# Area of an Archimedian spiral

by CAF123
Tags: archimedian, spiral
 PF Gold P: 2,313 1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data See the attached link 3. The attempt at a solution I considered each shaded part separately. For the one between ##2\pi ## and ##4\pi##, I set up: $$\int_{2\pi}^{4\pi} ((4\pi +\frac{\pi}{2})- (2\pi + \frac{\pi}{2}) d\theta$$ I used a similar method for the other portions and for each portion, I end up with ##4\pi^2##. This does not seem right because some of the shaded sections look larger than the others. Where is the fault with my method? Thanks! Attached Thumbnails
 Mentor P: 12,053 I would expect that your integration variable depends on θ in some way. You just integrate over 2 pi (why?).
PF Gold
P: 2,313
 Quote by mfb I would expect that your integration variable depends on θ in some way. You just integrate over 2 pi (why?).
In considering the first shaded section (between 2pi and 4pi), I say that the curves ##r = \theta_1 = (4\pi + \pi/2) ## and ##r = \theta_2 = (2\pi + \pi/2)## bound this section.

 PF Gold P: 2,313 Area of an Archimedian spiral I see what I have done wrong. ##\theta## is continually changing so indeed there should be a theta dependence. How do I get the curves that bound each section then?
 Math Emeritus Sci Advisor Thanks PF Gold P: 39,682 I think you you integral gives the area between two concentric circles of radii $2\pi+ \pi/4= 9\pi/4$ and $4\pi+ \pi/2= 9\pi/2$. The two arms of the spiral, at the start where $\theta= 0$, a ray starts at $2\pi$ and ends at $4\pi[/b], but as [itex]\theta$ increases, so does the distance from the origin to those endpoints. On has $r= 2\pi+ \theta$ I confess that at first, I thought you were, in fact, using an integral that would give the distance between two concentric circles, but what you are doing is, basically, correct. At the beginning, $\theta= 0$, the x-axis cuts the first loop of the spiral at $2\pi$ and the second at $4\pi$ so its length is $4\pi- 2\pi= 2\pi$. As $\theta$ increases, a ray crosses the first loop at $2\pi+ \theta$ and the second at $4\pi+ \theta$ but, to my surprise, the difference is still $2\pi$- there is NO $\theta$ dependence. I don't see where your $2\pi$ terms come from. And I certainly cannot imagine why you are multiplying them! Since we make one complete loop around the center, the integral does go from $\theta= 0$ to $2\pi$. Since area, in polar coordinates, is given by $\int rd\theta$, the area you want here is given by $$\int_{\theta= 0}^{2\pi} 2\pi d\theta= 2\pi \int_{\theta= 0}^{2\pi} d\theta$$
PF Gold
P: 2,313
 Quote by HallsofIvy I don't see where your $2\pi$ terms come from. And I certainly cannot imagine why you are multiplying them!
Where am I multiplying them about?
 Since we make one complete loop around the center, the integral does go from $\theta= 0$ to $2\pi$. Since area, in polar coordinates, is given by $\int rd\theta$, the area you want here is given by $$\int_{\theta= 0}^{2\pi} 2\pi d\theta= 2\pi \int_{\theta= 0}^{2\pi} d\theta$$
Why do we consider theta from 0 to 2pi? this does not correspond to a shaded section?
Thanks.
 Mentor P: 12,053 The integral itself does not work. In polar coordinates, area is given by r dr dθ. You can perform the integration over r first (this is a good idea), but the result is not just the difference in radius, due to the additional factor of r inside. You will get expressions with the squared radius.
PF Gold
P: 2,313
 Quote by mfb The integral itself does not work. In polar coordinates, area is given by r dr dθ. You can perform the integration over r first (this is a good idea), but the result is not just the difference in radius, due to the additional factor of r inside. You will get expressions with the squared radius.
So we consider a double integral here? why? Would the limits of r and θ be the same?
 Mentor P: 12,053 You want to calculate an area - it is two-dimensional. In a cartesian coordinate system, many problems have a trivial integral in one coordinate - you can simplify the two-dimensional integral to one dimension without calculating anything. In polar coordinates, this can work for θ, but it cannot work for r, as the area element depends on r. The limits for r and θ are fine.
 HW Helper Thanks PF Gold P: 7,715 The polar area between the origin and ##r = f(\theta)## for ##\theta## between ##\alpha## and ##\beta## is$$A=\frac 1 2\int_\alpha^\beta f^2(\theta)\, d\theta$$The tricky thing about your problem is some of the area gets repeated as ##\theta## varies. If you let ##\theta## go from ##4\pi## to ##6\pi## you would get all the area that is shaded plus the white center area. Then it looks to me like you could subtract that white area by going from ##2\pi## to ##4\pi##, unless I'm overlooking something.
PF Gold
P: 2,313
 Quote by LCKurtz Then it looks to me like you could subtract that white area by going from ##2\pi## to ##4\pi##, unless I'm overlooking something.
Would you not subtract from ##0## to ##4\pi##?
PF Gold
P: 2,313
 Quote by mfb You want to calculate an area - it is two-dimensional. In a cartesian coordinate system, many problems have a trivial integral in one coordinate - you can simplify the two-dimensional integral to one dimension without calculating anything.
Could you explain a bit more what you mean here? I have done integrals that represent areas as single integrals, (I.e at high school level).
HW Helper
Thanks
PF Gold
P: 7,715
 Quote by CAF123 Would you not subtract from ##0## to ##4\pi##?
That counts some of the white area more than once, no? If you shade that inside area for ##\theta## sweeping from ##0## to ##2\pi##, that same area is swept out again as ##\theta## goes from ##2\pi## to ##4\pi##.
PF Gold
P: 2,313
 Quote by LCKurtz That counts some of the white area more than once, no? If you shade that inside area for ##\theta## sweeping from ##0## to ##2\pi##, that same area is swept out again as ##\theta## goes from ##2\pi## to ##4\pi##.
Emeritus
HW Helper
PF Gold
P: 7,819
 Quote by CAF123 1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data See the attached link 3. The attempt at a solution I considered each shaded part separately. For the one between ##2\pi ## and ##4\pi##, I set up: $$\int_{2\pi}^{4\pi} ((4\pi +\frac{\pi}{2})- (2\pi + \frac{\pi}{2}) d\theta$$ I used a similar method for the other portions and for each portion, I end up with ##4\pi^2##. This does not seem right because some of the shaded sections look larger than the others. Where is the fault with my method? Thanks!
For one thing, your reference to the shaded part "between ##2\pi ## and ##4\pi##" is at best ambiguous and at worst it makes no sense.

