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Calculus Help and Problems

This section contains in depth discussions and explanations on key topics that appear throughout Calculus 1
and 2 up through Vector Calculus. The topics are arranged in a natural progression catering typically to late
highschool and early college students, covering the foundations of calculus, limits, derivatives, integrals, and

Still need help after using our calculus resources? Use our service to find a calculus tutor or ask a calculus

Introduction to Calculus
Calculus is an advanced branch of mathematics, incorporating algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. Known as
the study of change and motion, core calculus concepts include limits, derivatives, and integrals of functions. In
this section, learn about calculus history, how its the similar to (and different from!) other branches of math,
and how people use calculus in real life.

One of the first topics introduced in any calculus class, limits introduce the component of infinity to math
problems. How do you find the limit of a function? This lesson defines limits and provides a variety of examples
to understand the concept.

Differential Calculus
The process of finding the derivative of a function at any point is called differentiation, and differential calculus
is the field that studies this process. This overview of differential calculus introduces different concepts of the
derivative and walks you through example problems.

Integral Calculus
Integral calculus involves the concept of integration. Alongside differentiation, integration is one of the main
operations in calculus. Integration is the process of finding the integral of a function at any point on a graph.
This lesson defines integration and also covers Riemann integration and the general power rule.

Multivariable / Vector Calculus

Multivariable calculus, also called vector calculus, deals with functions of two variables in three- dimensional
space. Multivariable calculus extends concepts found in differential and integral calculus. This group of lessons
introduces important concepts such as vectors in two and three- dimensional space and vector functions.

Introduction to Calculus

Calculus is the study of change and motion, in the same way that geometry is the study of shape and algebra is
the study of rules of operations and relations. It is the culmination of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry,
which makes it the next step in a logical progression of mathematics.
Calculus defines and deals with limits, derivatives, and integrals of functions. The key ingredient in calculus is
the notion ofinfinity. The essential link to completing calculus and satisfying concerns about infinite behavior is
the concept of the limit, which lays the foundation for both derivatives and integrals.
Calculus is often divided into two sections: Differential Calculus (dealing with derivatives, e.g. rates of change
and tangents), and Integral Calculus (dealing with integrals, e.g. areas and volumes). Differential Calculus and
Integral Calculus are closely related as we will see in subsequent pages. It is important to have a conceptual
idea of what calculus is and why it is important in order to understand how calculus works.

History of Calculus
Main Lesson: Brief History of Calculus
A brief history of the invention of calculus and its development.

Difference Between Calculus and Other Mathematics

Main Lesson: Difference Between Calculus and Other Mathematics
A comparison of calculus against other mathematical disciplines.

Calculus Applications in Algebra and Geometry

Main Lesson: Calculus Applications in Algebra and Geometry
Read about how calculus advances algebra and geometry.

Real Life Applications of Calculus

Main Lesson: Real Life Applications of Calculus
Some examples of real life applications using calculus.

A Brief History of Calculus

Calculus was created by Isaac Newton, a British scientist, as well as Gottfried Leibniz, a self-taught German
mathematician, in the 17th century. It has been long disputed who should take credit for inventing calculus
first, but both independently made discoveries that led to what we know now as calculus. Newton discovered
the inverse relationship between the derivative (slope of a curve) and the integral (the area beneath it), which

deemed him as the creator of calculus. Thereafter, calculus was actively used to solve the major scientific
dilemmas of the time, such as:

calculating the slope of the tangent line to a curve at any point along its length

determining the velocity and acceleration of an object given a function describing its position,
and designing such a position function given the object's velocity or acceleration

calculating arc lengths and the volume and surface area of solids

calculating the relative and absolute extrema of objects, especially projectiles

For Newton, the applications for calculus were geometrical and related to the physical world - such as
describing the orbit of the planets around the sun. For Leibniz, calculus was more about analysis of change in
graphs. Leibniz's work was just as important as Newton's, and many of his notations are used today, such as
the notations for taking the derivative and the integral.

Algebra and Geometry with Calculus

One of the earliest algebra topics learned is how to find the slope of a line--a numerical value that describes just
how slanted that line is. Calculus gives us a much more generalized method of finding slopes. With it, we can
find not only how steeply a line slopes, but indeed, how steeply any curve slopes at any given point.
Without calculus, it is difficult to find areas of shapes other than those whose formulas you learned in
geometry. You may be able to find the area of commons shapes such as a triangle, square, rectangle, circle, and
even a trapezoid; but how could you find the area of the shape like the one shown below?

With calculus, you can calculate complicated x-intercepts. Without a graphing calculator, it is pretty difficult to
calculate an irrational root. However, a simple process called Newton's Method (named Isaac Newton) allows
you to calculate an irrational root to whatever accuracy you want.
Calculus makes it much easier to visualize graphs. You may already have a good grasp of linear functions and
how to visualize their graphs easily, but what about the graph of something like y= x^3 + 2x^2 - x + 1?
Elementary calculus tells you exactly where that graph will be increasing, decreasing, and twisting. You can even
find the highest and lowest points on the graph without plotting a single point.
One of the most useful applications of calculus is the optimization of functions. In a small number of steps, you
can answer questions such as:
If I have 500 feet of fence, what is the largest rectangular yard I can make? or Given a rectangular sheet of
paper which measures 8.5 inches by 11 inches, what are the dimensions of the box I can make containing the
greatest volume?
The traditional way to create an open box from a rectangular surface is to cut congruent squares from the
corners of the rectangle and then to fold the resulting sides up as shown:

Calculus develops concepts in other mathematics that lets us discover more about them and enables us to
achieve greater feats than the mathematics that it is built on. It is vital to understanding and making sense of
the world we live in.

Applications of Calculus
With calculus, we have the ability to find the effects of changing conditions on a system. By studying these, you
can learn how to control a system to make it do what you want it to do. Because of the ability to model and
control systems, calculus gives us extraordinary power over the material world.
Calculus is the language of engineers, scientists, and economists. The work of these professionals has a huge
impact on our daily life - from your microwaves, cell phones, TV, and car to medicine, economy, and national
Credit card companies use calculus to set the minimum payments due on credit card statements at the exact
time the statement is processed by considering multiple variables such as changing interest rates and a
fluctuating available balance.
Biologists use differential calculus to determine the exact rate of growth in a bacterial culture when different
variables such as temperature and food source are changed. This research can help increase the rate of growth
of necessary bacteria, or decrease the rate of growth for harmful and potentially threatening bacteria.
An electrical engineer uses integration to determine the exact length of power cable needed to connect two
substations that are miles apart. Because the cable is hung from poles, it is constantly curving. Calculus allows a
precise figure to be determined.
An architect will use integration to determine the amount of materials necessary to construct a curved dome
over a new sports arena, as well as calculate the weight of that dome and determine the type of support
structure required.
Space flight engineers frequently use calculus when planning lengthy missions. To launch an exploratory
probe, they must consider the different orbiting velocities of the Earth and the planet the probe is targeted for,
as well as other gravitational influences like the sun and the moon. Calculus allows each of those variables to be
accurately taken into account.
Statisticians will use calculus to evaluate survey data to help develop business plans for different companies.
Because a survey involves many different questions with a range of possible answers, calculus allows a more
accurate prediction for appropriate action.
A physicist uses calculus to find the center of mass of a sports utility vehicle to design appropriate safety
features that must adhere to federal specifications on different road surfaces and at different speeds.
An operations research analyst will use calculus when observing different processes at a manufacturing
corporation. By considering the value of different variables, they can help a company improve operating
efficiency, increase production, and raise profits.

A graphics artist uses calculus to determine how different three-dimensional models will behave when
subjected to rapidly changing conditions. This can create a realistic environment for movies or video games.
Obviously, a wide variety of careers regularly use calculus. Universities, the military, government agencies,
airlines, entertainment studios, software companies, and construction companies are only a few employers
who seek individuals with a solid knowledge of calculus. Even doctors and lawyers use calculus to help build the
discipline necessary for solving complex problems, such as diagnosing patients or planning a prosecution case.
Despite its mystique as a more complex branch of mathematics, calculus touches our lives each day, in ways
too numerous to calculate.

Difference Between Calculus and Other Math Subjects

On the left, a man is pushing a crate up a straight incline. On the right, a man is pushing the same crate up a
curving incline. The problem in both cases is to determine the amount of energy required to push the crate to
the top. For the problem on the left, you can use algebra and trigonometry to solve the problem. For the
problem on the right, you need calculus. Why do you need calculus with the problem on the right and not the
This is because with the straight incline, the man pushes with an unchanging force and the crate goes up the
incline at an unchanging speed. With the curved incline on the right, things are constantly changing. Since the
steepness of the incline is constantly changing, the amount of energy expended is also changing. This is why
calculus is described as "the mathematics of change". Calculus takes regular rules of math and applies them to
evolving problems.
With the curving incline problem, the algebra and trigonometry that you use is the same, the difference is that
you have to break up the curving incline problem into smaller chunks and do each chunk separately. When
zooming in on a small portion of the curving incline, it looks as if it is a straight line:

Then, because it is straight, you can solve the small chunk just like the straight incline problem. When all of the
small chunks are solved, you can just add them up.
This is basically the way calculus works - it takes problems that cannot be done with regular math because
things are constantly changing, zooms in on the changing curve until it becomes straight, and then it lets

regular math finish off the problem. What makes calculus such a brilliant achievement is that it actually zooms
in infinitely. In fact, everything you do in calculus involves infinity in one way or another, because if something is
constantly changing, it is changing infinitely from each infinitesimal moment to the next. All of calculus relies on
the fundamental principle that you can always use approximations of increasing accuracy to find the exact
answer. Just like you can approximate a curve by a series of straight lines, you can also approximate a spherical
solid by a series of cubes that fit inside the sphere.

Help with Limits in Calculus

All of calculus relies on the principle that we can always use approximations of increasing accuracy to find the
exact answer, such as approximating a curve by a series of straight lines in differential calculus (the shorter the
lines and as the distance between points approaches 0, the closer they are to resembling the curve) or
approximating a spherical solid by a series of cubes in integral calculus (as the size of the cubes gets smaller
and the number of cubes approaches infinity inside the sphere, the end result becomes closer to the actual
area of the sphere).

