# 2.1 Areas between Curves

### Learning Objectives

- Determine the area of a region between two curves by integrating with respect to .
- Find the area of a compound region.
- Determine the area of a region between two curves by integrating with respect to .

In Introduction to Integration, we developed the concept of the definite integral to calculate the area below a curve on a given interval. In this section, we expand that idea to calculate the area of more complex regions. We start by finding the area between two curves defined by the functions of beginning with the simple case in which one function is always greater than the other. We then look at cases when the graphs of the functions intersect. Finally, we consider how to calculate the area between two curves whose equations express as a function of

## Area of a Region between Two Curves

Let and be continuous functions over an interval such that on We want to find the area between the graphs of the functions, as shown in the following figure.

As we did before, we are going to partition the interval on the and approximate the area between the graphs of the functions with rectangles. So, for let be a regular partition of Then, for choose a point and on each interval construct a rectangle that extends vertically from to Figure (a) shows the rectangles when is selected to be the left endpoint of the interval and Figure (b) shows a representative rectangle in detail.

The height of each individual rectangle is and the width of each rectangle is Adding the areas of all the rectangles, we see that the area between the curves is approximated by

This is a Riemann sum, so when we take the limit as , we get

These findings are summarized in the following theorem.

### Finding the Area between Two Curves

Let and be continuous functions such that over an interval Let denote the region bounded above by the graph of below by the graph of and on the left and right by the lines and respectively. Then, the area of is given by

We apply this theorem in the following example.

### Finding the Area of a Region between Two Curves 1

If * R* is the region bounded above by the graph of the function and below by the graph of the function over the interval find the area of region

#### Solution

The region is depicted in the following figure.

We have

The area of the region is

If is the region bounded by the graphs of the functions and over the interval find the area of region

#### Answer

12 units^{ 2}

In the above examples, we defined the interval of interest as part of the problem statement. Quite often, though, we want to define our interval of interest based on where the graphs of the two functions intersect. This is illustrated in the following example.

### Finding the Area of a Region between Two Curves 2

If is the region bounded above by the graph of the function and below by the graph of the function find the area of

#### Solution

The region is depicted in the following figure.

We first need to compute where the graphs of the functions intersect. Setting we get

The graphs of the functions intersect when or so we want to integrate from -2 to 6. Since for we obtain

The area of the region is units^{ 2} .

If * R* is the region bounded above by the graph of the function and below by the graph of the function find the area of region

#### Answer

unit^{ 2}

## Areas of Compound Regions

So far, we have required over the entire interval of interest, but what if we want to look at regions bounded by the graphs of functions that cross one another? In that case, we modify the process we just developed by using the absolute value function.

### Finding the Area of a Region between Intersecting Curves

Let and be continuous functions over an interval Let denote the region between the graphs of and and be bounded on the left and right by the lines and respectively. Then, the area of is given by

In practice, applying this theorem requires us to break up the interval and evaluate several integrals, depending on which of the function values is greater over a given part of the interval. We study this process in the following example.

### Finding the Area of a Region Bounded by Intersecting Curves

If * R* is the region between the graphs of the functions and over the interval find the area of region

#### Solution

The region is depicted in the following figure.

The graphs of the functions intersect at For so

On the other hand, for so

Then

The area of the region is units^{ 2} .

If * R* is the region between the graphs of the functions and over the interval find the area of region

#### Answer

units^{ 2}

#### Hint

The two curves intersect at

### Finding the Area of a Complex Region

Consider the region depicted in the Figure 6 below. Find the area of

#### Solution

As in the previous example, we need to divide the interval into two pieces. The graphs of the functions intersect at (set and solve for ), so we evaluate two separate integrals: one over the interval and one over the interval

Over the interval the region is bounded above by and below by the -axis, so we have

Over the interval the region is bounded above by and below by the so we have

Adding these areas together, we obtain

The area of the region is units^{ 2} .

Consider the region depicted in the following figure. Find the area of

#### Answer

units^{ 2}

#### Hint

The two curves intersect at

## Regions Defined with Respect to *y*

In the previous examples, we had to evaluate two separate integrals to calculate the area of the region. However, there is another approach that requires only one integral. The idea is to rewrite the equations of the curves expressing as a functions of Going back to Figure 6, we note that the left graph, shown in red, is represented by the function We could just as easily solve this for and represent the curve by the function (Note that is also a valid representation of the function as a function of However, based on the graph, it is clear we are interested in the positive square root.) Similarly, the right graph is represented by the function but could just as easily be represented by the function When the graphs are represented as functions of we see the region is bounded on the left by the graph of one function and on the right by the graph of the other function. Therefore, if we integrate with respect to we need to evaluate one integral only. Let’s develop a formula for this type of integration.

Let and be continuous functions over an interval such that for all We want to find the area between the graphs of the functions, as shown in the following figure.

This time, we are going to partition the interval on the and use horizontal rectangles to approximate the area between the functions. So, for let be a regular partition of Then, for choose a point then over each interval construct a rectangle that extends horizontally from to Figure (a) below shows the rectangles when is selected to be the lower endpoint of the interval and Figure (b) shows a representative rectangle in detail.

The height of each individual rectangle is and the width of each rectangle is Therefore, the area between the curves is approximately

This is a Riemann sum, so we take the limit as obtaining

These findings are summarized in the following theorem.