The spiral from θ = 2π to θ = 4π forms the "inner" boundary of the shaded region.

You can do this nicely with an iterated (double) integral in polar coordinates. (I assume we don't want that approach here.)

Consider a washer with inner radius, r, and outer radius, R. The area, ΔA, of this washer between θ and θ + Δθ is $\displaystyle \Delta A=(1/2)R^2\Delta\theta-(1/2)r^2\Delta\theta$

For the spiral in this problem, let r = θ and R = θ + 2π .

Integrate from θ = 2π to 4π .
PF Gold
P: 2,313
 Quote by SammyS For one thing, your reference to the shaded part "between ##2\pi ## and ##4\pi##" is at best ambiguous and at worst it makes no sense. The spiral from θ = 2π to θ = 4π forms the "inner" boundary of the shaded region. You can do this nicely with an iterated (double) integral in polar coordinates. (I assume we don't want that approach here.) Consider a washer with inner radius, r, and outer radius, R. The area, ΔA, of this washer between θ and θ + Δθ is $\displaystyle \Delta A=(1/2)R^2\Delta\theta-(1/2)r^2\Delta\theta$ For the spiral in this problem, let r = θ and R = θ + 2π . Integrate from θ = 2π to 4π .
Thanks for this method. Yes, I agree that what I wrote in the OP is nonsensical since θ is continually changing. I wouldn't mind seeing the double integral approach, I just don't see why it is necessary? Thanks!
Mentor
P: 12,053
 Quote by CAF123 Could you explain a bit more what you mean here? I have done integrals that represent areas as single integrals, (I.e at high school level).
As I said, one integral there was trivial.

If you want to calculate the area under the curve f(x) from a to b, you can express this as $$\int_a^b dx \int_0^{f(x)} 1 dy = \int_a^b dx (f(x)-0) dy= \int_a^b f(x) dx$$ which is the usual one-dimensional integral.
"1" comes from the cartesian coordinate system. It allows to perform the inner integral without writing it down, as it is simply the difference between the upper and lower bound.
In polar coordinates, you cannot do this with the integral over r.

$$\int_{2\pi}^{4\pi} d\theta \int_\theta^{\theta+2\pi} r dr = \int_{2\pi}^{4\pi} \frac{1}{2}\left((\theta+2\pi)^2 - \theta^2\right)d\theta = \int_{2\pi}^{4\pi} (2\pi\theta+2\pi^2)d\theta = 4\pi^3 + 2 \pi (16\pi^2 - 2\pi^2) = 32\pi^3$$

Hmm, looks quite big. Maybe I made an error somewhere.
Emeritus