With the help of modern technology, graphs of functions are often easy to produce. The main focus is between
the geometric and analytic information and on the use of calculus both to predict and to explain the observed
local and long term behavior of a function. In Calculus classes, limits are usually the first topic introduced.

In order to understand the workings of differential and integral calculus, we need to understand the concept of
a limit. Limits are used in differentiation when finding the approximation for the slope of a line at a particular
point, as well as integration when finding the area under a curve. In calculus, limits introduce the component
of infinity. We can ask ourselves, what happens to the value of a function as the independent variable gets
infinitely close to a particular value?

The graph illustrates finding the limit of the dependent variable f(x) as x approaches c. A way to find this is to
plug in values that gets close to c from the left and values close to c from the right.

To further illustrate the concept of a limit, consider the sequence of numbers of x:

These values are getting closer and closer to 2 (i.e. they are approaching 2 as their limit). We can can say that no
matter what value we consider, 2 is the smallest value that is greater than every output f(x) in the sequence. As
we take the differences of these numbers, they will get smaller and smaller. In calculus, the difference between
the terms of the sequence and their limit can be made infinitesimally small.

Sometimes, finding the limiting value of an expression means simply substituting a number.

(1) Find the limit as t approaches 10 of the expression

We write this using limit notation as

In this example, we simply substitute and write

There is no complication because M = 3t + 7 is a continuous function, but there are cases where we cannot
simply substitute like this.

(2) Find the limit as x approaches 0 of

Notice that we cannot simply substitute 0 because sin(0)0 is undefined, and therefore it is not continuous. There is
no algebraic process to find this limit. If we plug in 0 for x, we will get 00, which is undefined. There is, however,
a method using differentiation (see L'Hopital's Rule). We can find the limit without using differentiation by
looking at the function's behavior from the left and right of x = 0. We can substitute values that get closer and
closer to 0 from the left and the right side to conclude that

A way to check this is to graph it and see that the limit as x gets closer to 0 is 1.

Let's look at a zoomed out view of this image and look at its behavior as x gets infinitely big and infinitely small.

Does this image look familiar? If it does, that's because it is similar to the function of a sound wave, where
the x axis is time and the y axis is the amount of decibels (volume). Notice as the the wave trails off in either
direction, it approaches 0 but never actually settles. It is interesting to think that every sound wave ever made
still exists and is oscillating at an infinitesimally small level!

(3) Consider the limit as x approaches infinity of the function f(x) = 5x

We can find that if we take larger and larger values of x, the value of the fractions becomes smaller and smaller
until it gets very close to 0. We say that the limit of 5x as x approaches infinity is 0:

(4) Find the limit of this function as x approaches infinity.

For this function, it is not very obvious what the limit is. We could substitute larger and larger values of x until
we see what is happening (try 100, then 1,000, then 10,000, and so on). We could also rearrange the expression
and use the fact that the limit asx approaches infinity of 1x is 0 to find the limiting value.

We divide throughout by x to get the expression in a form where we can evaluate it.

Notice that we cannot substitute infinity into the fraction because that does not make mathematical sense
(infinity is not a number). The 5x and the 1x go to 0 as x approaches infinity, so those values become 0. We
evaluate the limit as -12.

(5) Limits may also exist at a point on a graph where the output f(x) is a different value.

We can see that even though the graph is discontinuous as x=2, we know there exists a limit because the graph
approaches 2 from the left and the right.

(6) Let's consider the function f(x)=1x:

What is the behavior of this function as the x value gets bigger? We can see that the graph gets closer to
the x axis, which has a height of 0. If we recall in precalculus and algebra, this function would have an
asymptote at y = 0. We can say that as xapproaches infinity, f(x) is approaching 0.

Similarly, we can say that as x approaches negative infinity, it approaches 0 as well.

We can conclude that one over infinity and one over negative infinity both equal 0.

In fact, any number over positive or negative infinity will converge to 0 - unless both the numerator and
denominator are positive or negative infinity, then they would converge to 1.

Keep in mind that positive and negative infinity are just ideas. This is why in mathematics notation we use limits
to prove as a number gets infinitely big or small, it converges to a number or doesn't converge at all!

What about when x approaches 0? We can see as it gets closer to the y axis (x=0) from the right it gets really big,
and as it approaches the y axis from the left it gets really small. We can conlude that


This is not possible! Since the limit is different from left and from the right, it does not exist. This is why dividing
by 0 is undefined - it equals both positive and negative infinity!

(7) Here is a geometric example of a limit. Let's look at a polygon inscribed in a circle. If we increase the number
of sides of the polygon, what can we say about the polygon with respect to the circle?

As the number of sides of the polygon increases, the polygon gets closer and closer to the becoming the circle.
If we generalize the polygon as an n-gon, where n is the number of sides, we can make some mathematical
statements about the polygon:

As n gets larger, the n-gon gets closer to being the circle.

As n approaches infinity, the n-gon approaches the circle.

The limit of the n-gon as n goes to infinity is the circle.

We can also use differentiation to solve more complex limits, such as indeterminant limits. These are limits
where both the numerator and the denominator approach 0 or positive or negative infinity, such as

In the limit on the left, when x approaches 3, the quotient is approaching 0/0. It is not clear what the limit is
doing around x = 3. In the limit on the right, as x approaches infinity, the quotient will become . Again, it is not
quite clear what the limit will be as x approaches infinity. Therefore, these two limits are considered

For solving indeterminant limits, see L'Hopital's Rule.

Limits Summary
To recap, limits are concerned with what a function is doing around a given point. We noticed that limits can
exist even when the function does not exist at that point. You can find limits by plugging the limiting value into
the function (example 1), using tables of values (example 2), and using knowledge of other limits to find the
limit of a function at a given point (example 4).

It is important to

develop an intuitive understanding of the limiting process of a function

be able to calculate the limit using algebra

estimate the limit from graphs or tables

Continuity and Limits

Many theorems in calculus require that functions be continuous on intervals of real numbers. To successfully
carry outdifferentiation and integration over an interval, it is important to make sure the function is continuous.

A function f is continuous at a point (c, f(c)) if all three conditions are satisfied:
1) An output of c exists:

2) The limit exists for c and

3) The limit equals the output of c

This definition basically means that there is no missing point, gap, or split for f(x) at c. In other words, you can
move your pencil along the image of the function and you would not have to lift up the pencil. These functions
are called smooth functions.

Continuous function on [a,b]

To see if the three conditions of the definition are satisfied is a simple process.
1) Plug in the value assigned to c into the function and see if f(c) exists.
2) Use the limit definition to see if the limit exists as x approaches c.

The limit is the same coming from the left and from the right of f(c)

3) If the limit exists, see if it is the same as f(c). If it is all of the above, it is continuous.
We can see that functions need to be continuous in order to be differentiable. Are all continuous functions

The answer is no. In taking the derivative we did an example of a continuous function that was not
differentiable at x = 0.

f(x) = |x| is a continuous function but it is not differentiable at x = 0. Even though it is continuous and we can
draw the graph without lifting our pencil, it is not differentiable. Conversely, all differentiable
functions are continuous.

Discontinuous Graphs
There are three types of discontinuities - infinite discontinuities, jump discontinuities,
and point discontinuities.

Infinite Discontinuity
Infinite discontinuities break the 1st condition: They have an asymptote instead of a specific f(c) value.

Jump Discontinuity
Jump discontinuities break the 2nd condition: The limit approaching from a specific c from the left is not the
same as the limit approaching c from the right.

Point Discontinuity
Point discontinuities break the 3rd condition: The limit of c is not the same as (c).
These graphs are discontinuous because they cannot be drawn without lifting up the pencil. Discontinuous
graphs can be differentiated and integrated, but only over a continuous interval of the graph.

Intermediate Value Theorem

The Intermediate value theorem states that if we have a continuous function f(x) on the interval [a,b] with M
being any number between f(a) and f(b), there exists a number c such that:
1) a < c=""><>
2) f(c) = M.

The Intermediate Value Theorem is a geometrical application illustrating that continuous functions will take on
all values between f(a) and f(b). We can see if we draw a horizontal line from M, it will hit the graph at least
once. If the function is not continuous on the interval, this theorem would not hold.
It is important to note that this theorem does not tell us the value of M, but only that it exists. For example, we
can use this theorem to see if a function will have any x intercepts.
(1) Use the Intermediate Value theorem to determine if f(x) = 2x3 - 5x<> - 10x + 5 has a root somewhere in the
interval [-1,2].
In other words, we are asking if f(x) = 0 in the interval [-1,2]. Using the theorem, we can say that we want to
show that there is a number c where -1 < c="">< 2="" such="" that="" m="0" in="" between="" f(-1)="" and="">
We see that p(-1) = 8 and p(2) = -19. Therefore, 8 > 0 > -19, and at least one root exists for f(x).

Similarly to the concept of a limit, it is important to develop an intuitive understanding of continuity and what it
means in terms of limits. By taking infinitesimally close values of x (the domain), we can make each f(x) as close
as we want. We should also have a geometric understanding of continuous functions (Intermediate Value

Using L'Hopital to Evaluate Limits

L'Hopital's Rule is a method of differentiation to solve indeterminant limits. Indeterminant limits are limits
of functions where both the function in the numerator and the function in the denominator are approaching 0
or positive or negative infinity. It is not clear what the limit of indeterminant forms are, but when applying
L'Hopital's Rule, indeterminant limits can be made easier to evaluate.
Evaluate the following limits:


These limits are indeterminant because the quotient on the left is 00 when x = 3, and the limit on the right is

when xapproaches infinity. We cannot simply plug in the approaching value for x to find the limit. Luckily,

there are different methods we can use.

(1) For the first limit, we could factor out an (x-3)

It is easy to see that when x is 3, the limit is 6.

(2) For the second limit, we can factor out an x2

Knowing that the limit of any number over infinity is 0, we can plug 0 into the limit and simplify to 6-5.
(3) But what about this limit?

We cannot factor anything out, so how to we evaluate it?

