# Integrating 2-forms over a parameterised surface

• Rasalhague
In summary, the conversation discusses a technique for integrating 2-forms and using it to find the surface area of a sphere. However, there is a mistake in the 2-form used and a corrected version is provided. The conversation also touches on the concept of interior multiplication and its use in computing determinants for integrating over a surface.
Rasalhague
Not sure if this question belongs more here or in Topology & Geometry or in Math & Science Software...

I'm trying out the technique described in Bachman: A Geometric Approach to Differential forms, § 6.2 "Integrating 2-forms". To take a simple example, I tried to use this method to get the surface area of a sphere, S2, with radius R, embedded in R3. I think the 2-form I need to integrate is

$$\omega = dy \wedge dz + dz \wedge dx + dx \wedge dz.$$

I've chosen the obvious parameterization

$$\psi : \mathbb{R}^2 \rightarrow \mathbb{R}^3 \; \bigg| \; \psi (\zeta, \alpha) = R \; (\sin \zeta \cos \alpha, \sin \zeta \sin \alpha, \cos \zeta)$$

where $0 \leq \zeta \leq \pi$ is the zenith angle, and $0 \leq \alpha \leq 2 \pi$ the azimuth angle. Let $\textbf{x}=\psi(\zeta, \alpha)$. Then

$$\frac{\partial \textbf{x}}{\partial \zeta} = R \; (\cos \zeta \cos \alpha, \cos \zeta \sin \alpha, -\sin \zeta)$$

$$\frac{\partial \textbf{x}}{\partial \alpha} = R \; (-\sin \zeta \sin \alpha, \sin \zeta \cos \alpha, 0)$$

Barring copying errors on my part, mathematica confirms this.

$$dy \wedge dz\left ( \frac{\partial \textbf{x}}{\partial \zeta}, \frac{\partial \textbf{x}}{\partial \alpha} \right ) = \begin{vmatrix} R \cos \zeta \sin \alpha & R \cos \alpha \sin \zeta\\ -R \sin \zeta & 0 \end{vmatrix} = R^2 \cos \alpha \; \sin^2 \zeta$$

$$dz \wedge dx \left ( \frac{\partial \textbf{x}}{\partial \zeta}, \frac{\partial \textbf{x}}{\partial \alpha} \right ) = \begin{vmatrix} -R \sin \zeta & 0 \\ R \cos \zeta \cos \alpha & -R \sin \zeta \sin \alpha \end{vmatrix} = R^2 \sin \alpha \; \sin^2 \zeta$$

$$dx \wedge dy \left ( \frac{\partial \textbf{x}}{\partial \zeta}, \frac{\partial \textbf{x}}{\partial \alpha} \right ) = \begin{vmatrix} R \cos \zeta \cos \alpha & -R \sin \zeta \sin \alpha \\ R \cos \zeta \sin \alpha & R \sin \zeta \cos \alpha \end{vmatrix} = R^2 \cos \zeta \sin \zeta$$

But according to Mathematica,

$$R^2 \int_0^{2\pi} \int_0^\pi \left [ \sin^2 \zeta (\cos \alpha + \sin \alpha) + \cos \zeta \sin \zeta \right ] d \zeta \wedge d \alpha = 0$$

What went wrong?

Code:
x = R {Sin[z] Cos[a], Sin[z] Sin[a], Cos[z]};
tz = D[x, z]; ta = D[x, a];
Integrate[
Simplify[Det[{{tz[[2]], ta[[2]]}, {tz[[3]], ta[[3]]}}] +
Det[{{tz[[3]], ta[[3]]}, {tz[[1]], ta[[1]]}}] +
Det[{{tz[[1]], ta[[1]]}, {tz[[2]], ta[[2]]}}]], {z, 0, Pi}, {a, 0,
2 Pi}]

Mathematica gave the same results for each of the matrices and their determinants as I got by hand.

You are not using the right 2-form if you're hoping to get 4piR² as the answer.

Try integrating

(x/R)dydz - (y/R)dxdz + (z/R)dxdy

(See Proposition 13.24 in Lee's books which tells you which form is induced on an hypersurface)

Thanks for the pointer, Quasar. I don't have a copy of Introduction to Smooth Manifolds, but I can read bits of it on Google Books, and bits on Amazon, including this proposition.

What does the symbol between N and dVg mean?

It is interior multiplication, also often written $\iota_NdV_g$.

