Is the method used to evaluate the given integral correct?

• chwala
In summary: To do the method correctly, you need to use the definition of absolute value to replace |4t + 2| by -4t - 2, when ##t \le -1/2##.Okay...I get it now. Thank you for the correction.In summary, the integral $$\int_{-1}^0 |4t+2| dt$$ can be evaluated using two methods. In method 1, we use u-substitution to simplify the integral and find that the area under the curve is 1 square unit. In method 2, we use the definition of absolute value to split the integral into two parts and evaluate each part separately, resulting in the same answer of 1 square unit.
chwala
Gold Member
Homework Statement
This is my own question (set by myself)..I am refreshing.

Evaluate the integral

$$\int_{-1}^0 |4t+2| dt$$
Relevant Equations
Fundamental theorem of calculus -definite integrals
Method 1,
Pretty straightforward,

$$\int_{-1}^0 |4t+2| dt$$

Let ##u=4t+2##

##du=4 dt##

on substitution,

$$\frac{1}{4}\int_{-2}^2 |u| du=\frac{1}{4}\int_{-2}^0 (-u) du+\frac{1}{4}\int_{0}^2 u du=\frac{1}{4}[2+2]=1$$

Now on method 2,

$$\int_{-1}^0 |4t+2| dt=\int_{-1}^{-0.5} |4t+2| dt+\int_{-0.5}^0 |4t+2| dt=(-0.5-0)+-0.5=|-1|=1$$

We take the absolute value when finding area under curves...

your insight welcome....this things need refreshing at all times... looks like the methods are just one and the same...

I'm not sure what you mean by "we take the absolute value when finding area..."

The function is an absolute value. The methods are similar. How would this problem differ if there were no absolute value? A plot may help.

The u-substitution makes it intuitive where to split into 2 integrals.

chwala and malawi_glenn
scottdave said:
I'm not sure what you mean by "we take the absolute value when finding area..."

The function is an absolute value. The methods are similar. How would this problem differ if there were no absolute value? A plot may help.

The u-substitution makes it intuitive where to split into 2 integrals.
@scottdave i was reffering to:

$$\int_{-1}^0 |4t+2| dt=\int_{-1}^{-0.5} |4t+2| dt+\int_{-0.5}^0 |4t+2| dt=(-0.5-0)+-0.5=-1$$

...should the negative remain or it does not matter. This is a good question almost boggled me up trying to find the definite integral of ##\int_{-1}^{-0.5} (4t+2) dt##, that is without the absolute value. ##0!## hmmmmm can't be ...

I later realized that the graph is split into two halves with ##x=0.5## as the point dividing them... to give us, Area under curve:
##A=0.5+0.5=1## square units.

or does this follow the principle of odd and even functions where for instance for odd functions,
'##\int_{-a}^{a} f(x) dx=0##? ...really rusted in these area- i need to go through my notes!...

I think i got it, there is a difference between finding the definite integral and finding the area bound by the curve ##y=f(x)## having been given the limits say, ##x_1## and ##x_2##.

Last edited:
chwala said:
..should the negative remain or it does not matter.
You should not get a negative number. The graph of y = |4x + 2| is nonnegative for all real x, so any integral will also be nonnegative.

chwala said:
I later realized that the graph is split into two halves with x=0.5
You probably mean at x = -1/2.

Math100, malawi_glenn and chwala
Mark44 said:
You should not get a negative number. The graph of y = |4x + 2| is nonnegative for all real x, so any integral will also be nonnegative.

You probably mean at x = -1/2.
Yes at ##x=-0.5##. I will check my working steps again...

Did you check my method ##2##? that is in post ##1##. Let me post the steps first. A minute.

$$\int_{-1}^0 |4t+2| dt=\int_{-1}^{-0.5} |4t+2| dt+\int_{-0.5}^0 |4t+2| dt=\left[2t^2+2t\right]_{-1}^{-0.5}+\left[2t^2+2t\right]_{-0.5}^{0}$$
....one needs to be quite clear on whether you're determining the definite integral or finding the area bound by the curve.

In our case, we are just evaluating the definite integral therefore,$$\int_{-1}^0 |4t+2| dt=\int_{-1}^{-0.5} |4t+2| dt+\int_{-0.5}^0 |4t+2| dt=\left[2t^2+2t\right]_{-1}^{-0.5}+\left[2t^2+2t\right]_{-0.5}^{0}$$

$$=(-0.5-0)+(0+0.5)=-0.5+0.5=0$$

if it was area bound by the curve then our solution would be,$$\int_{-1}^0 |4t+2| dt=\int_{-1}^{-0.5} |4t+2| dt+\int_{-0.5}^0 |4t+2| dt=\left[2t^2+2t\right]_{-1}^{-0.5}+\left[2t^2+2t\right]_{-0.5}^{0}$$

$$=(-0.5-0)+(0+0.5)=|-0.5|+0.5=1$$

Last edited:
chwala said:
$$\int_{-1}^0 |4t+2| dt$$
Relevant Equations: Fundamental theorem of calculus -definite integrals
You can leave this section blank if there are no relevant equations. Fundamental Thm of Calculus is really too generic to be a helpful relevant equation.
chwala said:
Now on method 2, $$\int_{-1}^0 |4t+2| dt=\int_{-1}^{-0.5} |4t+2| dt+\int_{-0.5}^0 |4t+2| dt=(-0.5-0)+-0.5=|-1|=1$$
I wouldn't use substitution (your method 1) for such a straightforward problem. I'm not saying it's wrong, just that I wouldn't go this route.

For your method 2, use the definition of absolute value to replace |4t + 2| by -4t - 2, when ##t \le -1/2##. You have a mistake in your work, so you had to "fudge" your answer by taking the absolute value.

The integral you showed in your method 2 should look like this:
$$\int_{-1}^0 |4t+2| dt=\int_{-1}^{-0.5} -4t - 2 ~dt+\int_{-0.5}^0 4t + 2 ~dt = \left . -2t^2 - 2t \right |_{-1}^{-1/2} + \left . 2t^2 + 2t \right |_{-1/2}^0$$
$$= -2/4 + 1 - 0 + 0 - (1/2 - 1) = 1$$
No fudging of the result was needed.

Last edited:
Mark44 said:
You can leave this section blank if there are no relevant equations. Fundamental Thm of Calculus is really too generic to be a helpful relevant equation.

I wouldn't use substitution (your method 1) for such a straightforward problem. I'm not saying it's wrong, just that I wouldn't go this route.

For your method 2, use the definition of absolute value to replace |4t + 2| by -4t - 2, when ##t \le -1/2##. You have a mistake in your work, so you had to "fudge" your answer by taking the absolute value.

The integral you showed in your method 2 should look like this:
$$\int_{-1}^0 |4t+2| dt=\int_{-1}^{-0.5} -4t - 2 ~dt+\int_{-0.5}^0 4t + 2 ~dt = \left . -2t^2 - 2t \right |_{-1}^{-1/2} + \left . 2t^2 + 2t \right |_{-1/2}^0$$
$$= -2/4 + 1 - 0 + 0 - (1/2 - 1) = 1$$
No fudging of the result was needed.
True, i should have taken the negative of the absolute value by considering ##x=-0.5##...Noted.

On the side i think the question simply wanted us to evaluate the integral...check...

chwala said:
Noted but i think the question simply wanted us to evaluate the integral...check...
Right, I get that. What I'm saying is that your work in method 2 was incorrect. You got the right answer in this method only by "fudging" your result.

SammyS and chwala

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