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Finding Areas

Finding Areas

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You are on page 1of 3

1 of 3 10/01/13 MEI

Section 2: Finding the area under a curve

Notes and Examples

These notes contain subsections on:

- Definite integration

- The definite integral as an area

Definite integration

The definite integral from a to b of a function f(x), which is written as

f ( )d

b

a

x x

}

, is found as follows:

- Integrate f(x) suppose we call the integral g(x)

- Write the integral in square brackets, with the limits on the right hand

side:

| | g( )

b

a

x

- Work out the value of g(x) with x = a and x = b, and subtract:

| | g( ) g( ) g( )

b

a

x b a = .

Example 1

Evaluate

2

2

1

(2 )d

}

x x x.

Solution

( )

( ) ( )

2 2

2 2 3

1

3

1 1

2 3 2 3

1 1

3 3

8 1

3 3

2

3

2 d

2 2 1 1

4 1

x x x x x ( =

=

= +

=

}

For additional examples like this one, look at the Flash resource Definite

integration.

For practice in examples like the one above, try the interactive resource

Definite integration of polynomials.

You could also try the Definite integrals puzzle.

Watch the signs here

AQA C1 Integration Section 2 Notes and Examples

2 of 3 10/01/13 MEI

The definite integral as an area

The definite integral

f ( )d

b

a

x x

}

calculates the area

between the curve y = f(x) and the x-axis.

If the curve is above the x-axis, so that the value of y is positive, the definite

integral works out to be positive. However, if the curve is below the x-axis, so

that y is negative, the integral works out to be negative.

Example 2

Find the total area enclosed by the curve

2

3 4 = y x x and the x-axis.

Solution:

The curve crosses the x-axis when 3x

2

4x = 0

x(3x 4) = 0

x = 0 or x =

4

3

Area =

4

3

2

0

(3 4 )d x x x

}

( ) ( )

( )

( )

4

3 3 2

0

3 2

3 2

4 4

3 3

32

27

2

2 0 2 0

x x ( =

=

=

The area is

32

27

square units.

Notice that you should give your final answer as positive, since an area

cannot be negative. However, remember that this only applies to definite

integrals which are being used to find an area if you are just asked to work

out the value of a definite integral, then the answer may be positive or

negative.

You can test yourself using the Flash resources Areas under a curve above

the x-axis, and Area between a line and a curve. You can move the curve

a

b

f(x)

This integral works out to be

negative because the curve is

below the x-axis.

-2

8

-1 0 1 2

AQA C1 Integration Section 2 Notes and Examples

3 of 3 10/01/13 MEI

around to get different functions, and move the limits of the area to be found.

Use integration to work out the area and then check your answer.

You may also find the Mathcentre video Finding areas using integration

useful. Note that this video may contain examples which use some integration

techniques that you have not yet met.

For some extension work you can also look at the Flash resource Areas

above and below the x-axis. In these examples, the area to be found may lie

partly above and partly below the x-axis, which means finding the area above

and area below separately. Questions like this will not be set in your C1

examination you will only be asked to find areas which are completely

above or completely below the x-axis.

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