Manual in calculation of the surface area

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Manual in calculation of the surface area

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In this section we are going to look once again at solids of revolution. We first looked at them back in

Calculus I when we found the volume of the solid of revolution. In this section we want to find the

surface area of this region.

So, for the purposes of the derivation of the formula, let’s look at rotating the continuous function

y = f ( x ) in the interval [ a, b ] about the x-axis. We’ll also need to assume that the derivative is

continuous on [ a, b ] . Below is a sketch of a function and the solid of revolution we get by rotating the

function about the x-axis.

We can derive a formula for the surface area much as we derived the formula for arc length. We’ll start

by dividing the interval into n equal subintervals of width ∆x . On each subinterval we will approximate

the function with a straight line that agrees with the function at the endpoints of each interval. Here is a

sketch of that for our representative function using n = 4 .

Now, rotate the approximations about the x-axis and we get the following solid.

The approximation on each interval gives a distinct portion of the solid and to make this clear each

portion is colored differently. Each of these portions are called frustums and we know how to find the

surface area of frustums.

A = 2π rl

where,

1

r= ( r1 + r2 ) r1 =

radius of right end

2

r2 = radius of left end

and l is the length of the slant of the frustum.

r1 = f ( xi )

r2 = f ( xi −1 )

l = Pi −1 Pi ( length of the line segment connecting Pi and Pi −1 )

and we know from the previous section that,

2

Pi −1 Pi =

Before writing down the formula for the surface area we are going to assume that ∆x is “small” and

since f ( x ) is continuous we can then assume that,

f ( xi ) ≈ f ( xi* ) and f ( xi −1 ) ≈ f ( xi* )

f ( xi ) + f ( xi −1 )

Ai = 2π Pi −1 Pi

2

≈ 2π f ( xi* ) 1 + f ′ ( xi* )

2

∆x

S ≈ ∑ 2π f ( xi* ) 1 + f ′ ( xi* )

n 2

∆x

i =1

and we can get the exact surface area by taking the limit as n goes to infinity.

n 2

= ∆x

n →∞

i =1

b

= ⌠ 2π f ( x ) 1 + f ′ ( x ) dx

2

⌡a

If we wanted to we could also derive a similar formula for rotating x = h ( y ) on [ c, d ] about the y-axis.

This would give the following formula.

d

S ⌠ 2π h ( y ) 1 + h′ ( y ) dy

2

=

⌡c

These are not the “standard” formulas however. Notice that the roots in both of these formulas are

nothing more than the two ds’s we used in the previous section. Also, we will replace f ( x ) with y and

h ( y ) with x. Doing this gives the following two formulas for the surface area.

=S ∫ 2π y ds rotation about x − axis

where,

2

dy

ds = 1 + dx if y = f ( x ) , a ≤ x ≤ b

dx

2

dx

ds = 1 + dy if x = h ( y ) , c ≤ y ≤ d

dy

There are a couple of things to note about these formulas. First, notice that the variable in the integral

itself is always the opposite variable from the one we’re rotating about. Second, we are allowed to use

either ds in either formula. This means that there are, in some way, four formulas here. We will choose

the ds based upon which is the most convenient for a given function and problem.

Example 1 Determine the surface area of the solid obtained by rotating =

y 9 − x 2 , −2 ≤ x ≤ 2

about the x-axis.

Solution

The formula that we’ll be using here is,

S = ∫ 2π y ds

since we are rotating about the x-axis and we’ll use the first ds in this case because our function is in

the correct form for that ds and we won’t gain anything by solving it for x.

Let’s first get the derivative and the root taken care of.

1

=( 9 − x 2 ) 2 ( −2 x ) =

dy 1 − x

− 1

dx 2

(9 − x )

2 2

2

dy x2 9 3

1 + =+ 1 = 2 =

dx 9− x 2

9− x 9 − x2

2

⌠ 3

S = 2π y dx

⌡ −2 9 − x2

There is a problem however. The dx means that we shouldn’t have any y’s in the integral. So, before

evaluating the integral we’ll need to substitute in for y as well.

2

⌠ 3

=S 2π 9 − x 2 dx

⌡ −2 9 − x2

2

= ∫ 6π dx

−2

= 24π

Previously we made the comment that we could use either ds in the surface area formulas. Let’s work

an example in which using either ds won’t create integrals that are too difficult to evaluate and so we

can check both ds’s.

Example 2 Determine the surface area of the solid obtained by rotating y = 3 x , 1 ≤ y ≤ 2 about

the y-axis. Use both ds’s to compute the surface area.

Solution

Note that we’ve been given the function set up for the first ds and limits that work for the second ds.

Solution 1

This solution will use the first ds listed above. We’ll start with the derivative and root.

dy 1 − 23

= x

dx 3

4 4

9x +1 9x +1

2

dy 1 3 3

1 + =1 + 4 = =

dx

4 2

9x 3 9x 3 3x 3

We’ll also need to get new limits. That isn’t too bad however. All we need to do is plug in the given

y’s into our equation and solve to get that the range of x’s is 1 ≤ x ≤ 8 . The integral for the surface

area is then,

8

⌠ 4

9 x 3

+1

S = 2π x dx

2

⌡1 3x 3

2π ⌠ 8 13 4

= x 9 x 3 + 1 dx

3 ⌡1

Note that this time we didn’t need to substitute in for the x as we did in the previous example. In this

case we picked up a dx from the ds and so we don’t need to do a substitution for the x. In fact, if we

had substituted for x we would have put y’s into the integral which would have caused problems.

4 1

u=

9x 3 +1 du =

12 x 3 dx

the integral becomes,

π 145

18 ∫

S= u du

10

3 145

π

= u 2

27 10

π 3 3

= 145 2

− 10=2

199.48

27

Solution 2

This time we’ll use the second ds. So, we’ll first need to solve the equation for x. We’ll also go ahead

and get the derivative and root while we’re at it.

dx

=x y=

3

3y2

dy

2

dx

1+ = 1+ 9 y4

dy

2

=S ∫

1

2π x 1 + 9 y 4 dy

We used the original y limits this time because we picked up a dy from the ds. Also note that the

presence of the dy means that this time, unlike the first solution, we’ll need to substitute in for the x.

Doing that gives,

2

∫ 2π y 1 + 9 y dy

S= u=

1+ 9 y4

3 4

1

π 145

18 ∫

= u du

10

π

3 3

= 145 − 10= 199.48

2 2

27

Note that after the substitution the integral was identical to the first solution and so the work was

skipped.

As this example has shown we can use either ds to get the surface area. It is important to point out as

well that with one ds we had to do a substitution for the x and with the other we didn’t. This will always

work out that way.

Note as well that in the case of the last example it was just as easy to use either ds. That often won’t be

the case. In many examples only one of the ds will be convenient to work with so we’ll always need to

determine which ds is liable to be the easiest to work with before starting the problem.

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