We can see that when x approaches 0, both the numerator and denominator approach 0. Because the quotient
will be 00, it is not clear what the limit will be. In the limits page, we evaluated this limit by looking at the graph
of the function's behavior as it approached 0 from the left and the right. Using L'Hopital's rule, we can now
evaluate the limit in a determinant form. Since both the numerator and the denominator go to 0 and both
functions have a deritive, we can apply L'Hopital's rule.
L'Hopital's Rule states that for functions f(x) and g(x):

L'Hopital's Rule

Let's use L'Hopital's rule for our limit.

Differentiating both the numerator and the denominator will simplify the quotient and make evaluating the
limit easier.

Taking the derivative of the numerator and denominator, the limit is easier to see. We know that the cos(0) is 1,
so the limit as x approaches 0 is 1. To check, we can graph both functions and see that they both converge
to y = 1 as x approaches 0.

Let's use L'Hopital's rule on our first two limits to see if it works.
(1) and (2) Evaluate the following limits:


We take the derivative and plug in 3 for x to get our limit.


We take the derivative twice and simplify. After the first derivative, the quotient is still -, so we can apply
L'Hopital's rule again and take the derivative. Simplifying, we get 6-5.

Differentiation - Taking the Derivative

Differentiation is the algebraic method of finding the derivative for a function at any point. The derivative is a
concept that is at the root of calculus. There are two ways of introducing this concept, the geometrical way (as
the slope of a curve), and the physical way (as a rate of change). The slope of a curve translates to the rate of
change when looking at real life applications. Either way, both the slope and the instantaneous rate of change
are equivalent, and the function to find both of these at any point is called the derivative.

The Geometrical Concept of the Derivative

If you have ever found the slope of a line on a graph, that is the derivative. When we are looking at curves
instead of linear graphs, it gets difficult to find the slope at every point, because the slope is constantly
changing. A way to find the slope is to zoom in on the graph at a point and find the slope at that point.

A way to find the slope is using the rise over run method, or the formula for slope:

The way to get a better approximated slope, or derivative, is to make the two x values as close as possible. This
is a tedious process when you want to find the slope for many points on the graph. This is where differentiation
comes in. The definition of a derivative comes from taking the limit of the slope formula as the two points on a
function get closer and closer together.

For instance, say we have a point P(x, f(x)) on a curve and we want to find the slope (or derivative) at that point.
We can take a point somewhere near to P on the curve, say Q(x+h, f(x+h)), where h is a small value. Now we
can plug these values into the slope formula:

Solving for this will get us an approximation of the slope, but it still will not get us an exact value. We want h to
be as small as possible so we can get the slope at P, so we let h approach 0.

Limit Definition for the Derivative

This is the slope of the tangent line, or derivative at point P. This gives us the instantaneous rate of change of y
with respect to x.

Let's do an example. Consider the function:

Then we substitute x+h in for x

Taking the limit, we would get

Now we simplify

Factor out an h

We can see as h goes to 0, we are left with 6x+2.

This linear expression 6x+2 is the derivative for the function, and we can find the slope of the tangent at any
point on the curve by plugging in the x value of the coordinate.

In the graph below, the original function is red and the derivative is green.

Notice that when the slope of the parabola is negative, the function of the derivative is below zero, and when
the slope of the parabola is positive, so is the function of the derivative. When the parabola dips and the slope
changes from negative to positive, the function of the derivative goes from negative to positive. We can see that
at f(-1), f'(-1) = -4, so the slope at -1 is -4. Similarly, at f(0), f'(0) = 2, so the slope at 0 is 2.

Though we have seen the form of the derivative using the limit, it can also be notated as dy/dx, f'(x), or y'

Different notations for the derivative

d/dx means that we are taking the derivative with respect to x.

f'(x) denotes the derivative of f(x), and y' denotes the derivative of y.

Taking the Derivative of Polynomials

Finding the derivative for some functions is harder than others, and can be a tedious process when using the
slope formula. Luckily, there is an easier way of obtaining the derivative of polynomials without using limits.
Newton and Leibniz discovered an easy way to find the derivative of harder functions that only takes a few
steps. Let's look at an example:

The first step to finding the derivative is to take any exponent in the function and bring it down, multiplying it
times the coefficient.

We bring the 2 down from the top and multiply it by the 2 in front of the x. Then, we reduce the exponent by 1.
The final derivative of that term is 2*(2)x1, or 4x.

For the second term, the exponent is assumed to be 1, so we bring it down and multiply it by the coefficient in
front of the x. Then, we reduce the exponent by 1, making it 0. The final derivative of this term is 1*(-5)x0. Note
that any number raised to the 0th power is 1, so our simplified answer is 1*(-5)*1, or -5.

The third term is eliminated because it does not have an x, which means it is a constant. The reason for this is
because the number 3 can be written as 3x0, and when the 0 comes down the whole term becomes 0. Now we
are left with our simplified derivative:

Notice that the derivative is linear and the original function is quadratic. The derivative will always be one
degree less than the original function. Here is a general rule for taking the derivative of all terms of a
polynomial where c is a constant:

This is commonly called the Power Rule (see proof of power rule).

Let's do another graphical example

Differentiable and Non Differentiable

Now, you must be careful when finding the derivative, because not every function has one. Most functions are
differentiable, which means that a derivative exists at every point on the function. Some functions, however, are
not completely differentiable.

Let's find the derivative of the following function at x = 0.

The limit as h approaches 0 from the left is different than when h approaches 0 from the right. This is
equivalent to saying the derivative (or slope) on the left is -1, whereas the derivative of the right side is 1. What
is the slope where they meet at the origin?

Looking at the graph, we can see that at the origin there is not a definite slope because there are multiple
tangents, so there is not a derivative at that point. Therefore, the function does not have a derivative at x=0, so
it is differentiable everywhere except for x = 0.

We must note that in order for a function to be differentiable, it must be continuous.

Finding the Tangent Line

Earlier, we found the slope of the tangent line at a point using the limit definition of a derivative. Let's do an
example finding the tangent line at a given point using the power rule for polynomials.

Find the equation to the tangent line to the graph of f(x) = x2 + 3x at (1,4).

We find the derivative using the power rule for differentiation

Plug in our x coordinate into the derivative to get our slope

Now we can use point slope form to find the equation of the tangent line. (1,4) is our point and 5 is our slope

The Physical Concept of the Derivative

Isaac Newton focused on the physical concept of differentiation as it applied to mechanics and instantaneous
rate of change. As it relates to mechanics, the rate of change is defined as velocity, or speed, when we are
talking about distance over a period of time. Just like the geometrical approach, visualize that you are traveling
from point A to point B. We use the formula for the slope to find the average velocity:

Now, if we want to find the instantaneous velocity, we want the change in time to get smaller and smaller. We
introduce the concept of a limit as the change in time approaches 0. We end up with

Notice that this is the exact same as the geometric definition of the derivative, but with different variables. The
physical definition is based off of the geometric definition, and all of the rules of derivatives apply to both.

While you can find velocity by taking the derivative, you can also find the acceleration by taking the second
derivative, i.e. taking the derivative of the derivative.

Let's do an example.

Find the velocity and acceleration of a particle with the given position of s(t) = t3 - 2t2 - 4t + 5 at t = 2 where t is
measured in seconds and s is measured in feet.

Velocity is found by taking the derivative of the position.

At 2 seconds, the velocity is 0 feet per second.

The acceleration is found by taking the derivative of the velocity function, or the second derivative of the

At 2 seconds, the acceleration is 8 feet per second squared.

Let's analyze the graph from a physical perspective. The black curve is the object's position. Notice that when
the curve has a hump, the velocity function hits 0. Picture an object going a certain distance in a straight line
and then coming back -- the object cannot turn around without the velocity resting at 0. This is the same for the
acceleration as it relates to the velocity function. Also, when the acceleration is 0, the graph of the position
function looks like a straight line around that point. This is because when the acceleration is 0, the velocity of
the object is staying the same, therefore the slope will be constant.

Differentiation Summary
We should understand

the definition of a derivate as a limit as two points of a function get infinitesimally close

the relationship between differentiability and continuity

how derivatives are presented graphically, numerically, and analytically

how they are interpreted as an instantaneous rate of change.

In summary, the derivative is basically the slope, or instantaneous rate of change, of the tangent line at any
point on the curve. When you take the derivative of a function, you end up with another function that provides
the slope of the original function. The derivative of a function must have the same limit from left to right for it
to be differentiable at that point. The derivative can also tell us the rate of change from one quantity compared

to another when looking at real world situations. If we know how much distance a car has traveled over time,
the derivative can tell us it's velocity and acceleration at any point in time.

Chain Rule Help

The chain rule is similar to the product rule and the quotient rule, but it deals with differentiating compositions
of functions. If we recall, a composite function is a function that contains another function:

The Formula for the Chain Rule

The capital F means the same thing as lower case f, it just encompasses the composition of functions. As a
motivation for the chain rule, let's look at the following example:

This function would take a long time to factor out and find the derivative of each term, so we can consider this a
composite function. The two functions would look like this:

Notice that substituting g(x) for g in f(x) would yeild the original function. We will see that after differentiating,
we will then substitute g(x) back in for g.
So the composite function would be

Now, we can use the chain rule, which is defined by taking the derivative of outside function times the
inside function, and multiplying it by the derivative of the inside function:

Using this rule, we have:

Let's do another example.

(2) Differentiate the following function:

We define the inside and outside function to be

Then, the derivative of the composition will be as follows:

Think of the chain rule as a process. The derivative of the composite function is the derivative of the outside
function times the derivative of the inside function.

List of Derivatives
Simple Functions


Exponential and Logarithmic Functions




Trigonometric Functions







Inverse Trigonometric Functions







Mean Value Theorem Explanation

The Mean Value Theorem states that, given a curve on the interval [a,b], the derivative at some point f(c) where
a < c="">< b="" must="" be="" the="" same="" as="" the=""> slope from f(a) to f(b).

In the graph, the tangent line at c (derivative at c) is equal to the slope of [a,b] where a <>.

The Mean Value Theorem is an extension of the Intermediate Value Theorem, stating that between the
continuous interval [a,b], there must exist a point c where the tangent at f(c) is equal to the slope of the interval.

This theorem is beneficial for finding the average of change over a given interval. For instance, if a person runs
6 miles in an hour, their average speed is 6 miles per hour. This means that they could have kept that speed the
whole time, or they could have slowed down and then sped up (or vice versa) to get that average speed. This
theorem tells us that the person was running at 6 miles per hour at least once during the run.

