Suppose we have a surface given in cylindrical coordinates as $z=f(r,\theta)$ and we wish to find the integral over some region. We could attempt to translate into rectangular coordinates and do the integration there, but it is often easier to stay in cylindrical coordinates.

How might we approximate the volume under such a surface in a way that uses cylindrical coordinates directly? The basic idea is the same as before: we divide the region into many small regions, multiply the area of each small region by the height of the surface somewhere in that little region, and add them up. What changes is the shape of the small regions; in order to have a nice representation in terms of $r$ and $\theta$, we use small pieces of ring-shaped areas, as shown in figure 17.2.1. Each small region is roughly rectangular, except that two sides are segments of a circle and the other two sides are not quite parallel. Near a point $(r,\theta)$, the length of either circular arc is about $r\Delta\theta$ and the length of each straight side is simply $\Delta r$. When $\Delta r$ and $\Delta \theta$ are very small, the region is nearly a rectangle with area $r\Delta r\Delta\theta$, and the volume under the surface is approximately $$\sum\sum f(r_i,\theta_j)r_i\Delta r\Delta\theta.$$ In the limit, this turns into a double integral $$\int_{\theta_0}^{\theta_1}\int_{r_0}^{r_1} f(r,\theta)r\,dr\,d\theta.$$

Figure 17.2.1. A cylindrical coordinates "grid''.

Example 17.2.1 Find the volume under $z=\sqrt{4-r^2}$ above the quarter circle bounded by the two axes and the circle $x^2+y^2=4$ in the first quadrant.

In terms of $r$ and $\theta$, this region is described by the restrictions $0\le r\le 2$ and $0\le\theta\le\pi/2$, so we have $$\eqalign{ \int_{0}^{\pi/2}\int_{0}^{2} \sqrt{4-r^2}\;r\,dr\,d\theta &=\int_{0}^{\pi/2}\left. -{1\over3}(4-r^2)^{3/2}\right|_0^2\,d\theta\cr &=\int_{0}^{\pi/2} {8\over3}\,d\theta\cr &={4\pi\over3}.\cr }$$ The surface is a portion of the sphere of radius 2 centered at the origin, in fact exactly one-eighth of the sphere. We know the formula for volume of a sphere is $(4/3)\pi r^3$, so the volume we have computed is $(1/8)(4/3)\pi 2^3=(4/3)\pi$, in agreement with our answer. (From another point of view, what we've done is prove that the volume of a sphere of radius 2 is $(32/3)$. If you replace 2 by $a$ and do the integral again, it is not any more difficult, and you will prove that the volume of a sphere of radius $a$ is $(4/3)\pi a^3$.) $\square$

This example is much like a simple one in rectangular coordinates: the region of interest may be described exactly by a constant range for each of the variables. As with rectangular coordinates, we can adapt the method to deal with more complicated regions.

Example 17.2.2 Find the volume under $z=\sqrt{4-r^2}$ above the region enclosed by the curve $r=2\cos\theta$, $-\pi/2\le\theta\le\pi/2$; see figure 17.2.2. The region is described in polar coordinates by the inequalities $-\pi/2\le\theta\le\pi/2$ and $0\le r\le2\cos\theta$, so the double integral is $$ \int_{-\pi/2}^{\pi/2}\int_{0}^{2\cos\theta} \sqrt{4-r^2}\;r\,dr\,d\theta =2\int_{0}^{\pi/2}\int_{0}^{2\cos\theta} \sqrt{4-r^2}\;r\,dr\,d\theta. $$ We can rewrite the integral as shown because of the symmetry of the volume; this avoids a complication during the evaluation. Proceeding: $$\eqalign{ 2\int_{0}^{\pi/2}\int_{0}^{2\cos\theta} \sqrt{4-r^2}\;r\,dr\,d\theta &=2\int_{0}^{\pi/2}-{1\over3}\left.(4-r^2)^{3/2}\right|_0^{2\cos\theta}\,d\theta\cr &=2\int_{0}^{\pi/2}-{8\over3}\sin^3\theta+{8\over3}\,d\theta\cr &=\left.2\left(-{8\over3}{\cos^3\theta\over3}-\cos\theta+{8\over3}\theta\right)\right|_0^{\pi/2}\cr &={8\over3}\pi-{32\over9}.\cr }$$ $\square$

Figure 17.2.2. Volume over a region with non-constant limits.

You might have learned a formula for computing areas in polar coordinates. It is possible to compute areas as volumes, so that you need only remember one technique. Consider the surface $z=1$, a horizontal plane. The volume under this surface and above a region in the $x$-$y$ plane is simply $1\cdot(\hbox{area of the region})$, so computing the volume really just computes the area of the region.

