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Area under Curves

The most important topic of Integral calculus is Calculation of area. Integration in

general is considered to be a tough topic and area calculation tests a persons
Integration and that too Definite integral which is all the more difficult. Integration
including both Definite and Indefinite integrals lays the groundwork for the questions of
area calculation in Integral calculus.
In this chapter we have basically discussed the concept of definite integration and its
application for calculation of area of the regions bounded by specific curves. All the
concepts have been explained in detail and along with the illustrations wherever
required. We have tried to cover all the major types of questions which are likely to be
encountered by students in various competitive exams.

The figure given above illustrates the area S covered by the curve f(x). If we wish to
find the area covered by the curve f(x) between x = a and x = b, then it can be found
by integrating the curve f(x) form a to b.
Some of the basic points to be kept in mind while dealing with the questions of this
topic are:

A graph is of utmost importance in these questions. The bounding region

provides the limits of integration and it is not easy to do that without a graph.

It is very confusing to determine which function is an upper function and which is

lower without a graph. So in order to avoid any mistake, students are advised to first
draw a graph to the question so as to have a clear picture of what exactly is being

The area between the graph y= f(x) and the x-axis is given by the definite
integral as given below. This formula gives a positive answer for a graph above the xaxis and a negative answer for the one below the x- axis. In case, the graph is partly
below and partly above the x-axis, the formula gives the net resultant area i.e. the area
above minus the area below the x-axis.

We have learnt that the definite integral between two values of Independent variable
represents the area of the curve bound by the curve, the axis of the independent
variable. Further, as we can calculate the area under one curve and the area under
another curve then we can calculate the area between two curves. Depending upon the
nature of the curves, this area can have different shapes and thus the tool of definite
integral can be employed to calculate the area of different shapes. As a matter of fact,
you will realize that the standard formulae to calculate the areas of different shapes
can be derived by definite integral by choosing the appropriate curves. Various sub
heads included under this topic are listed below:


Basic Concepts


Working rule for finding the Area


Area enclosed between the curves


Solved Examples
For the type of questions asked, please log on to the Previous Year Papers.

Determine the area of the region bounded by

and the y-axis.

Firstly, as explained above, draw the figure so as to have a clear picture. The
corresponding graph is given below:

Hence, it is clear from the figure that area of the shaded portion is given by:

Area Calculation is important from the perspective of scoring high in IIT JEE as there are
few fixed patterns on which a number of Multiple Choice Questions are framed. You are
expected to do all the questions based on this to remain competitive in IIT JEE

Area Under Curves Basic Concepts

The calculation of area under curves is a very important question from the section of
integral calculus. In such questions it is indispensable to solve a question without the
graph. So once you draw a graph, it gives a clear picture of the question and the limits
of integration too.
The procedure to calculate the area under a curve f(x) is given by the formula ab f(x)
dx. The geometrical interpretation of a definite integral is that it gives the area included
between the curve y = f(x), the x-axis and the ordinates x = a and x = b.

Calculation of Area
Consider the curve shown in figure. Consider the strip of width x and length y from xaxis.
Clearly Area EFGJ < Area FEIG < Area FEIK.
yx < Area FEIG < (y + y).x

as x 0 the area of lower and upper rectangle tend to be equal. Thus, by sandwich

Area FEIG = ydx

or d = ydx. So the area of the region ABCDA is given by
=AB ydx
Now we list various cases:

(1) Let f(x) be a continuous function in (a, b). Then the area bounded by the curve
y = f(x), the x-axis and the lines x = a and x = b is given by the formulae
| a f(x) dx |,
provided f(x) > 0 (or f(x) < 0) x (a, b).

(2) The area bounded by x = f(y), the y-axis and the lines y = c and y = d is given by

A = | cd f(y) dy | provided f(y) > 0 or f(y) < 0 y (c, d)

(3) If we have two functions f(x) and g(x) such that f(x) < g(x) x [a, b], then the
area bounded by the curves y = f(x), y= g(x) and the lines x = a, x = b (a < b) is given
A =| ab [ g(x)-f(x) ] dx |.
Area between the curves y= g(x) and y= f(x)
To get acquainted with the trend of questions that have been asked till date, the
students can refer the IIT JEE Past year papers.
The above three cases generally cover most of the questions of area. It is advised to
shade the area in the graph as done above so that it becomes simple to get the limits
and the chances of committing errors are also minimized.
For further clarification, you can also refer the video