If we want to find the value of c, we

i) Find (a,f(a)) and (b,f(b))

ii) Use the Mean Value Theorem

iii) Find f'(c) of the original function

iv) Set it equal to the Mean Value Theorem and solve for c.

Mean Value Theorem Examples

Let's do the example from above.

(1) Consider the function f(x) = (x-4)2-1 from [3,6].

First, let's find our y values for A and B.

Now let's use the Mean Value Theorem to find our derivative at some point c.

This tells us that the derivative at c is 1. This is also the average slope from a to b. Now that we know f'(c) and
the slope, we can find the coordinates for c. Let's plug c into the derivative of the original equation and set it
equal to the result of the Mean Value Theorem.

We have our x value for c, now let's plug it into the original equation.

Let's do another example.

(2) Consider the function f(x) = 1x from [-1,1]

Using the Mean Value Theorem, we get

We also have the derivative of the original function of c

Setting it equal to our Mean Value result and solving for c, we get

c is imaginary! What does this mean? The function f(x) is not continuous over the interval [-1,1], and therefore it
is not differentiable over the interval. For the Mean Value Theorem to work, the function must be continous.

Rolle's Theorem
Rolle's Theorem is a special case of the Mean Value Theorem. It is stating the same thing, but with the condition
that f(a) = f(b). If this is the case, there is a point c in the interval [a,b] where f'(c) = 0.

(3) How many roots does f(x) = x5 +12x -6 have?

We can use Rolle's Theorem to find out. First we need to see if the function crosses the x axis, i.e. if at some
point it switches from negative to positive or vice versa.

We can see that as x gets really big, the function approaces infinity, and as x approaches negative infinity, the
function also approaches negative infinity.

This means that the function must cross the x axis at least once.

If the function has more than one root, we know by Rolle's Theorem that the derivative of the function between
the two roots must be 0.

This is not true. The only way for f'(c) to equal 0 is if c is imaginary. f'(c) is always positive, which means it only
has one root.

Product Rule Explanation

It is not always necessary to compute derivatives directly from the definition. Several rules have been
developed for finding the derivatives without having to use the definition directly. These rules simplify the
process of differentiation. The Product Rule is a formula developed by Leibniz used to find the derivatives of
products of functions.
The Product Rule is defined as the product of the first function and the derivative of the second function
plus the product of the derivative of the first function and the second function:

The Formula for the Product Rule

Product Rule Example

Find f'(x) of

We can see that there is a product, so we can apply the product rule. First, we take the product of the first term
and the derivative of the second term.

Second, we take the product of the derivative of the first term and the second term.

Then, we add them together to get our derivative.

Notice that if we multiplied them together at the start, the product would be 21x5. Taking the derivative after we
multiplied it out would give us the same answer - 105x4. The product rule helps take the derivative of harder
products of functions that require you use the rule instead of multiplying them together beforehand.
Let's look at a harder example:

We can see that we cannot multiply first and then take the derivative. We must use the product rule.

Quotient Rule Explanation

Similar to product rule, the quotient rule is a way of differentiating the quotient, or division of functions. The
quotient rule is defined as the quantity of the denominator times the derivative of the numerator minus
the numerator times the derivative of the denominator all over the denominator squared.

The Formula for the Quotient Rule

The quotient rule can be more difficult to remember because the order of functions matters. An easier way to
remember it is saying "Low D High take High D Low - Cross the line and square the Low"

Quotient Rule Examples

(1) Differentiate the quotient

We take the denominator times the derivative of the numerator (low d-high). . .

Then subtract the numerator times the derivative of the denominator ( take high d-low). . .

Divide it by the square of the denominator (cross the line and square the low)

Finally, we simplify

(2) Let's do another example. Find the derivative of

A quick glance at this may fool us into thinking it requires quotient rule because of the clear numerator and
denominator. If we look closely, we can see that we can rearrange this function.

The 17 is a constant, so we can pull it in front as a coefficient and use the good old power rule to differentiate.

Rules for Differentiation

Here is a list of general rules that can be applied when finding the derivative of a function. These properties are
mostly derived from the limit definition of the derivative.


Product Rule

see product rule

Quotient Rule

see quotient rule

Reciprocal Rule

Chain Rule

see chain rule

Derivative Proofs

Though there are many different ways to prove the rules for finding a derivative, the most common way to set
up a proof of these rules is to go back to the limit definition. This way, we can see how the limit definition works
for various functions.

We must remember that mathematics is a succession. It builds on itself, so many proofs rely on results of other
proofs - more specifically, complex proofs of derivatives rely on knowing basic derivatives. We can also use
derivative rules to prove derivatives, but even those are build off of basic principles in Calculus. For the sake of
brevity, we won't go through every proof, but it is important to know how many of these derivatives were
It is important to understand that we are not simply "proving a derivative," but seeing how various rules work for
computing the derivative.

Derivative proof of Power Rule

Derivative proofs of ex

Derivative proof of ax

Derivative proof of lnx

Derivative proof of sin(x)

Derivative proof of cos(x)

Derivative proof of tanx

Derivative proofs of cotx, secx, and cscx

Derivative proofs of Inverse Trig Functions

Derivative Proof of ax
This proof is similar to ex. In fact, e can be plugged in for a, and we would get the same answer because ln(e) =

Derivative proof of ax

Rewrite ax as an exponent of eln

Use Chain Rule and substitute u for xlna

Cancel out dx over dx, and substitute back in for u

Bring down the ax

Here is a graph of f(x) = .5x and f(x) = 2x and their derivatives.

Derivative Proof of cos(x)

Derivative proof of cos(x)

To get the derivative of cos, we can do the exact same thing we did with sin, but we will get an extra negative
sign. Here is a different proof using Chain Rule
We know that

Take the derivative of both sides

Use Chain Rule

Substitute back in for u

Derivative of lnx Proof

The proof for the derivative of natural log is relatively straightforward using implicit differentiation and chain

Derivative proof of lnx


By the rule of logarithms, then

Take the derivative with respect to x (treat y as a function of x)

Substitute x back in for ey

Divide by x and substitute lnx back in for y

Derivative Proof of sin(x)

We can prove the derivative of sin(x) using the limit definition and the double angle formula for trigonometric

Derivative proof of sin(x)

For this proof, we can use the limit definition of the derivative.
Limit Definition for sin:

Using angle sum identity, we get

Rearrange the limit so that the sin(x)'s are next to each other

Factor out a sin from the quantity on the right

Seperate the two quantities and put the functions with x in front of the limit (We are only concerned with the
limit of h)

We can see that the first limit converges to 1

and the second limit converges to 0.

We can plug in 1 and 0 for the limits and get cos(x)

Derivative Proof of tan(x)

Derivative proof of tan(x)

We can prove this derivative by using the derivatives of sin and cos, as well as quotient rule.

Write tangent in terms of sine and cosine

Take the derivative of both sides

Use Quotient Rule


Use the Pythagorean identity for sine and cosine

and simplify

Derivative proofs of csc(x), sec(x), and cot(x)

The derivative of these trig functions can be obtained easily from the Qoutient Rule using the reciprocals of
sin(x), cos(x), and tan(x).

Derivative of ex Proofs

This function is unusual because it is the exact same as its derivative. This means that for every x value, the
slope at that point is equal to the y value

Limit Definition Proof of ex

Limit Definition:

By laws of exponents, we can split the addition of exponents into multiplication of the same base

Factor out an ex

We can put the ex in front of the limit

We see that as h approaches 0, the limit will get closer to 0/0 which is an indeterminant form (meaning we don't
really know what is happening to to value as both the numerator and denominator approach 0). What we can
do is plug in the point (0,1) and see the function's behavior at that point.

This limit definition states that e is the unique positive number for which

which we can clearly see on the graph.

Using this defition, we can substitute 1 for the limit

Implicit Differentiation Proof of ex



Taking the derivative of x and taking the derivative of y with respect to x yields

Multiply both sides by y and substitute ex for y.

Proof of ex by Chain Rule and Derivative of the Natural Log


and consider

From Chain Rule, we get

We know from the derivative of natural log, that

We also know that ln(e) is 1

Now we can substitute 1 and 1/u into our equation

Multiply both sides by u

and substitute ex for u.

Derivative Proofs of Inverse Trigonometric Functions

To prove these derivatives, we need to know pythagorean identities for trig functions.
Proving arcsin(x) (or sin-1(x)) will be a good example for being able to prove the rest.

Derivative Proof of arcsin(x)


We know that

Taking the derivative of both sides, we get

We divide by cos(y)

Using a pythagorean identity for trig functions

pythagorean identity
We can substitute for cos(y)

Then we can substitute sin-1(x) back in for y and x for sin(y)

There you have it! The best part is, the other inverse trig proofs are proved similarly by using pythagorean
identities and substitution, except the cofunctions will be negative.

Derivative Proof of Power Rule

This proof requires a lot of work if you are not familiar with implicit differentiation, which is basically
differentiating a variable in terms of x. Some may try to prove the power rule by repeatedly using product rule.
Though it is not a "proper proof," it can still be good practice using mathematical induction. A common proof
that is used is using the Binomial Theorem:

The limit definition for xn would be as follows

Using the Binomial Theorem, we get

Subtract the xn

Factor out an h

All of the terms with an h will go to 0, and then we are left with

Implicit Differentiation Proof of Power Rule

If we don't want to get messy with the Binomial Theorem, we can simply use implicit differentiation, which is
basically treating y as f(x) and using Chain rule.

Take the natural log of both sides

Take the derivative with respect to x

Notice that we took the derivative of lny and used chain rule as well to take the derivative of the inside function
Multiply both sides by y

Substitute xc back in for y

Integration - Taking the Integral

Integration is the algebraic method of finding the integral for a function at any point on the graph. Finding
the integral of a function with respect to x means finding the area to the x axis from the curve. The integral is
usually called the anti-derivative, because integrating is the reverse process of differentiating. The fundamental
theorem of calculus shows that antidifferentiation is the same as integration.

