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AQA Core 1 Integration

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.