Technology April 2012 .