Illustration 1: The triangle formed by the tangent to the curve f(x) = x2 + bx b at

the point (1,1) and the coordinate axis lies in the first quadrant. If its area is 2, then
what is the value of b?
Solution: Let y = f(x) = x2 + bx b
The equation of the tangent at P (1, 1) to the curve 2y = 2x2 + 2bx 2b is
y +1= 2x.1 + b (x+1) - 2b
so, y = (2 + b)x (1 + b)
It meets the coordinate axis at xA = (1+b)/(2+b) and yB = (1 + b)
Hence, the area of OAB = 1/2 OA x OB = -1/2 (1 + b)2 / (2+b) = 2
This means (1+b)2 + 4(2+b) = 0.
b2 + 6b +9 = 0
(b +3)2 = 0
So, b = -3
Illustration 2: Let An be the area bounded by the curve y = (tanx)n and the lines x =
0, y = 0 and x = /4. Prove that for n > 2, An + An-2 = 1/(n-1) and deduce
1/ (2n+2) < An < 1/(2n-2) n.
Solution: Required area bounded by the curve y = (tanx)n between x = 0, y = 0 and x
= /4 is
An = tannx dx, where the integral runs from 0 to /4.
An = tann-2x (sec2x -1) dx, integral runs from 0 to /4.
An = 1/(n-1) 0 An-2
An + An-2 =1/(n-1) (1)
In (0, /4), tannx < tann-2x and tann+2x < tannx
Hence, tannx dx < tann-2x dx, here integral runs from 0 to /4
And tann+2x dx < tannx dx, here integral runs from 0 to /4

So, An < An-2 and An+2 < An

By adding An, 2An < An + An-2
And An + An+2 < 2An
2An < 1(n-1) and 1/(n+1) < 2 An
Therefore, 1/(n+1) < 2An < 1/(n-2)
Hence, 1/(2n+2) < An < 1/(2n-2) n.
Illustration 3: Find the area enclosed within the curve |x| + |y| =1.
Solution: The given curve is |x| + |y| =1.
This curve can be broken in the form of following four lines
x+y = 1
-x+y = 1
-x-y = 1
x-y = 1
Plotting these four lines on a graph, it can be seen that they form a square with
vertices at points (0, 1), (1, 0), (-1, 0) and (0,-1).
Hence, the required area = Area of the square = (2)2 = 2 sq. unit.

Working Rule to Calculate Area

If the curve lies completely above the x-axis, then the area is positive but when it
lies completely below the x-axis then the area is negative; however, we have the
convention to consider the magnitude only.

If the curve lies on both the sides of the x-axis is i.e. above the x-axis as well as

below the x-axis, then calculate both areas separately and add their moduli to get the
total area.

In general if the curve y = f(x) crosses the x-axis n times when x varies from a to b,
then the areas between y = f(x), the x-axis and the lines x= a and x = b is given by A =
|A1| + |A2| ++ |An|.
(iii) If the curve is symmetrical about the x-axis, or the y-axis, or both, then calculate
the area of one symmetrical part and multiply it by the number of symmetrical parts to
get the whole area.

Calculate the area included between the lines x = 2, y = 2 and x + y = 5


The curves are plotted in the figure given above and we are required to find the shaded

For point Q put y = 2 in (iii) we get x = 3

Required area = Area PQR = 23(5-x)dx - 232dx
= 5x x2/2 - 2x|23
= 15 9/2 6 10 + 4/2 + 4 = 21 41/2 =1/2 sq. units
Working Rule to Calculate Area
Find the area bounded by y = cos x, x = /2, x = 2 and the x-axis.

= 2 + 2 + 1 = 5 sq. units.

Calculate the area bounded by y = x2 on the left of y-axis, the y-axis and the
lines y = 1, y = 4.

The required area = | 14- ydy| = 2/3 y3/2 |14= 2/3 (8-1)=14/3 sq. units.

