line integral Definition and Topics - 28 Discussions

In mathematics, a line integral is an integral where the function to be integrated is evaluated along a curve. The terms path integral, curve integral, and curvilinear integral are also used; contour integral is used as well, although that is typically reserved for line integrals in the complex plane.
The function to be integrated may be a scalar field or a vector field. The value of the line integral is the sum of values of the field at all points on the curve, weighted by some scalar function on the curve (commonly arc length or, for a vector field, the scalar product of the vector field with a differential vector in the curve). This weighting distinguishes the line integral from simpler integrals defined on intervals. Many simple formulae in physics, such as the definition of work as




{\displaystyle W=\mathbf {F} \cdot \mathbf {s} }
, have natural continuous analogues in terms of line integrals, in this case









{\displaystyle \textstyle W=\int _{L}\mathbf {F} (\mathbf {s} )\cdot d\mathbf {s} }
, which computes the work done on an object moving through an electric or gravitational field F along a path


{\displaystyle L}

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  1. kmot

    I Why is this closed line integral zero?

    This problem comes from fluid dynamics where Kelvin circulation theorem states, that if density "rho" is a function of only pressure "p", then closed line integral of grad(p) / rho(p) equals zero. It seems so trivial, so that noone ever gives reason for this claim. When trying to solve it, I've...
  2. B

    Electric Potential inside an insulating sphere

    I used the potential at the surface of the sphere for my reference point for computing the potential at a point r < R in the sphere. The potential at the surface of the sphere is ## V(R) = k \frac {Q} {R} ##. To find the potential inside the sphere, I used the Electric field inside of an...
  3. K

    Curve integrals, del operator

    My attempt is below. Could somebody please check if everything is correct? Thanks in advance!
  4. T

    Multivariable Calculus, Line Integral

    The vector field F wich is given by $$\mathbf{F} = \dfrac{(x, y)} {\sqrt {1-x^2-y^2}}$$ And the line integral $$ \int_{C} F \cdot dr $$ C is the path of $$\dfrac{\ (\cos (t), \sin (t))}{ 1+ e^t}$$ , and $$0 ≤ t < \infty $$ How do I calculate this? Anyone got a tip/hint? many thanks
  5. JD_PM

    Particle moving in conservative force field

    I don't get why ##F \cdot dr = \frac{mv^2}{2}## I know this has to be really easy but don't see it. Thanks.
  6. JD_PM

    Why the magnetic field doesn't have to describe a circle?

    Homework Statement Imagine an infinite straight wire pointing at you (thus, the magnetic field curls counterclockwise from your perspective). Such a magnetic field equals to: $$B = \frac{\mu I}{2 \pi s} \hat{\phi}$$ I want to calculate the line integral of ##B## around the circular path of...
  7. Q

    Cylindrical Coordinates: Line Integral Of Electrostatic Field

    Homework Statement An electrostatic field ## \mathbf{E}## in a particular region is expressed in cylindrical coordinates ## ( r, \theta, z)## as $$ \mathbf{E} = \frac{\sin{\theta}}{r^{2}} \mathbf{e}_{r} - \frac{\cos{\theta}}{r^{2}} \mathbf{e}_{\theta} $$ Where ##\mathbf{e}_{r}##...
  8. L

    B Line Integral, Dot Product Confusion

    From my interpretation of this problem (image attached), the force applied to the point charge is equal and opposite to the repulsive Coulomb force that that point charge is experiencing due to the presence of the other point charge so that the point charge may be moved at a constant velocity. I...
  9. C

    I Force fields in curvilinear coordinate systems

    I am trying to solve problems where I calculate work do to force along paths in cylindrical and spherical coordinates. I can do almost by rote the problems in Cartesian: given a force ##\vec{F} = f(x,y,z)\hat{x} + g(x,y,z)\hat{y}+ h(x,y,z)\hat{z}## I can parametricize my some curve ##\gamma...
  10. SSGD

    I Area between two closed curves

    I have been trying to find an answer to this problem for some time. So I was hoping the community might be able to point me in the right direct. I couldn't get the image to load. So above is a link to an image of the problem...
  11. K

    Line integral

    Homework Statement Calculate the line integral ° v ⋅ dr along the curve y = x3 in the xy-plane when -1 ≤ x ≤ 2 and v = xy i + x2 j. Note: Sorry the integral sign doesn't seem to work it just makes a weird dot, looks like a degree sign, ∫. 2. The attempt at a solution I have to write...
  12. M

    Using Green's Theorem for a quadrilateral

    Homework Statement Evaluate the line integral of (sin x + y) dx + (3x + y) dy on the path connecting A(0, 0) to B(2, 2) to C(2, 4) to D(0, 6). A sketch will be useful. Homework Equations Sketching the points, I have created a parallelogram shape. I also know that green's theorem formula, given...
  13. E

    Line Integral Notation wrt Scalar Value function

    I'm getting a bit confused by the specific notation in the question and am unsure what exactly it is asking here/how to proceed. Homework Statement Given a scalar function ##f## find (a) ##∫f \vec {dl}## and (b) ##∫fdl## along a straight line from ##(0, 0, 0)## to ##(1, 1, 0)##. Homework...
  14. S

    I Vector Calculus: What do these terms mean?