The physical concept of the integral is similar to the derivative. For the derivative, the motivation was to find the
velocity at any point in time given the position of an object. If we know the velocity of an object at a particular
time, the integral will give us the object's position at that time. Just as the derivative gave the instantaneous rate
of change, the integral will give the total distance at any given time.

The integral comes from not only trying to find the inverse process of taking the derivative, but trying to solve
the area problemas well. Just as the process of differentiation is used to find the slope at any point on the
graph, the process of integration finds the area of the curve up to any point on the graph.

Riemann Integration
Before integration was developed, we could only really approximate the area of functions by dividing the space
into rectangles and adding the areas.

We can approximate the area to the x axis by increasing the number of rectangles under the curve. The area of
these rectangles was calculated by multiplying length times width, or y times the change in x. After the area was
calculated, the summation of the rectangles would approximate the area. As the number of rectangles gets
larger, the better the approximation will be. This is formula for the Riemann Summation, where i is any starting
x value and n is the number of rectangles:

This was a tedious process and never gave the exact area for the curve. Luckily, Newton and Leibniz developed
the method of integration that enabled them to find the exact area of the curve at any point.

Similar to the way the process of differentiation finds the function of the slope as the distance between two
points get infinitesimally small, the process of integration finds the area under the curve as the number of
partitions of rectangles under the curve gets infinitely large.

The Definition for the Integral of f(x) from [a,b]

The integral of the function of x from a to b is the sum of the rectangles to the curve at each interval of change in x as
the number of rectangles goes to infinity.

The notation on the left side denotes the definite integral of f(x) from a to b. When we calculate the integral
from an interval [a,b], we plug a in the integral function and subtract it from b in the integral function:

where F denotes the integrated function. This accurately calculates the area under any continuous function.

The General Power Rule for Integration

To carry out integration, it is important to know the general power rule. It is the exact opposite of the power
rule for differentiation.

Let's look at a general function

When we take the integral of the function, we first add 1 to the exponent, and then divide the term by the sum
of the exponent and 1.

After we have done this to each term, we add a constant at the end. Recall that taking the derivative of a
constant makes it go away, so taking the integral of a function will give us a constant. We label it C because the
constant is unknown - it could be any number! Because we can have infinitely as many possible functions for
the integral, we call it the indefinite integral.

Let's do an example.

Find the integral of

We start with the first term. We look at the exponent of 2 and increase it by 1, then we divide the term by the
resulting exponent of 3.

Then we look at the next term and do the same thing. Since it has an exponent of 1, the resulting exponent will
be 2, so we divide the whole term by 2.

The last term has an x value but we just don't see it. We can imagine the last term as -3x 0. This is the equivalent
to -3(1). If we use the power rule of integration, we add 1 to the exponent to raise it to the first power, and then
we divide the term by 1.

All we need to do is add a constant at the end, and we are done.

This power formula for integration works for all values of n except for n = -1 (because we cannot divide by 0).
We can take the opposite of the derivative of the logarithmic function to solve these cases.

In general,

Integration Summary
We should understand

the Definite Integral as a limit of Riemann sums

the Definite Integral as a change of quantity over an integral

how integrals are presented graphically, numerically, and analytically

how they are interpreted as the position of an object at a given velocity.

To recap, the integral is the function that defines the area under a curve for any given interval. Taking the
integral of the derivative of the function will yield the original function. The integral can also tell us the position
of an object at any point in time given at least two points of velocity of an object.

List of Antiderivatives
The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus states the relation between differentiation and integration. If we know
F(x) is the integralof f(x), then f(x) is the derivative of F(x). Listed are some common derivatives and

Basic Functions

Elementary Trigonometric Functions

Trigonometric Integrals with More Than 1 Function

Exponential and Logarithmic Functions

Inverse Trigonometric Functions

Exponential and Trigonometric Functions

Hyperbolic Functions

Trigonometric Substitutions

Finding the Area with Integration

Finding the area of space from the curve of a function to an axis on the Cartesian plane is a fundamental
component in calculus. Definite integration finds the accumulation of quantities, which has become a basic tool
in calculus and has numerous applications in science and engineering. While it is used to make formulas in
physics more comprehensible, often it is used to optimize the use of space in a given area.

Definite Integration
Whenever we are calculating area in a given interval, we are using definite integration. Lets try to find the area
under a function for a given interval.
(1) Integrate

from [-2, 2].

Step 1: Set up the integral.

Step 2: Find the Integral.

*Note: We don't have to add a "+C" at the end because it will cancel out finding the area anyway.
Step 3: Integrate from the given interval, [-2,2].

The area of the curve to the x axis from -2 to 2 is 323 units squared.

On the graph, the red below the parabola is the area and the dotted line is the integral function. Notice that the
integral function is cubic and the original function is quadratic. The integral will always be a degree higher than
the original function. Looking at the graph, there is a geometric relationship between the original function and
the integral function. We can see at x = -2 the integral function has a y value of a little under -5, and at x = 2 the
integral has a y value of a little over 5. The difference of 5.3 and -5.3 gives us an area of 323, which is a little over
When taking the definite integral over an interval, sometimes we will get negative area because the graph
interprets area above the x axis as positive area and below the x axis as negative area.

Find the Area with Integration Examples

(2) Let's take the integral of y = x from [-3, 1].

We end up with an area of -4.

Looking at the graph at x = -3 and 1, the integral function has an F(x) of 4.5 and 0.5 respectively. Subtracting the
lower bound value (4.5) from the upper bound value (0.5) will yield -4. If we wanted to find the total area, we
could take the absolute value of each bound and add them together to get 5.

It is possible to integrate a function that is not continuous, but sometimes we need to break up the area into
two different integrals.
(3) Here is the function.

Before integrating, we should graph this function to see what it looks like.

Evaluate each integrand.



a) Since the original function is not continuous, we need to look at the bounds first to see if we are integrating
through any discontinuous points. Since [3,10] is greater than 1, it is continuous and we can integrate using one

b) This integral is a little different. The interval is discontinuous from [-2,2], so we need to split it into two
integrals and add them together.

We have one integral with the interval [-2,1] and the other from [1,2]. The first interval is less than 1 and the
second is greater than 1.

After we integrate, we plug in the specific bounds for both.

The area from [-2,2] is 14 units squared and the area from [3,10] is 35 units squared.
(4) Find the general integral for the yellow shaded region

The area is the integral of f minus the area of g.

(5) Find the area of the purple region bounded by three lines:

First, we need to find the three points of intersection to establish our intervals for integration. We set each
function equal and solve for x.

Like (4), we have to subtract integrals, but we have two seperate quantities to add.

We have done many examples of integrating to find the area of a curve and it's relationship to the integral
function. We can also use integration to find the volume of a 3D object in space, mainly by rotation around an

Solid of Revolution - Finding Volume by Rotation

Finding the volume of a solid revolution is a method of calculating the volume of a 3D object formed by a
rotated area of a 2D space. Finding the volume is much like finding the area, but with an added component of
rotating the area around a line of symmetry - usually the x or y axis.
(1) Recall finding the area under a curve. Find the area of the definite integral

Integrate across [0,3]:

Now, let's rotate this area 360 degrees around the x axis. We will have a 3D solid that looks like this:

To find this volume, we could take vertical slices of the solid (each dx wide and f(x) tall) and add them up.

This is quite tedious, but thankfully we have calculus! Since the integrated area is being rotated around the axis
under the curve, we can use disk integration to find the volume. Since the area is rotated full circle, we can use
the formula for area of a cylinder to find our volume.

Volume of a cylinder

We can merge the formula for volume of a cylinder and our definite integral to find the volume of our solid. The
radius for our cylinder would be the function f(x) and the height of our cylinder would be the distance of each
disk: dx
The volume of each slice would be

Adding the volumes of the disks with infinitely small dx would give us the formula

Using our function, we would get this integrand for the volume

Evaluating the integral, we get

We obtained 4 units3 as our volume. Since our function is linear and the radius is changing at a constant rate,
it is easy to check this by plugging in values to the formula for volume of a cone.

The answers are the same. Since our function was linear and shaped like a cone when rotated around the x
axis, it was okay to use the volume formula for a cone. Many of the volumes we will be working with are not
shaped like cone, so we cannot simply substitute values in the formula. While algebra can take care of the nice
straight lines, calculus takes care of the not-so-nice curves.

Volume by Rotation Examples

(2) Now lets try rotating the same area around the y axis.

The first rotated solid was integrated in terms x to find the area and rotated around the x axis. Similarly, this
solid is also integrated in terms of x for the area, but it is now rotated around the y axis. Notice that this solid
can be obtained by subtracting a cone with radius 3 at y = 2 from the cylinder formed from radius 3 and a
height of 2.

Volume of the Cylinder - Volume of the Cone

= area revolved around the y axis.

There are three ways to find this volume. We can do this by (a) using volume formulas for the cone and
cylinder, (b) integrating two different solids and taking the difference, or (c) using shell integration (rotating an
area around a different axis than the axis the area touches). Let's try all three methods.
(a) Using the volume formulas, we would have

The radius for the cylinder and the cone would be 3 and the height would be 2.

The volume is 12 units3. Let's check it with integration.

(b) When integrating, we find the area from the curve to an axis. Since we are revolving around the y axis, we
need to integrate with respect to y. For the Cylinder, our area before it is rotated would look like this:

The function of y is f(y) = 3 from [0,2]. Now we can set up our integral.

Now on to the cone. Since it is rotated around the y axis, we need to integrate the original function with respect
to y. All we have to do is solve our original function for x instead of y, making it a function of y. The function of y
would look like this:

The function of y is f(y) = (32)y from [0,2]. Let's set up our integral.

Now we subtract the volume of the cone from the volume of the cylinder. We get the same answer.

Finally, let's carry out shell integration.

(c) Notice in disk integration the area was rotated around the same axis that the area was integrated on. In
other words, the axis the area touched was the axis of rotation. In shell integration, it is the opposite. Notice
that the area is touching the x axis and the solid is rotating around the y axis.

