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Polar coordinates and multivariable integrals.

  1. Mar 15, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Im righting this down for my roommates since he's having tons of trouble trying to figure this out and I can't answer it.
    also sorry for having to hotlink it.
    http://i.imgur.com/afShz.jpg

    the equation is on the image since its very difficult to type it all out. Apologies about that.
    we understand everything up till the 2 is introduced and the integral goes from 0 to pi/6. We don't understand how you are able to just introduce a 2 and take out the -pi/6.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2012 #2

    cepheid

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    This combines a simple property of integrals along with the fact that the function of theta is an even function (meaning that it is symmetric around the y-axis).

    The property of integrals is that you can split the interval of integration up into a bunch of sub-intervals. The integral over the overall interval is then equal to the sum of the integrals over the subintervals. For instance, you can split the interval from -pi/6 to +pi/6 up into two sub-intervals. The first interval goes from -pi/6 to 0, and the second interval goes from 0 to +pi/6. According to the rule I just stated, then, we can write:[tex]\int_{-\pi/6}^{\pi/6} f(\theta)\,d\theta = \int_{-\pi/6}^{0} f(\theta)\,d\theta + \int_{0}^{\pi/6} f(\theta)\,d\theta [/tex]Now, if f(θ) is an even function, then it is symmetric around the y-axis. This means that the area under the curve from -pi/6 to 0 is exactly the same as the area under the curve from 0 to pi/6. Therefore, you can substitute one integral for the other (they are numerically equivalent):[tex]\int_{-\pi/6}^{\pi/6} f(\theta)\,d\theta = \int_{-\pi/6}^{0} f(\theta)\,d\theta + \int_{0}^{\pi/6} f(\theta)\,d\theta = \int_{0}^{\pi/6} f(\theta)\,d\theta + \int_{0}^{\pi/6} f(\theta)\,d\theta [/tex]In the last expression, I just replaced the integral from -pi/6 to 0 with an integral from 0 to pi/6, since they are the same. Obviously the last sum can then by written as[tex] = 2\int_0^{\pi/6} f(\theta)\,d\theta[/tex]
     
  4. Mar 15, 2012 #3
    thank you, this makes a lot more sense.
     
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