Example 17.2.3 Find the area outside the circle $r=2$ and inside $r=4\sin\theta$; see figure 17.2.3. The region is described by $\pi/6\le\theta\le5\pi/6$ and $2\le r\le4\sin\theta$, so the integral is $$\eqalign{ \int_{\pi/6}^{5\pi/6}\int_2^{4\sin\theta}1\,r\,dr\,d\theta &=\int_{\pi/6}^{5\pi/6}\left. {1\over2}r^2\right|_2^{4\sin\theta}\,d\theta\cr &=\int_{\pi/6}^{5\pi/6}8\sin^2\theta-2\,d\theta\cr &={4\over3}\pi+2\sqrt3.\cr }$$ $\square$

Figure 17.2.3. Finding area by computing volume.

Exercises 17.2

Doing integrals in cylindrical coordinates is no different than any other integral.

Ex 17.2.1 Find the volume above the $x$-$y$ plane, under the surface $r^2=2z$, and inside $r=2$. (answer)

Ex 17.2.2 Find the volume inside both $r=1$ and $r^2+z^2=4$. (answer)

Ex 17.2.3 Find the volume below $z=\sqrt{1-r^2}$ and above the top half of the cone $z=r$. (answer)

Ex 17.2.4 Find the volume below $z=r$, above the $x$-$y$ plane, and inside $r=\cos\theta$. (answer)

Ex 17.2.5 Find the volume below $z=r$, above the $x$-$y$ plane, and inside $r=1+\cos\theta$. (answer)

Ex 17.2.6 Find the volume between $x^2+y^2=z^2$ and $x^2+y^2=z$. (answer)

Ex 17.2.7 Find the area inside $r=1+\sin\theta$ and outside $r=2\sin\theta$. (answer)

Ex 17.2.8 Find the area inside both $r=2\sin\theta$ and $r=2\cos\theta$. (answer)

Ex 17.2.9 Find the area inside the four-leaf rose $r=\cos(2\theta)$ and outside $r=1/2$. (answer)

Ex 17.2.10 Find the area inside the cardioid $r=2(1+\cos\theta)$ and outside $r=2$. (answer)

Ex 17.2.11 Find the area of one loop of the three-leaf rose $r=\cos(3\theta)$. (answer)

Ex 17.2.12 Compute $\ds \int_{-3}^3\int_0^{\sqrt{9-x^2}} \sin(x^2+y^2)\,dy\,dx$ by converting to cylindrical coordinates. (answer)

Ex 17.2.13 Compute $\ds \int_{0}^a\int_{-\sqrt{a^2-x^2}}^0 x^2y\,dy\,dx$ by converting to cylindrical coordinates. (answer)

Ex 17.2.14 Find the volume under $z=y^2+x+2$ above the region $x^2+y^2\le 4$ (answer)

Ex 17.2.15 Find the volume between $z=x^2y^3$ and $z=1$ above the region $x^2+y^2\le 1$ (answer)

Ex 17.2.16 Find the volume inside $x^2+y^2=1$ and $x^2+z^2=1$. (answer)

Ex 17.2.17 Find the volume under $z=r$ above $r=3+\cos\theta$. (answer)

Ex 17.2.18 Figure 17.2.4 shows the plot of $r=1+4\sin(5\theta)$.

Figure 17.2.4. $r=1+4\sin(5\theta)$

    a. Describe the behavior of the graph in terms of the given equation. Specifically, explain maximum and minimum values, number of leaves, and the `leaves within leaves'.

    b. Give an integral or integrals to determine the area outside a smaller leaf but inside a larger leaf.

    c. How would changing the value of $a$ in the equation $r=1+a\cos(5\theta)$ change the relative sizes of the inner and outer leaves? Focus on values $a\geq 1$. (Hint: How would we change the maximum and minimum values?)

Ex 17.2.19 Consider the integral $\ds\dint{D} {1\over\sqrt{x^2+y^2}} \; dA$, where $D$ is the unit disk centered at the origin. (This is the same shape described in a different way in exercise 13 in section 11.2.)

    a. Why might this integral be considered improper?

    b. Calculate the value of the integral of the same function $\ds 1/\sqrt{x^2+y^2}$ over the annulus with outer radius 1 and inner radius $\delta$.

    c. Obtain a value for the integral on the whole disk by letting $\delta$ approach 0. (answer)

    d. For which values $\lambda$ can we replace the denominator with $(x^2+y^2)^\lambda$ in the original integral and still get a finite value for the improper integral?