The formula for shell integration is defined as:

where x is the distance to the y axis, or the radius, and f(x) is now the height of the shell.
Simply substituting f(x) will give us

It seems like simply using the volume formulas was the best method, but let's do some different examples
where that isn't the case.
(3) Find the volume of the following function rotated around the x axis from [0,2]

The rotated area would look like this:

Unless you know the formula for finding the volume of a vase, we must use integration to find this volume. We
cannot use the formula for any simple three dimensional geometric figures like the first two examples.
Revolving this solid about the x axis, we would do the same as example (1) and set up an integral using the
formula for the volume of a cylinder. The radius of the cylinder is the curve, so we would plug f(x) in for the
radius, and then the height would be dx, which is from 0 to 2.

Volume of a cylinder

The total volume of the solid is 92 units3.

What if we wanted to find the volume of the area rotated around the x axis of the same function, but with some
open space in the middle? This type of figure is called a washer, or a donut. They are like discs because they are
circular, but there is space in the middle.
Consider the same function with f(x) = 1.

When rotated, it will look similar to our previous rotation but with a cylinder removed in the middle.

To find the volume, we simply take the difference of our original area and the area of the space in the center.

(4) It could also be beneficial to talk about a solid that is not rotated a full 360 degrees. Think about a portion of
a circle that has been shaded.

This circle has been shaded 240 degrees out of 360. How do we find the area? We simply take a fraction of the
total area, in this case, 240360, or two thirds.

This is the case with volume. If we have a portion of the area rotated, we find out the volume of the solid out of
the total volume if it were rotated 360 degrees.

This solid is also rotated 240 degrees around the x axis. What would the volume be?

This is the volume for the rotated portion of the graph on the interval [a,b].

In the previous examples, we rotated areas about the x or y axis. What if we rotated them about an arbitrary
When rotating around an axis g(x), we must take into account the change of radius. The formulas for disk and
shell integration will be as follows:

The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (FOTC)

The fundamental theorem of calculus links the relationship between differentiation and integration. We have
seen from finding the area that the definite integral of a function can be interpreted as the area under the
graph of a function. It justifies our procedure of evaluating an antiderivative at the upper and lower bounds of
integration and taking the difference.
The first part of the theorem shows that indefinite integration can be reversed by differentiation. It also proves
that for every continuous function, there is an antiderivative (integral).
Let F be any antiderivative, or indefinite integral, for f on [a,b]. If f is a continuous function and is defined by


and therefore

Every continuous function f has an antiderivative, and there is one antiderivative F(x) given by a definite integral
of f with a variable upper boundary. Varying the lower boundary of the integrand will produce other
One of the first things to notice about the fundamental theorem of calculus is that the variable of
differentiation appears as the upper limit of integration in the integral. This makes sense because if we are
taking the derivative of the integrand with respect to x, it needs to be in either (or both) the limits of integration.
If we are integrating a function with respect to x, the function we end up with needs to be in terms of x.
The second part of this theorem tells us how to evaluate a definite integral assuming that f has an indefinite

where F is any antiderivative (or indefinite integral) of continuous function f on a closed interval [a,b]. This part
of the theorem is one that we use in finding area. It allows us to compute the definite integral of a function by
using one of infinitely many antiderivatives, or indefinite integrals.
Here is a simple example of the fundamental theorem of calculus:

It is important to note that if F(x) is an antiderivative of f(x) and the function is defined on some interval, then
every other antiderivative G(x) of f(x) differs from F(x) by a constant:

If we recall the general power rule for integration, taking the integral of a function will give us a constant. So
there are infinitely many different antiderivatives for any given function.

Fundamental Theorem of Calculus Examples

Let's do a couple of examples using of the theorem.
(1) Evaluate

Use the second part of the theorem and solve for the interval [a, x].

Taking the derivative with respect to x will leave out the constant.

Here is a harder example using the chain rule.

(2) Evaluate

This is asking for the derivative of the integrand from the interval [2, sin(x)]. In other words, we need to find the
original function.
From the first part of the fundamental theorem of calculus, we

Since sin(x) is in our interval, we let sin(x) take the place of x

We take the derivative of both sides with respect to x.

From the first part of the theorem, G'(x) = esin2(x) when sin(x) takes the place of x.

From chain rule, we take the derivative of the outside function (G) times the derivative of the inside function

We then have our original function.

Integration by Parts

Integration by Parts is a method of integration that transforms products of functions in the integrand into other
easily evaluated integrals. The rule is derivated from the product rule method of differentiation. Recalling the
product rule, we start with

We then integrate both sides

We then solve for the integral of f(x)g'(x)

Integration by Parts

This is the formula for integration by parts. It allows us to compute difficult integrals by computing a less
complex integral. Usually, to make notation easier, the following subsitutions will be made.


Making our substitutions, we obtain the formula

The trick to integrating by parts is strategically picking what function is u and dv:
1. The function for u should be easy to differentiate
2. The function for dv should be easy to integrate.
3. Finally, the integral of vdu needs to be easier to compute than the integral of udv.

Keep in mind that some integrals may require integration by parts more than once. Let's do a couple of
(1) Integrate

We can see that the integrand is a product of two functions, x and ex



Substituting into our formula, we would obtain the equation

Simplifying, we get

Integration by parts works with definite integration as well.

(2) Evaluate



Using the formula, we get

Then we solve for our bounds of integration : [0,3]

Let's do an example where we must integrate by parts more than once.

(3) Evaluate



Our formula would be

It looks like the integral on the right side isn't much of a help. Let's try integrating by parts and see if we can
make it easier.



Our second formula would be

Substituting into our original formula, we would have

Notice that the integral on the left hand side of the equation appears on the right hand side as well, so we can
solve for it.

Simplified, we get

Properties of Integrals
Here is a list of properties that can be applied when finding the integral of a function. These properties are
mostly derived from the Riemann Sum approach to integration.

Additive Properties
When integrating a function over two intervals where the upper bound of the first is the same as the first, the
integrands can be combined. Integrands can also be split into two intervals that hold the same conditions.

If the upper and lower bound are the same, the area is 0.

If an interval is backwards, the area is the opposite sign.

Multiplying by a Constant "c"

Constants, such as coefficients, can be distributed out of the integrand and multiplied afterwards.

Integrating a Sum
The integral of a sum can be split up into two integrands and added together

Finding Total Area Within an Interval

To find the total area, use the absolute value of the integrand.


U Substitution
Written by tutor Michael B.

By now, you have seen one or more of the basic rules of integration. These rules are so important and
commonly used that many calculus books have these formulas listed on their inside front and/or back covers.
Here are a few of them (you may not have learned all of these yet):

These rules are so commonly published, and yet there is a subtle and misleading point about them that very
few books seem to discuss. And it is unfortunate because this issue could be so easily clarified if only the books
would publish the same formulas in the ever-so-slightly different form shown below.

See the difference? Well, the second set of equations uses the variable 'u' instead of 'x'.
"But," I hear you say, "there isn't any real difference. The choice of a variable in any equation is arbitrary. It shouldn't
matter that I write 'u' instead of 'x', right?" And yes, you would be right. However, the fact that these are supposed
to be general rules conflicts with the fact that most functions that we write already use the variable 'x'. It's not

that the typically published general equations are wrong, it's just that they aren't conducive to passing along
one of the most critical rules that you must follow when performing integration problems, and that is the fact
that you are ONLY allowed to integrate according to the KNOWN rules of integration.
"But," you further protest, "I know for a fact it's possible to integrate some expressions even though they aren't
written as rules." Again, you would be correct. But what most often is happening in those situations is that some
steps are not being displayed, because after a certain amount of experience and practice, those steps are
considered trivial, and it is often assumed that the reader understands how the rules were applied to perform
the integration. Those hidden steps make all the difference when you are learning how to integrate. So let me
restate the most important integration rule of all: you are ONLY allowed to integrate expressions
that EXACTLY match the KNOWN rules of integration, and no others. In other words, until you gain
experience, if what you are trying to integrate doesn't exactly match a known rule of integration, you cannot
integrate it.
So, what does all this have to do with "U-Substitution"? Well, U-Substitution is one of the most common
methods that can be used to transform a problem that doesn't exactly match a known rule of integration to
one that does, without changing the essence of the problem. Then, because there is an exact match, you can
perform the integration.
This concept shouldn't be all that strange, actually. U-substitution is only one transformation technique, and in
fact, you probably have already used other techniques of transformation to solve integration problems that
haven't required the U-Substitution method. Here's an example:

So this doesn't look too hard. But before we integrate it, let's revisit the most important rule. Have you ever
seen a published rule that describes how to integrate exactly "(x+1)"? Probably not! Therefore, according to the
most important rule, this expression cannot be integrated. But the most important rule doesn't say that we
cannot transform the expression into an equivalent form that can be integrated. We can do this quite easily by
FOILing the (x+1)(x+1)dx expression, which results in (x + 2x + 1)dx. But wait a moment, there's no published
rule that specifies how to integrate (x + 2x + 1)dx either! But now we can utilize the properties of integrals to
split this up into three integrals, extract constants, and then each integral does exactly match a rule - the Power
Rule of integrals specifically:


The astute reader will point out a difficulty with this approach, however. What if we weren't just squaring (x+1),
but raising it to the 215th power? Surely, there must be an easier way to integrate (x+1) 215 than expanding the
polynomial! And yes, there is -- this is where U-substitution comes in. To put it succinctly, U-Substitution allows
you, in some cases, to make the integration problem at hand look like one of the known integration rules. Just
as FOILing (x+1) doesn't change the expression, neither does U-substitution, from a naive standpoint. USubstitution can be a very powerful method of transformations, and it isn't hard, but it does have some quirks
that we must be careful to handle properly.