More generally, if you have a k form $\Omega$ and a vector field X, then you can construct a (k-1)-form from these two ingredients by setting $(\iota_X\Omega)(\cdot,\ldots,\cdot):=\Omega(X,\cdot,\ldots,\cdot)$. It is called the interior product of X with $\Omega$.

Excellent, that works perfectly. Thanks, Quasar, I understand now.

Code:
x = R {Sin[z] Cos[a], Sin[z] Sin[a], Cos[z]};
tz = D[x, z]; ta = D[x, a];
R^(-1)*Integrate[
Simplify[x[[1]]*Det[{{tz[[2]], ta[[2]]}, {tz[[3]], ta[[3]]}}] +
x[[2]]*Det[{{tz[[3]], ta[[3]]}, {tz[[1]], ta[[1]]}}] +
x[[3]]*Det[{{tz[[1]], ta[[1]]}, {tz[[2]], ta[[2]]}}]], {z, 0,
Pi}, {a, 0, 2 Pi}]

gives $4 \pi R^2$, since the unit normal vector is

$$\frac{\textbf{x}}{R}$$

And a more round-about way to the same result is

Code:
x = R {Sin[z] Cos[a], Sin[z] Sin[a], Cos[z]};
tz = D[x, z]; ta = D[x, a]; n =
Simplify[Cross[tz, ta]/Norm[Cross[tz, ta]]]; Integrate[
Simplify[n[[1]]*Det[{{tz[[2]], ta[[2]]}, {tz[[3]], ta[[3]]}}] +
n[[2]]*Det[{{tz[[3]], ta[[3]]}, {tz[[1]], ta[[1]]}}] +
n[[3]]*Det[{{tz[[1]], ta[[1]]}, {tz[[2]], ta[[2]]}}]], {z, 0,
Pi}, {a, 0, 2 Pi}, Assumptions -> R \[Element] Reals]

defining the unit normal by

$$N=\frac{\partial_\zeta \textbf{x} \times \partial_\alpha \textbf{x}}{\left \| \partial_\zeta \textbf{x} \times \partial_\alpha \textbf{x} \right \|}.$$

And we get the action of a k-form, k > 1, on a single vector, starting with the complete determinant formula, given by Lee in Riemannian Manifolds as

$$\omega^1 \wedge ... \wedge \omega^k (v_1, ..., v_k) = \text{det}(\omega^i(v_j))$$

(Bachman defines it equivalently by the transpose), and then carrying out the first stage of computing this determinant, splitting it into determinants of (empty) submatrices, each multiplied by the appropriate coefficient of the vector, then plugging into these subdeterminants the coefficients of the tangent basis to the embedded surface to be integrated over.

Incidentally, Wikipedia's remark on the terminology made me smile: "The interior product, named in opposition to the exterior product, is also called interior or inner multiplication, or the inner derivative or derivation, but should not be confused with an inner product." (Also called... Also not to be confused with the following things also called inner product...)

## 1. What is meant by "integrating 2-forms over a parameterised surface"?

Integrating 2-forms over a parameterised surface refers to the process of finding the total value or area of a 2-form (a mathematical object with two inputs and a scalar output) over a surface that is described by a parameterization, or a set of equations that define the surface in terms of one or more variables.

## 2. Why do we need to integrate 2-forms over a parameterised surface?

Integrating 2-forms over a parameterised surface allows us to calculate important quantities such as flux, circulation, and surface area. These calculations are often used in various fields of science and engineering, including physics, fluid dynamics, and computer graphics.

## 3. What is the process for integrating 2-forms over a parameterised surface?

The process for integrating 2-forms over a parameterised surface involves first setting up the appropriate integral using the parameterization equations and the 2-form function. Then, the integral is evaluated using techniques such as substitution, integration by parts, or partial fractions.

## 4. Are there any special considerations to keep in mind when integrating 2-forms over a parameterised surface?

Yes, when integrating 2-forms over a parameterised surface, it is important to ensure that the parameterization is well-defined and that the surface is smooth and does not intersect itself. Additionally, the orientation of the surface must be taken into account when setting up the integral.

## 5. Can integrating 2-forms over a parameterised surface be applied to real-world problems?

Yes, integrating 2-forms over a parameterised surface has many practical applications in various fields of science and engineering. For example, it can be used to calculate the flux of a fluid through a surface, the circulation of a vector field around a surface, or the surface area of an object in 3-dimensional space.

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