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Arkansas Tech University

MATH 2934: Calculus III
Dr. Marcel B. Finan
26 Triple Integrals in Cylindrical Coordinates
When we were working with double integrals, we saw that it was often easier
to convert to polar coordinates. For triple integrals we have been introduced
to three coordinate systems. The Cartesian coordinate system (x, y, z) is the
system that we are used to. The other two systems, cylindrical coordinates
(r, θ, z) and spherical coordinates (r, θ, φ) are the topic of this and the next
sections.
Cylindrical Coordinates
Consider a point P = (x, y, z) in the Cartesian 3-space. Let Q = (x, y, 0) be
the orthogonal projection of P into the xy−plane. An alternative representa-
tion of the point P is the ordered triples (r, θ, z) where r is the distance from
the z−axis to P, and θ is the angle between
−→
OQ and the positive x−axis.
See Figure 26.1.
Figure 26.1
Thus, the transformation from the Cartesian coordinates to the cylindrical
coordinates is given by
x =r cos θ
y =r sin θ
z =z
1
where 0 ≤ r < ∞, 0 ≤ θ ≤ 2π, −∞< z < ∞. Note that
r =

x
2
+ y
2
and θ = tan
−1

y
x

Example 26.1
Convert the point (−1, 1,

2) from Cartesian to cylindrical coordinates.
Solution.
We have
r =

x
2
+ y
2
=

1 + 1 =

2
θ =tan
−1
(−1) =

4
z =

2
Thus (−1, 1,

2) = (

2,

4
,

2)
Example 26.2
Identify the surface for each of the following equations.
(a) r = 2
(b) r
2
+ z
2
= 9
(c) z = r
Solution.
(a) r = 2 is equivalent to x
2
+ y
2
= 4 with z arbitrary. Thus, r = 2 is a
cylinder with axis of symmetry the z−axis and with radius 2.
(b) r
2
+ z
2
= 9 is equivalent to x
2
+ y
2
+ z
2
= 9. This is the equation of a
sphere centered at the origin and with radius 3.
(c) z = r is equivalent to z =

x
2
+ y
2
. This is a cone with vertex at the
origin and that opens up
Integration in Cylindrical Coordinates
If ∆r, ∆θ, and ∆z are sufficiently small we can view the cylindrical elemental
volume as a box of length ∆r, width r∆θ and height ∆z as shown in Figure
26.2. Thus, ∆x∆y∆z ≈ r∆r∆θ∆z. Assuming a ≤ r ≤ b, α ≤ θ ≤ β, c ≤
z ≤ d, the triple integral in cylindrical coordinates can be expressed as an
iterated integral

S
f(x, y, z)dxdydz =

d
c

β
α

b
a
f(r, θ, z)rdrdθdz.
2
Figure 26.2
Example 26.3
Find the volume of the upper hemisphere centered at the origin and with
radius a.
Solution.
The upper hemisphere is shown in Figure 26.3
Figure 26.3
The equation of the upper hemisphere in cylindrical coordinates is r =

a
2
−z
2
since z =

a
2
−x
2
−y
2
. Thus, r varies from 0 to

a
2
−z
2
, θ
3
varies from 0 to 2π, and z varies from 0 to a. Hence, the volume of the upper
hemisphere is
V =


0

a
0


a
2
−z
2
0
rdrdzdθ =


0

a
0
r
2
2


a
2
−z
2
0
dzdθ
=
1
2


0

a
0
(a
2
−z
2
)dzdθ =
1
2


0

a
2
z −
z
3
3

a
0

=
a
3
3


0
dθ =

3
a
3
4