### Finding the Area between Two Curves, Integrating along the *y*-axis

Let and be continuous functions such that for all Let denote the region bounded on the right by the graph of on the left by the graph of and above and below by the lines and respectively. Then, the area of is given by

### Integrating with Respect to *y*

Let’s revisit the example with the region shown in Figure 6, only this time let’s integrate with respect to Let be the region depicted in below. Find the area of by integrating with respect to

#### Solution

We must first express the graphs as functions of As we saw at the beginning of this section, the curve on the left can be represented by the function and the curve on the right can be represented by the function

Now we have to determine the limits of integration. The region is bounded below by the -axis, so the lower limit of integration is The upper limit of integration is determined by the point where the two graphs intersect, which is the point so the upper limit of integration is Thus, we have

Calculating the area of the region, we get

The area of the region is units^{ 2} .

Let’s revisit the exercise associated with Figure 7, only this time, let’s integrate with respect to Let be the region depicted in the following figure. Find the area of by integrating with respect to

#### Answer

units^{ 2}

#### Hint

Follow the process from the previous example.

### Key Concepts

- Just as definite integrals can be used to find the area under a curve, they can also be used to find the area between two curves.
- To find the area between two curves defined by functions, integrate the difference of the functions.
- If the graphs of the functions cross, or if the region is complex, use the absolute value of the difference of the functions. In this case, it may be necessary to evaluate two or more integrals and add the results to find the area of the region.
- Sometimes it can be easier to integrate with respect to to find the area. The principles are the same regardless of which variable is used as the variable of integration.

## Key Equations

**Area between two curves, integrating on the -axis**

**Area between two curves, integrating on the -axis**

### Exercises

For the following exercises, determine the area of the region between the two curves in the given figure by integrating over the

** 1. **

#### Answer

** 2. **

For the following exercises, split the region between the two curves into two smaller regions, then determine the area by integrating over the Note that you will have two integrals to evaluate.

** 3. ** and

#### Answer

** 4. ** and for

For the following exercises, determine the area of the region between the two curves by integrating over the

** 5. **

#### Answer

36

** 6. **

For the following exercises, graph the equations and shade the area of the region between the curves. Determine its area by integrating over the

** 7. **

#### Answer

243 square units

** 8. **

** 9. ** and on (Hint: use that to sketch the curve.)

#### Answer

4

** 10.**

** 11. **

#### Answer

** 12. **

** 13. **

#### Answer

For the following exercises, graph the equations and shade the area of the region between the curves. If necessary, break the region into sub-regions to determine its entire area.

** 14. **

** 15. **

#### Answer

** 16. ** and over

** 17. ** over

#### Answer

** 18. ** over

** 19. ** and

#### Answer

For the following exercises, graph the equations and shade the area of the region between the curves. Determine its area by integrating over the -axis.

** 20. **

** 21. **

#### Answer

** 22. **

** 23. **

#### Answer

** 24. **

** 25. **

#### Answer

For the following exercises, graph the equations and shade the area of the region between the curves. Determine its area by integrating over the -axis or -axis, whichever seems more convenient.

** 26. **

** 27.* **

#### Answer

** 28. **

** 29. **

#### Answer

** 30. **

** 31. **

#### Answer

** 32. **

** 33. **

#### Answer

** 34. **

** 35. **

#### Answer

** 36. **

** 37. **

#### Answer

For the following exercises, find the exact area of the region bounded by the given equations if possible. If you are unable to determine the intersection points analytically, use a calculator to approximate the intersection points with three decimal places and determine the approximate area of the region.

** 38. [T]**

** 39. [T]**

#### Answer

1.067

** 40. [T]**

** 41. [T]**

#### Answer

1.605

** 42. [T]**

** 43. [T]**

#### Answer

7.523

** 44. [T]**

** 45. [T]**

#### Answer

** 46. [T]**

** 47. [T]**

#### Answer

1.429

** 48. ** The largest triangle with a base on the that fits inside the upper half of the unit circle is given by and See the following figure. What is the area inside the semicircle but outside the triangle?

** 49. ** A factory selling cell phones has a marginal cost function where represents the number of cell phones, and a marginal revenue function given by Find the area between the graphs of these curves and What does this area represent?

#### Answer

total profit for 200 cell phones sold

** 50. ** An amusement park has a marginal cost function where represents the number of tickets sold, and a marginal revenue function given by Find the total profit generated when selling 550 tickets. Use a calculator to determine intersection points, if necessary, to two decimal places.

** 51. ** The tortoise versus the hare: The speed of the hare is given by the sinusoidal function whereas the speed of the tortoise is where is time measured in hours and the speed is measured in miles per hour. Find the area between the curves from time to the first time after one hour when the tortoise and hare are traveling at the same speed. What does it represent? Use a calculator to determine the intersection points, if necessary, accurate to three decimal places.

#### Answer

3.263 mi represents how far ahead the hare is from the tortoise

** 52. ** The tortoise versus the hare: The speed of the hare is given by the sinusoidal function whereas the speed of the tortoise is where is time measured in hours and speed is measured in kilometers per hour. If the race is over in 1 hour, who won the race and by how much? Use a calculator to determine the intersection points, if necessary, accurate to three decimal places.

For the following exercises, find the area between the curves by integrating with respect to and then with respect to Is one method easier than the other? Do you obtain the same answer?

** 53. **

#### Answer

** 54. **

** 55. **

#### Answer

For the following exercises, solve using calculus, then check your answer with geometry.

** 56. ** Determine the equations for the sides of the square that touches the unit circle on all four sides, as seen in the following figure. Find the area between the perimeter of this square and the unit circle. Is there another way to solve this without using calculus?

** 57. ** Find the area between the perimeter of the unit circle and the triangle created from and as seen in the following figure. Is there a way to solve this without using calculus?

## Hint

Graph the functions to determine which function’s graph forms the upper bound and which forms the lower bound, then follow the process used in the previous example.