Find the area included between the curves y = sin1x, y = cos1x and the xaxis.
Clearly we have to calculate the area of the shaded region OPBO. The point P of
intersection of = y sin1 and y = cos1 x. Hence its coordinate are (1/2,/4)

Put x = sin
dx = cos d so that
x = 0 = 0,
x = 1/2 = /4,
x = 1 = /2 The required area

Calculate the area of the region bounded by the straight lines x = 0, x = 2 and
the curves y = 2x, y = 2x x2.
Since the maximum of the function y = 2x x2 is attained at the point x = 1 and
is equal to 1, and the function y = 2x > 1 on the interval [0, 2], we have
2x > 2x
x2, for all x [0, 2].


The area obtained by integration is positive if the curve is above x-axis and b >
a. (figure i) The area becomes negative if b > a and the curve is below x-axis. (Figure ii)
If however for any value [a, b] the curve crosses the x-axis then the value of the
integral gives the difference of areas of the portions of the curve lying below the x-axis
and above the x-axis. In such case (figure iii) Area = ac f(x)dx- caf(x)dx where c is the
root of equation f(x) = 0.

Calculate the area bounded by the curve y = x (x 1)(x 2) and the x-axis.
Here the curve is not a standard curve, we make a rough sketch. Solving with y =
0, we get x = 0, 1, 2 The curve cuts x-axis at 0, 1, 2
Recall: Sign scheme of Quadratic expression Chapter 1 Module 2. When 0 < x < 1,
= +ve 1 < x < 2, y = ve

The shaded portion is the required area

= |Area OCAO| + |Area ADBA|

Area Enclosed Between the Curves

Area between curves y = (x) and y = (x) and ordinates x = x1 and x = x2

(i) To determine the area between curves, first find out the points of intersection of the
two curves. (See figure)

(ii) If in the domain common to both (i.e. the domain given by the points of
intersection) the curves lie above x-axis, then area is

Note: If however one part of one or both the curve lies below x-axis, then the
individual integral must be evaluated according to the case considered in the last topic.


Area between curve y = f(x) and y-axis.

To obtain the area between the curve and the y-axis, the function must be written in y.

(see figure A and B) i.e. y = f(x) must be inverted to x = g(y) (where g(x) = f1 (x)) and
the integral to be evaluated is y1y2x dy or y1y2g(y) dy.

Similarly the area bounded between the y-axis & the curves y = f(x) and y =
g(x) can be determined. In general, to find the area of the region one must draw the
curve and locate the region. The limits and sign of different definite integral are
determined accordingly.
Suppose we have to calculate the area bounded by y2 = 4x and 2x = y.
First we should calculate the points of intersection.
4x2 4x = 0

x = 0, x = 1

The shaded portion gives the required area.

This area is given by


Find the area bounded by y = x |sin x| and the x-axis between x = 0, x = 2.


Hence the required area

Find the area bounded by the curve |x| + y = 1 and the x-axis.
The given curve is |x| + y = 1 (1)
i.e. x + y = 1, when x > 0
and x + y = 1, when x < 0.

The required area

= area (CAOC) + area (OABO)

= 1 sq. unit.

Note: Obviously, y = 1 [x] is an even function. Hence graph of y = 1 |x| is

symmetrical about the y-axis. Thus the required area = 2 01(1-x)dx.
Calculate the area bounded by the curve y = x(3 x)2, the x-axis and the
ordinates of the maximum and minimum points of the curve.
Since y = x(3 x)2. Now for points of maxima or minima, we have dy/dx = 0
(3 x)2 2x(3 x) = 0
(3 x)(3 x 2x) = 0

x = 1, 3

Let f be a real valued function satisfying f(x/y) = f(x) f(y) and
find the area bounded by y = f(x), y-axis and line y = 3.
f(x/y) = f(x) f(y)
Putting x = y = 1, we get f(1) = 0

Putting x = 1, we get c = 0
f(x) = 3 lnx
Hence required area = 3 e


dy = 3e sq. units.


Find the area between curves y = exlnx and y = lnx/ex.
The two curves intersect where

x = 1/e or x = 1 (lnx is not defined for x = 1/e)

At x = 1/e or ex = 1
lnx = 1, y = 1

(1/e, 1) is one point of intersection and at x = 1, ln 1 = 0, y = 0

(1, 0) is the other common point of the curves.

The required area = 1/e1 (y1-y2) dx


Let f(x) = minimum (x + 1, (1-x)) for all x < 1. Find the area bounded by y = f(x)
and the x-axis.
Required area = Area ABCA