Is there a u-substitution that works?

• ehrenfest
In summary, the equation you wrote in your last post is bogus because it doesn't match the result of a trig substitution.
ehrenfest

Homework Statement

What technique should I use to evaluate:

$$\int_0^L \frac{1}{(x^2+z^2)^{3/2}} dx$$

Is there a u-substitution that works?

The Attempt at a Solution

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Trigonometric substitution

$$x=z\tan{\theta}$$
$$dx=z\sec^{2}\theta d\theta$$

Assuming you're integrating with respects to x.

With respect to what variable are you integrating? x or z?

Try pulling out the variable you're integrating w.r.t. and you should be able to do a u-substitution then.

bob1182006 said:
With respect to what variable are you integrating? x or z?

Sorry. I fixed it.

bob1182006 said:
Try pulling out the variable you're integrating w.r.t. and you should be able to do a u-substitution then.

What do you mean by that?

Pull out x from the ()^3/2 term, and do a you can do a u-substitution from there.

bob1182006 said:
Pull out x from the ()^3/2 term, and do a you can do a u-substitution from there.

I don't see how you can "pull out" the x from ()^(3/2) term. Anyway, I did the trig substitution that rocophysics recommended and that worked nicely.

$$\frac{1}{(x^2+z^2)^{3/2}}=\frac{x^{-3}}{(1+z^2x^{-2})^{3/2}}$$

u-sub the 1+z^2... and you'll get a 1/u^3/2 integral

You get the same answer as with a trig substitution, but you will have to multiply by x/x in order to match the answer from trig substitution.

Let $u = 1+z^2 x^{-2}$. Then $du = -2 z^2 x^{-3}$

Then say the integral is from -L to L. What is wrong with this:

$$\int_{-L}^L \frac{1}{(x^2+z^2)^{3/2}} dx = \int_{-L}^L \frac{x^{-3}}{(1+z^2x^{-2})^{3/2}} dx = \int_{1+z^2 L^{-2}}^{1+z^2 L^{-2}}\frac{u^{-3/2}}{-2 z^2} du$$

That integral has to be 0 because the limits are the same. But that makes absolutely no sense because the LHS integral is positive everywhere on the interval that you are integrating over! What in the world is going on here!

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you changed the limits, your original integral is from 0 to L, so the new limits should be from 0 to 1+(z^2)/L^2

$x= z \sinh u$ works out fastest here, I can do it in my head with that one.

bob1182006 said:
you changed the limits, your original integral is from 0 to L, so the new limits should be from 0 to 1+(z^2)/L^2

I know these are not the original limits. My question is now about the substitution rule. Please tell me why the equation I wrote in my last post is bogus.

Gib Z said:
$x= z \sinh u$ works out fastest here, I can do it in my head with that one.
Do you really mean hyperbolic sine?

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When we use the use the substitution rule is the normal direction, x= f(u), it doesn't matter, but when doing it in reverse, u= g(x), we have to change the bounds into values of u from x, so we must ensure g(x) is one-to-one in the interval of integration, otherwise we run into exactly the same problem here. To do this, we note the integral is equal to two times the integral from 0 to L, and then we may continue since in this interval, our substitution is 1 to 1.

And yes, i really meant Hyperbolic sine.

bob1182006 said:
$$\frac{1}{(x^2+z^2)^{3/2}}=\frac{x^{-3}}{(1+z^2x^{-2})^{3/2}}$$

u-sub the 1+z^2... and you'll get a 1/u^3/2 integral

You get the same answer as with a trig substitution, but you will have to multiply by x/x in order to match the answer from trig substitution.

How do you handle the fact that u blows up at x = 0? I think that u substitution fails because u has to be differentiable on the interval you are differentiating over and your u is not even defined on that interval.

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if you integrate that using that u-substitution you get:

$$\int \frac{x^{-3} dx}{(1+z^2x^{-2})^{3/2}}=\frac{-1}{2z^2}\int\frac{du}{u^{3/2}}=\frac{1}{z^2}\frac{1}{\sqrt{1+z^2x^{-2}}} +C$$

multiply by 1, x/x and you get

$$\frac{x}{z^2\sqrt{x^2+z^2}} + C$$

which is what you would get if you do the integral any other way.

If you then use that final equation with the limits you will get the same answer doing it any other way.

But you're right if you do a definite integral with 0 as one of the limits it will come out incorrectly because you need to multiply by x/x and with 0 you'd have to multiply by 0/1 so as not to multiply by 0/0...

Gib Z said:
$x= z \sinh u$ works out fastest here, I can do it in my head with that one.

I cannot even do that on paper. It works out nicely until you half to back-substitute the limits of integration and calculate [itex]\tanh(u(L))-\tanh(u(0))[/tex].

I usually find it easier to express the integral is terms of the original variable again, rather than change the limits of integration. Solving the substitution for u is quite straightforward:

$$u= \asinh \left( \frac{x}{z} \right)$$.

Putting the into the anti derivative we already had: $$\frac{1}{z^2} \tanh \left( \asinh \left( \frac{x}{z} \right) \right) + C$$

and now evaluating and subtracting the limits, the integral is equal to $$\frac{1}{z^2} \tanh \left( \asinh \left( \frac{L}{z} \right) \right)$$.

This expression can be simplified further in a similar manner to how we would simplify the circular trig analogue.

EDIT: I don't know why the arsinhs arent coming up in the latex, press the images to see what i meant.

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What is a u-substitution and how does it work?

A u-substitution is a method used in calculus to simplify integrals by changing the variable of integration. It involves substituting a new variable, usually denoted as u, in place of the existing variable in the integral. This allows for the integral to be rewritten in a simpler form, making it easier to solve.

When should I use a u-substitution?

A u-substitution is most commonly used when the integrand (the expression inside the integral) contains a function and its derivative, such as f(x) and f'(x). It can also be used when there is a product of functions, a chain rule, or a trigonometric function present in the integrand.

What are the steps to perform a u-substitution?

The general steps for performing a u-substitution are as follows:

1. Identify the appropriate u value to substitute into the integral. This u value should be a function or variable that is also present in the integrand and can be easily integrated.
2. Find the derivative of u, du/dx.
3. Substitute u and du/dx into the integral. This should result in a new integral with only u and du terms.
4. Integrate the new integral with respect to u.
5. Substitute back in the original variable for u and simplify the resulting expression.

Are there any common mistakes to avoid when using u-substitution?

One common mistake when using u-substitution is forgetting to replace the differential (dx) with the appropriate differential (du) after substituting in the new variable. It is also important to be careful with the signs when substituting and integrating, as this can often lead to incorrect results.

Is there a shortcut for performing u-substitution?

Yes, there is a shortcut for performing u-substitution called the "u-substitution formula." This formula states that if the integrand contains a function f(x) and its derivative f'(x), then the integral can be rewritten as ∫f(x)dx = ∫f(u)du. This can save time and effort when performing u-substitution, but it is important to still follow the steps and avoid common mistakes.

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