    In our section on path independence, we were asked to find the potential function given a vector field. Our teacher says to use only line integrals to find the potential function, and not any other method. Like if we have ##F=\left< M,N,P \right> ## The first step is to determine if the domain...
  15. S

    Basic Line-Integral: Just trying to know what is being asked

    Hello. I'm new to physics, and the problem I have seems so basic, mathematically speaking. I'm just failing to grasp exactly what is being asked. If I can find that, I believe I can find the answer. Here it is: 1. Homework Statement Let A = x2ˆx + y2ˆy + z2ˆz Consider the parabolic path y2 =...
  16. S

    Line integral convert to polar coordinates

    Homework Statement I need to find the work done by the force field: $$\vec{F}=(5x-8y\sqrt{x^2+y^2})\vec{i}+(4x+10y\sqrt{x^2+y^2})\vec{j}+z\vec{k}$$ moving a particle from a to b along a path given by: $$\vec{r}=\frac{1}{2}\cos(t)\vec{i}+\frac{1}{2}\sin(t)\vec{j}+4\arctan(t)\vec{k}$$ The Attempt...
  17. T

    Line integral over vector field of a shifted ellipse

    This is part of a larger question, but this is the part I am having difficulty with. I have had an attempt, but am not sure where I am making a mistake. Any help would be very, very appreciated. 1. Homework Statement Let C2 be the part of an ellipse with centre at (4,0), horizontal semi-axis...
  18. A

    Line Integral Help

    Homework Statement Evaluate line integral(x+sqrt(y)) over y=x^2 from (0,0) to (1,1) and y=x from (1,1) to (0,0) Homework Equations n/a The Attempt at a Solution I set up integral from 0 to 1 of 2t(sqrt(1+4t^2))dt for the parabola part and then added integral from 0 to 1 of...
  19. E

    Line integral problems

    I'm used to parameterizing however I'm not sure how to solve these types of problems, any help would be much appreciated. 1) Calculate the line integral ∫v⋅dr along the curve y=x3 in the xy-plane when -1≤x≤2 and v=xyi+x2j 2) a) Find the work that the force F = (y2+5)i+(2xy-8)j carries...
  20. T

    How is a line integral over any closed surface 0?

    We just started going over line integrals in calculus, and have been told that the integral over any closed surface is 0. What I don't get is then why can we do the line integral of a circle to get 2##\pi##r? Since a circle is a closed surface, shouldn't the line integral then be 0?
  21. A

    Stokes theorom question with a line

    Homework Statement F[/B]=(y + yz- z, 5x+zx, 2y+xy ) use stokes on the line C that intersects: x^2 + y^2 + z^2 = 1 and y=1-x C is in the direction so that the positive direction in the point (1,0,0) is given by a vector (0,0,1) 2. The attempt at a solution I was thinking that I could decide...
  22. SquidgyGuff

    Calcularing area vector using line integral

    Homework Statement A closed curve C is described by the following equations in a Cartesian coordinate system: where the parameter t runs monotonically from 0 to 2π, thus defining the direction of C. Calculate the area vector of the planar region enclosed by C, using the formula: 2. The...
  23. fricke

    Line integral of sphere

    What's the line integral of sphere? Is it possible to get the line integral in three dimensions? What kind of line are we integrating?
  24. kostoglotov

    Insight into determinants and certain line integrals

    I just did this following exercise in my text If C is the line segment connecting the point (x_1,y_1) to (x_2,y_2), show that \int_C xdy - ydx = x_1y_2 - x_2y_1 I did, and I also noticed that if we put those points into a matrix with the first column (x_1,y_1) and the second column (x_2,y_2)...
  25. ognik

    Magnetic moment of current loop integral

    The question states: The calculation of the magnetic moment of a current loop leads to the line integral ∮ r x dr I am puzzled - shouldn't this be ∮ r x dl where r is the radius of the loop and dl is the small change along the loop? (I think dr would be in the same direction as r, so no cross...
  26. A

    Complex Contour Integral Problem, meaning

    Homework Statement First, lets take a look at the complex line integral. What is the geometry of the complex line integral? If we look at the real line integral GIF: [2]: The real line integral is a path, but then you...
  27. blair chiasson

    I have a problem with variable forces

    Homework Statement A force F has components F sub x = axy-by^2, F sub y= -axy+bx^2 where a= 2N/m^2 & b=4N/m^2 Calculate the work done on an object of mass 4kg if it is moved on a closed path from (x,y) values of (0,1) to (4,1), to (4,3) to (0,3) and back to (0,1). all coordinates are in metres...
  28. AwesomeTrains

    Line Integral - Stokes theorem

    Homework Statement Hello I was given the vector field: \vec A (\vec r) =(−y(x^2+y^2),x(x^2+y^2),xyz) and had to calculate the line integral \oint \vec A \cdot d \vec r over a circle centered at the origin in the xy-plane, with radius R , by using the theorem of Stokes. Another thing, when...