Performing U-substitution
I started this article by spurning the traditional method presenting integration formulas with x's instead of u's.
The reason for this, although it is somewhat contrived, is beause it makes it difficult to understand why we
need to learn u-substitution. The ultimate goal of the U-Substitution technique is to write an expression for u as
a function of x that simplifies the integral, resulting in an expression that exactly maps to one of the known
rules of integration, while still accounting for the details that calculus imposes on such an action. This technique
is also often called the "change of variable" technique, because we are essentially replacing expressions of 'x'
with expressions of 'u'. But it's not as simple as changing x's into u's - to do so is considered a trivial change,
and ultimately doesn't transform the problem at all.
Let's return to the example above, and see how we can perform the same integration using the U-substitution
technique. If we look at the Power Rule for integration, by saying "something" instead of "u" or "x", it might be
read aloud as "the integral ofsomething raised to a power n is equal to the something raised to the power n+1 all
divided by n+1." Well, the (x+1) is a "something" isn't it?
So since we are free to assign anything we want to a variable, we could assign u=x+1. Then, we might naively

The reason that the second integral is identified as bad is because you cannot (in the context of this discussion
of U-Substitution) integrate a variable 'u' with a 'dx'. An integral with "u's" must be matched up with "du's". So
how do we get a "du" instead of a "dx"? This is accomplished by taking the derivative of u with respect to x:

Because du=dx (or equivalently, dx=du), we can now properly write the integral in terms of u and du, complete
the integration, and then we re-substitute the expression we chose for u back into the equation to complete the

Note that this answer is exactly the same as the answer we previously obtained by FOILing (x+1) although it may
not immediately appear so. If we expand the (x+1)3 that we obtained with the U-Substitution method, we would
obtain x3+3x+3x+1, which when we divide all of those terms by 3, we obtain (1/3)x3+x+x+(1/3). It might appear
that the answer we obtained by FOILing is missing the constant 1/3, but in fact this is OK because both of the
integrals contain the "unknown constant C". The fact that the 1/3 term is missing simply means that it is
accounted for in the C from the FOILed version of the integral. In other words, the two C's are different, and the
difference exactly accounts for the missing constant.
Note: Quite often, choosing the correct u is more an art than science. Sometimes you might choose a u only to
find that you can't make the substitution look like a known integral. Perhaps you need to choose a different u,
or perhaps you need to do something a bit different.

A more interesting example #1

The example given above was a bit trivial, because of the fact that we determined that dx=du. Let us now
examine a more interesting example in which this is not the case. In this process, we will now see that the
choice of 'u' must be carefully chosen so that our du exactly accounts for all of the other variable components
of the integral.

As with all U-Substitution problems, our objective is to pick an expression of x that we can assign to u, and
more specifically, one for which the derivative of u covers any remaining variable portions of the integral that
are not covered by u. When dealing with polynomial expressions, this often means that we choose the higher
degree of two polynomials, since the derivative of polynomials always results in a polynomial of lower degree.
In this example, therefore, the natural choice would be u = x4+2x2+5, and therefore du = (4x3+8x)dx = 4(x3+2x)dx.
This expression of du contains the term (x3+2x)dx, which is the portion of the integral that is not replaced by
our choice of 'u'. However, it also contains a constant term 4, but this is ok, because the constant can be moved
in front of the integral, and our replacements for u and du now exactly cover the expressions of x and dx. We
cannot ignore the constant term, but it does not cause a problem. Here is the final solution:

Occasionally, you might find after choosing a u and solving for du that you have a power of x remaining. For
example, consider the following example:

In this case, you can choose u=2x+1, and then du=2dx. But what about the x that remains? We can solve this by
solving the u equation for x!

This allows us to distribute the u thru the term (u+1), and then we simply continue the integration using the
power rule:

Definite Integrals - transforming the limits

In all of our examples above, the integrals have been indefinite integrals - in other words, integrals without
limits of integration (the "a" and "b" in the statement "the integral from a to b"). When there are limits, and we
need to use U-Substitution, there are a few things we need to keep in mind:

The limits are not the same when you write the integral with u's instead of x's


The limits, therefore, should either be dropped (as if we are performing an indefinite integral), or
written in terms of u


If you choose to write the limits in terms of u, then simply apply the equation you assigned to u to
determine the new limits


If you choose to write the limits in terms of u, then after performing the integration, you can directly
substitute the u limits into the u-version of the integral - there is no need to re-substitute x's back in for
the u's! Otherwise, you must evaluate the integral with the original x limits.

That last point can help to save a lot of time when you are performing U-subtitution with definite integrals. The
next example demonstrates that both methods provide the same answer:

Notice how, when plugging in the original x limits, the first step is exactly the same operation ("x+1") that you
perform when transforming the limits. This is why the two methods are exactly equivalent, but the 'limits
transformation' method simply allows you to avoid having to resubstitute the original x expression back into
the integral, which helps to eliminate mistakes. Also notice that when writing the integral in Method 2, I did not
write the limits of integration even for the x integral, because it wouldn't be proper to say that a definite
integral of x is equal to an indefinite integral of u.

Pattern-matching your du
When choosing your u, remember that your du must also be in the equation, and must exactly account for the
remaining variable terms of x. You cannot add new variables, nor can you (in most cases) add additive
constants to the integral to make it match. (You can more easily add multiplicative constants as needed by
simultaneously applying the reciprocal so that the resulting equation is the same). That does not necessarily
mean that the intregral can't be done, but the U-substitution technique is strict in that you must exactly match
up the u and du to the x and dx terms. Here's an example of a problem that can't be done directlywith USubstitution, but can be performed with a little bit of work ahead of time.

Your initial instinct for the first step to solve this problem may be to set u=x+1. However, if you do that, then
du=2xdx, and therefore the resulting substitution would look like this:

Returning to the idea of the 'most important rule', clearly, this integral does not match any of the known
integration rules because of that little '+1' that is stuck in the numerator. You might argue that we could split
this integral into two integrals, one for du/u, and one for 1/u, but then the second integral doesn't even have a
du with which to integrate, so that doesn't work.
But as I mentioned initially, the fact that U-Substitution doesn't work directly doesn't mean that the integration
can't be performed. It just takes a bit of algebraic manipulation first:

After performing this algebraic step, the first integral can now be handled easily by U-substitution (the detailed
steps are left to the reader as an exercise, hint: u=x+1), and the second integral is a known integration rule, so
no U-Substitution is necessary:

Use U-substitution to evaluate each of the following integrals and confirm that the equation is true. You may
need to use additional techniques discussed above or other math identities to solve some of these.

Multivariable Calculus



In calculus, we have dealt with functions of x in two dimensional space. Multivariable Calculus, also known as
Vector Calculus, deals with functions of two variables in 3 dimensional space, as well as computing with vectors
instead of lines.
In single variable calculus, we see that y is a function of x

In multivariable calculus, z is a function of both x and y

Multivariable calculus extends the notion of differentiation and integration in three dimensional space. New
concepts such as partial derivatives, directional derivatives, line integration and multiple integrals are
When plotting in 3 dimensional space, there needs to be new notation for various concepts that will be
introduced. Multivariable calculus also introduces vectors, which may have been introduced in physics. Calculus
dealing with vectors will take into consideration not only magnitude but direction as well.
Multivariable calculus is a broad field that applies to physics and other sciences more so than single variable
calculus. Many of the theorems provided in vector calculus are essential for solving problems in physics, which
are mostly multidimensional. Multivariable calculus studies the rates of change and works in more than two
dimensions. In single variable calculus, an object might move through the air and we can calculate its velocity at
any given point. In vector calculus, we can then take into account air resistance and the force of gravity acting
on the object.
It is important to have a thorough understanding of the vectors and what they are used for before moving on
to differentiation and integration in multivariable calculus. Since it is such a broad topic, we will start with an
introduction to vectors in two and three dimensions as well as plotting lines and planes. Let's start with an
introduction to vectors in two dimensional space.

Introduction to Vectors

Main Lesson: Vectors

An introduction to vectors in two dimensional space.
Key topics include Scalars and Vectors, Vector Notation, Vector Equalities and Operations, the Dot Product, the
Angle between two vectors, and the Projection of a vector.

Vectors in Three Dimensional Space

Main Lesson: Vectors in 3 Dimensional Space
An introduction to working with vectors in three dimensional space and working with vectors in 3D.

Properties of Vectors
Main Lesson: Properties of Vectors
Various properties of vectors in 2D and 3D space.

Vector Functions of Lines and Planes

Main Lesson: Vector Functions
An introduction to vector functions and finding equations of lines and planes in two and three dimensional

Vectors are usually used to represent velocity and acceleration, force, and other directional quantities in
Vectors are quantities with size and direction.
The objects that we have worked with in single variable calculus (Calculus 1 and 2) have all had a quantity, i.e.
we were able to measure them.

Some quantities only have size, such as time, temperature, or weight. These quantities are called scalars. Other
quantities can have size and direction. Velocities, for example, have direction as well, and therefore they are
described as vectors. We denote vectors with an arrow pointing in the direction they are oriented.

The direction of a vector on the coordinate plane is intuitive. The positive y direction, which is up, is north, and
the positive x direction is east. The following vector is slightly east of north.

The direction of a vector can also be described with a quantity. Usually, the direction of vectors are stated in
relation to another direction. The following vector is described as "5 miles per hour 53.13 degrees north of

This vector can also be described as "5 miles per hour 36.87 degrees east of north."

To simplify the values of vectors, we use the x axis (or east) as a starting point for measurement. A line lying on
the x axis would have a direction of 0 degrees.
The following vector can be denoted with many different directions.

The last vector would be 53.13 degrees south of west.

Scalars and Vectors

Remember that scalars only have size, while vectors have size and direction.
Speed and velocity are different too. While they are sometimes used interchangeably, speed is considered a
scalar while velocity is considered a vector.
There is a distance between distance and displacement as well. Distance is a scalar because it only has size.
Displacement, however, is a vector because it tells us how far an object moved in a certain direction.

Scalars can be manipulated by the laws of arithmetic for real numbers, while vectors have special laws that
need to be followed when operating on each other. For instance, if you walked 4 blocks and then 3 more blocks,
how many blocks have you walked? We can add these quantities together to get 7 blocks. However, if you
walked 4 blocks east and 3 blocks north, how far from your starting point will you have walked? Since these
vectors are in different directions, we cannot simply add them together.

The amount of degrees traveled can be either measured from the image or calculated using trigonometry.

The resulting vector would be 5 blocks at .644 radians.

Vector Notation
Vectors have a special notation that distinguish them from scalars. Vectors can be noted as

For our purposes, we will always denote a vector with an arrow on the top to denote a quantity with direction.

The previous vector would be denoted as

We can also use unit vectors i and j to denote a vector where i = <1,0> and j = <0,1>

Magnitude, or length of the vector is denoted as

We use the magnitude to find the quantity of the vector. Whenever we want to disregard the direction of a
vector (taking the area, volume, etc), we can juse take the magnitude.
The direction of the vector is denoted as

Vector Equalities and Operations

Equal Vectors
Have the same magnitude and the same direction, they do not need to have the same starting points.

