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Volumes by Cylindrical Shells: the Shell Method

Another method of find the volumes of solids of revolution is the shell
method. It can usually find volumes that are otherwise difficult to evaluate
using the Disc / Washer method.

General formula: V = ∫ 2π (shell radius) (shell height) dx

The Shell Method (about the y-axis)
The volume of the solid generated by revolving about the y-axis the region
between the x-axis and the graph of a continuous function y = f (x), a ≤ x ≤ b
is

b b
V = ∫ 2π [radius ] ⋅ [ shell height ] dx = ∫ 2π x f ( x) dx
a a

Similarly,

The Shell Method (about the x-axis)
The volume of the solid generated by revolving about the x-axis the region
between the y-axis and the graph of a continuous function x = f (y), c ≤ y ≤ d
is

d d
V = ∫ 2π [ radius ] ⋅ [ shell height ] dy = ∫ 2π y f ( y ) dy
c c

Comment: An easy way to remember which method to use to find the
volume of a solid of revolution is to note that the Disc / Washer
method is used if the independent variable of the function(s) and the
axis of rotation is the same (e.g., the area under y = f (x), revolved
about the x-axis); while the Shell method should be used if the
independent variable is different from the axis of rotation (e.g., the
area under x = f (y), revolved about the x-axis).

4 2  x2  2 x3   x4 2 V = ∫ 2πx 2 −  dx = 2π ∫  2 x −  dx = 2π  x 2 − 0  4  0  4   16 0  24    16  = 2π   2 2 −  − (0 − 0) = 2π  4 −  = 2π (3) = 6π  16    16  Ex. 0 ≤ y ≤ 2 . Find the volume of the solid generated by revolving about the x-axis the region bounded by the parabola x = y2 and the x-axis. as y goes from 0 to 2 . x goes from 0 to 2). Hence. The height of the shell (= right curve − left curve) is 2 − y2. We will first need to rewrite the function in terms of x: y = x .Ex. the limits of integration are now from x = 0 to x = 2 (since x = y2. Find the volume of the solid generated by revolving about the y-axis the x2 region bounded by the parabola y = 2 − and the x-axis. π 2 π 4π 2 0 2 V = ∫ π ( x ) 2 dx = π ∫ x dx = 0 2 x2 = 2 (2 2 ) − 02 = 2 = 2π 0 . 0 ≤ x ≤ 2. 2 2  2 y4 2  4  V =∫ 2πy (2 − y ) dy = 2π ∫ 2 (2 y − y ) dy = 2π  y − 3 = 2π  2 − − 0 + 0  = 2π 0 0  4 0  4  Bonus example 1: Find the above volume using the Disc method instead.

4). and the y-axis. The upper curve is the parabola y = 8 − x2. Their first quadrant intersection is at (2. Find the volume of the solid generated by revolving the first quadrant region bounded by y = 8 − x2. a ≤ x ≤ b is b b V = ∫ 2π [radius ] ⋅ [ shell height ] dx = ∫ 2π x[ F ( x ) − f ( x )] dx a a Notice the shell height is now just the difference of the heights of the 2 curves. F(y) ≥ f (y). therefore. analogous to the Washer method. the volume of the solid generated by revolving about the x-axis the region between the graphs of continuous functions x = F(y) and x = f (y). c ≤ y ≤ d is (About the x-axis) d d V = ∫ 2π [ radius ] ⋅ [ shell height ] dy = ∫ 2π y[ F ( y ) − f ( y )] dy c c Ex. 2 2 2 V = ∫ 2πx ((8 − x 2 ) − 2 x ) dx = 2π ∫ x (8 − 2 x − x 2 ) dx = 2π ∫ (8 x − 2 x 2 − x 3 ) dx 0 0 0  2 x4 2  16 16   20  40π = 2π  4 x 2 − x 3 − = 2π 16 − −  − 0 = 2π   =  3 4 0  3 4  3  3 . and y = 2x is the lower curve. Similarly. y = 2x.Revolving about an axis the region between 2 curves The version of Shell method. to find the volume of a solid generated by revolving the area between 2 curves about an axis of rotation is: (About the y-axis) The volume of the solid generated by revolving about the y-axis the region between the graphs of continuous functions y = F(x) and y = f (x). F(x) ≥ f (x). about the y-axis.

