LCKurtz

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
Gold Member
9,428
698
Introduction
This article will attempt to take the mystery out of setting up surface integrals. It will explain the basic ideas underlying surface integration and show you how to parameterize surfaces to set up the corresponding integrals efficiently. You will need to have had or be taking ##3D## calculus covering multiple integrals to get the most out this presentation. The focus is on how to set up the integrals but not so much on techniques of evaluating them.
Vector functions giving space curves
Readers will be familiar with the vector function $$\vec R(t)= \langle x(t),y(t) \rangle = \langle 2\cos t, 2\sin t\rangle,~0\le t \le 2\pi$$which maps the ##t## interval ##I=[0,2\pi]## onto a circle of radius ##2## in the ##x,y## plane. Here, the value of the single independent variable ##t## determines the location of a point on the circle. I will call the interval ##I## the “parameter space”.
Similarly, a vector function of the form$$\vec R(t) = \langle x(t),y(t),z(t)\rangle,~a \le t...
Continue reading...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Orodruin

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
Gold Member
2018 Award
15,052
5,266
Some very nice examples, but I am missing a discussion on the directed surface element ##d\vec S = \vec n \, dS##, where ##\vec n## is a unit normal. This is very important for flux integrals in general and for the divergence theorem in particular:
$$
\int_\Omega (\nabla\cdot \vec v) dV = \oint_{\partial\Omega} \vec v \cdot d\vec S.
$$
The discussion would also fit right in before ##dS = |\vec R_u \times \vec R_v|du\, dv##. Since the normal is orthogonal to both ##\vec R_u## and ##\vec R_v##, the directed surface element is just ##d\vec S = (\vec R_u \times \vec R_v) du\, dv## without the absolute value around the cross product. At least to me this feels like a more natural quantity than ##dS## and it is how I introduce the surface element when I teach vector analysis.
 

LCKurtz

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
Gold Member
9,428
698
Some very nice examples, but I am missing a discussion on the directed surface element ##d\vec S = \vec n \, dS##, where ##\vec n## is a unit normal. This is very important for flux integrals in general and for the divergence theorem in particular:
$$
\int_\Omega (\nabla\cdot \vec v) dV = \oint_{\partial\Omega} \vec v \cdot d\vec S.
$$
The discussion would also fit right in before ##dS = |\vec R_u \times \vec R_v|du\, dv##. Since the normal is orthogonal to both ##\vec R_u## and ##\vec R_v##, the directed surface element is just ##d\vec S = (\vec R_u \times \vec R_v) du\, dv## without the absolute value around the cross product. At least to me this feels like a more natural quantity than ##dS## and it is how I introduce the surface element when I teach vector analysis.
Hi Orodruin. I debated with myself about that and decided to leave the focus on the parameterization of surfaces. When I taught the course I spent the first lecture on parameterization, and on another day discussed flux integrals as an application. I do agree that the formula ##\hat ndS = \pm \vec R_u \times \vec R_v~dudv## is important and useful. Maybe I will eventually do a follow-up about that.
 
Last edited:

Want to reply to this thread?

"Demystifying Parameterization and Surface Integrals" You must log in or register to reply here.

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top