Opposite Vectors
Have exactly the same length but point in the opposite direction. When added together, opposite vectors cancel
each other out.

Parallel Vectors
Have the same direction but different lengths.

Vectors that have the same direction can be multiplied by scalars to yield a different magnitude.

Vector Addition
When adding vectors, we attach the start of the second vector (intial point) to the end of the first vector
(terminal point).

Vector Subtraction

Scalar Multiplication
Scalar multiplication is when a vector is multiplied by a scalar to increase or decrease the magnitude of the
vector. The scalar does not have any effect on the direction of the vector.

Dot Product
If we have two vectors u and v, the dot product is denoted as

where |u| and |v| are the magnitudes and is the angle between the vectors.
To illustrate what the dot product means, let's take the last part of the formula and deconstruct it.

If we take the vector v times the cos(), we will end up with the projection of v onto u. The projection is formed
by dropping a perpendicular line from the terminal point of v onto u, therefore forming a right angle. The
projection of v onto u is the amount of vector v going in the u direction. The dot product of v and u just
multiplies the projection of v and the vector u (or vice versa).

If we go back to our formula, we can substitute the projection of v for the vector v.

This result tells us how much of vector v is going in the direction of vector u.
What is this useful for? If we think about physics applications, if we have two forces at an angle, we can see how
much force is going in a particular direction. The dot product is sometimes called the scalar product because it
always yields a scalar quantity. The dot product can also help us measure the angle between vectors, find
projections, and determine if two vectors are perpendicular, as we will see in the next examples.
Note that perpendicular vectors will always yield a dot product of 0 because there is no projection, i.e. no
amount of either vector going in the other vector's direction.

The dot product can also be notated with unit vectors i = <1,0> and j = <0,1>

where a, b, c, and d are constants.

Angle Between two Vectors

We can use the definition of the dot product to find the angle between any two vectors. All we need to do is

The Projection of a Vector

From reworking the Dot Product formula and dividing by |u|

we can conclude that the projection of v onto u is

Properties of Vectors
Vectors follow most of the same arithemetic rules as scalar numbers. The following are various properties that
apply to vectors in two dimensional and three dimensional space and are important to keep in mind

Addition of Vectors

Scalar and Vector Properties

Dot Product Properties

The Dot Product is defined as

as well as

The following properties hold

Cross Product Properties

The cross product is defined as

As well as

The following properties hold

Vector Functions
We will use the cross product and dot product of vectors to explore equations of lines and planes in 3
dimensional space. Vector functions have an input t and an output of a vector function of t.

Position Vectors
A position vector is a vector whose initial point is fixed at the origin so that each point corresponds to P = <x,y>.
Since a position vector cannot be translated, it is technically not a vector, so it instead should be considered as
a means of using arithmetic of vectors with point in the plane. In this case, any two given points on a line will
have it's own position vector.

Finding an Equation of a line

We can define L(t) to be a vector valued function which maps the input of t to the output vectors L(t). In two
dimensions, the equation would look similar to the equation of a line in slope intercept form.

We use t because it is the parameter, or index of each point on the line. We use t because a point is often
labeled by the time at which an object is located at that point. In this case, b is a fixed point (position vector) on
the line and v is the vector between two points on the line, or the constant slope vector for the line.

The physical interpretation of this equation is that if an object moves along the line at a constant speed equal to
the magnitude of v, then t would be the time at which the object is located at point L(t) on the line.
Lets find the equation of the line through the points P1(2,4) and P2(5,1). Vector v is given by

Now we have our slope, so we can pick any of the points on the line to be the position vector. Our equation will

Notice that the x coordinates are given by x = 3t+2 and the y coordinates are y = -3t+4. We can then solve for t
which yields

Plugging in for y, we get the slope intercept form of the line

The reason why the vector equation of a line is used is because it generalizes to more than 2 dimensions, which
the slope intercept form cannot. We can do the same thing for 3 dimensional lines.
For example, let's find the equation of the line that passes through the points P1(2,4,1) and P2(5,1,2) where P1
is at t = 0 and P2 is at t = 1.
The vector u is given by

The equation will then be

Plugging t = 0 and t = 1 we get our original points.

Plugging in other values of t will yield other position vectors on the line

Finding an Equation of a Plane

Given any plane, there must be a normal vector n perpendicular to every vector v parallel to the plane.
Generally, the plane through the point P1(x1,y1,z1) with normal vector n = <a,b,c> is the set of
points P<x,y,z> such that the vectors v = P1P2 = <x-x1,y-y1,z-z1> are perpendicular to n. If we recall the dot
product, n*v = 0, which is equivalent to

The equation of a plane with normal n = <a,b,c> through the point (x1,y1,z1) is defined as

Lets find the equation of the plane with normal <5,4,3> going through the point <0,1,2> on the plane.

Isolating z, we can put the equation into functional form.

To find the equation of the plane through three non colinear points, we have to form two vectors connecting
one of the points to the other two. Let u = P1P2 and v = P1P3. These vectors are both parallel to the plane, so
the cross product will yield a normal vector, that is, a vector that is perpendicular to both u and v, and therefore
perpendicular to the plane.
Find the equation of the plane passing through the points P1(1,1,2), P2(2,1,3), and P3(3,1,-1)
First, we find vectors u and v.

Then, we use the formula for the cross product to find the normal vector.

The equation for the plane is then given by

Using the points in a different order may yield a different vector, however the functional form will always be the
We can also find the equation of a plane given a line and a point not on the line. All we need to do is plug in
different values of t to get three different points, and then solve using the previous method.

Vectors in Three Dimensional Space

In single variable calculus, or Calc 1 and 2, we have dealt with functions in two dimensions, or R2. In
multivariable calculus, we will need to get accustomed to working in three dimensional space, or R3. Most of our
notation and calculation will be the same, but with the extension of an added variable, z.

The extended Cartesian graph now looks as follows

The xy plane is now layed out horizontally extending towards you and into the screen. The equation of this
plane can be described by the equation z = 0, where the function does not have a height.
The xz plan is vertical and also extended out and towards you. Functions that exist only on this plane have a y
value of 0.
The yz plane has now taken the place of the xy axis in 2D and is extending up and down as well as left and right.
This plane has an x value of 0.

Figures in Three Dimensions

We can still plot 2 dimensional shapes in 3 dimensions, all we need is to set any of the axes to 0.
The formula for a circle in the xy plane would be

Notice that when z is 0, it is the same equation for a 2 dimensional circle. When z does not equal 0, the graph
will form a sphere.
The graph of a circle in the xy plane forms a cylinder when z can take on any value

Let's graph x = 3 in one, two, and three dimensions. Here is x = 3 in R1

Since x is the only dimension, the image is just a point on a number line.
x = 3 in R2

Because y can take on any value when x is 3, the image is a straight line.
x = 3 in R3

Here, y and z can take on any value, so the image is the yz plane at x = 3.
Notice that first we have a point, then a line, and then finally a plane.

Vectors in Three Dimensional Space

Let's graph the vector v = <3,5,7>.

We use the same method of plotting points and lines in three dimensions as we did on the two dimensional xy

The Distance Formula

The Distance Formula for finding the distance between two points is just extended from our formula in two

The magnitude of vector v would be

Vector notations, equalities and operations from Introduction to Vectors apply to 3D space, just with an added z
axis. There is, however, one operation that requires the vectors to be in 3 dimensions.

The Cross Product (Vector Product)

The Cross Product as another way of multiplying vectors. Unlike the Dot Product, the Cross Product finds the
vector that isorthogonal (perpendicular in 3D) to both vectors, so we can only take the Cross Product in three
dimensions. The result is also going to have size and direction, which makes it a vector.
If we have two vectors u and v, the cross product is defined as

This is the same as the dot product, but we take the sin of the angle and multiply it by n, which is a unit vector
that provides us with the direction because it is orthogonal to both u and v. We will soon see how to ultimately
find the direction of the result of the cross product using the right hand rule.
Let's look at arbitrary vectors u and v.

If we decontruct the formula for the cross product, we can understand what it actually does. Taking the last part
of the cross product, we get

This basically is taking the direction vector of v that is perpendicular to u multiplying it by the magnitude of
both v and u. Unlike the dot product where we project v onto u, we project v onto the perpendicular of u. Then
we multiply this scalar by n, which is the unit vector that is perpendicular to both v and u (this is why the vector
product only works in more than two dimensions). If we look at the vectors, there are two directions that are
perpendicular to both of them - into the screen and out of the screen. This is where the "Right Hand Rule"
comes into play.

The Right Hand Rule

First, point your index finger in the direction of u. Then, point your middle finger in the direction of v. Now,
wherever your thumb is pointing is where the direction of resulting vector of the cross product is pointing.
In this case, your index finger should be pointing up, your middle finger should be pointing to the right, and
your thumb should be pointing towards the screen. This means that the resulting vector is pointing in the
screen, orthoganal to both vectors u andv.

The cross inside the circle means that the vector is going inside the screen. We denote a vector going out of the
screen by a circle with a dot in the middle. This is because the tip of an arrow makes a dot as it is coming at you
and leaves an "X" from behind.
Here is another view so we can see the vector clearly. To make this view, we rotated the graph ninety degrees
forward where u is in the foreground and v is in the background.

We can see that n is the unit vector giving the cross product direction. Before we multiplied by n, the result was
a scalar (just like the result of a dot product). When we multiplied by n, we multiplied by the unit vector
orthogonal to both original vectors.
The Right Hand Rule is a convention that was used to standardize the cross product. The cross product is used
in many fields within physics, such as finding torque on an object and calculating magnetic fields of particles.
Since we don't normally do this on a day to day basis, the cross product is a bit counterintuitive in its
motivations. We must remember that the order of vectors in the cross product matters, and we must make
sure we remember the right hand rule.
Note that if we take the cross product of parallel vectors, the result with be 0 because there is no angle
between them (sin of 0 is 0).

The cross product can be represented in the form of unit vectors, similar to the dot product.

This form is a bit harder to remember, but can be useful if we don't know the angle between vectors.