The axis of rotation. and x = 2. but rather an arbitrary horizontal or vertical line. the volume can be similarly calculated. which is the curve on the left). and the inner radius is r =1 (the distance between the line x = 2 to the axis of rotation). the shell method is to be used. about the line x = 3. Find the volume of the solid generated by revolving the region bounded by y = x3. Ex. y = 0. r = 1). Hence. The height of the shell is f(x) = x3. therefore. r = 3. with some slight adjustments.or y-axis If the axis of rotation is not one of the two coordinate-axes. and when x = 2. 0 ≤ x ≤ 2. Hence. and the radius is 3 − x (as measured from the axis of rotation: when x = 0. 0 ≤ y ≤ 8. x = 3. The washer has an outer radius of R = 3 − y1/3 (as measured from the axis of rotation x = 3 to the farther away of two curves. 2 2 2 V = ∫ 2π [ radius ] ⋅ [ shell height ] dx = ∫ 2π (3 − x ) x 3 dx = 2π ∫ (3 x 3 − x 4 ) dx 0 0 0 3 x5 2  32   28  56π = 2π  x 4 − = 2π 12 −  − 0 = 2π   = 4 5 0  5   5  5 We could also find this volume using the washer method. First the function needs to be rewritten in terms of y: x = f(y) = y1/3.Revolving about a line other than the x. is a line parallel to the y-axis. 8 ( ) 8 ( V = ∫ π [ R( y )]2 − [r ( y )]2 dy = π ∫ [3 − y 1 / 3 ]2 − 12 dy = π 0 0 ) 8 ∫ (9 − 6 y 0 1/ 3 + y 2 / 3 − 1) dy 8  9 3 8  96   − 40 + 96  56π = π ∫ (8 − 6 y 1 / 3 + y 2 / 3 ) dy = π  8 y − y 4 / 3 − y 5 / 3 = π  64 − 72 +  − 0 = π  = 0  2 5 0  5   5  5 .

. 1 1 2 x4 1   2 1   − 2 1   8π V = ∫ 2π (2 − x ) x 2 dx = 2π ∫ (2 x 2 − x 3 ) dx = 2π  x 3 − = 2π   −  −  −   = −1 −1 3 4 −1  3 4   3 4  3 Since the distance between any point x to the line x = k along the x-axis is x − k . The axis of rotation. y = 0. therefore. x = 2. i. is a line parallel to the y-axis. Find the volume of the solid generated by revolving the region bounded by y = x2.e. (About the line y = k. −1 ≤ x ≤ 1. and the radius is 2 − x (as measured from the axis of rotation: when x = −1. is b b V = ∫ 2π [ radius ] ⋅ [ shell height ] dx = ∫ 2π x − k [ F ( x ) − f ( x )] dx a a Note that we are integrating with respect to x. Similarly. a line parallel to the y-axis) The volume of the solid generated by revolving about the line x = k the region between the graphs of continuous functions y = F(x) and y = f (x). the shell method is to be used. k not between a and b. k not between c and d) d d V = ∫ 2π [radius ] ⋅ [ shell height ] dy = ∫ 2π y − k [ F ( y ) − f ( y )] dy c c The axis of rotation is parallel to the x-axis. Hence. x = −1.Ex. . and when x = 1. we have (Shell Method. a ≤ x ≤ b. so the integration is done with respect to y. since the axis of rotation is parallel to the y-axis. about the line x = k. and x = 1. about the line x = 2. F(x) ≥ f (x). The height of the shell is f(x) = x2. r = 1). r = 3.