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The Area of a Lune

Jabari Zakiya (2016/10/23)


A lune (from the Latin luna, referring to the moon) is a crescent-shaped figure formed on a plane
surface by the intersection of the arcs of two circles, as shown in shaded part of the Figure 1 below.
Here well show how to compute the area of a lune, and then how to maximize its area.
Figure 2 shows the components of the geometry of the
lune well need to work with to find the area. Our
reference geometry is centered on the big circle. We see
the small circles y-axis is centered a length b above the
x-axis, and we can determine its value from geometry.

Y
f(x)
g(x)

-r

R
r

Thus,
and then
Now we can determine the equations of both circles.
Figure 1
Figure 2
The equation for the upper curve f(x) is circle:
The equation for the lower curve g(x) is circle:

Now that we have expressions for the upper and lower curves of the lune we note the curves meet when
x = r, which are thus the limits of integration with respect to the x-axis, so the integral to calculate is:

The first integral is:


At this point we could just use integral tables for the last two integrals, but first lets determine them
using the geometry of the problem then solve them using the integral tables to see if the answers match.
We see that the equation for the small circle is:

and then

, thus the

integral from -r to r is just the area of the upper half of the small circle, so:
To compute the third integral, we get from the geometry of the problem the following relations:
;

and when x = 0

Also, since the area is symmetric around the y-axis then:

and when x = r then is an angle .

which will make computing the integral a little easier. Combining all of this together well now
transform the integral from -r to r along the x-axis to one that sweeps through the angular length of .

Now using the geometry of the problem we can substitute expressions for the cos|sin values.

and

Now combining the three integral results into the total expression and simplifying we get:

Now lets solve the area integral using substitution from integral tables. Heres the original integral.

Lets make it easier to compute by using the figures geometric symmetry.

The first integral is, again, just:


From integral tables we get:

, and thus,

Combining all three integral results again shows the final lune area equation matches the previous one.

Geometric Derivation of Lune Area


Now lets acquire this result using just geometry and interpret the geometric meaning of the answer.

R
Area_1
r
b

Area_2
O

Figure 3 identifies the geometric components we need to compute to find the


area of the shaded lune. From geometry, the area of a circular section formed
by an arc of angle with its radius r is: A = r2/2. Thus, the arc section area
formed by angle with big circle radius R is: Asec = R2/2. From Figure 3
we also have Area_1 = the arc section area between the top of the big circle
and small semicircle bottom, and Area_2 = br/2 is the right triangle area with
angle , thus the total arc section area is: Asec = Area_1 + Area_2, then
Area_1 = Asec Area_2 = R2/2 br/2

and using symmetry we have,

2Area_1 = R2 br is the corresponding total arc section bounded area.


Figure 3
Thus: A(r) = (half area of small circle) (area between big circle top and small semicircle bottom)
A(r) = r2/2 ( R2 br) = r2/2 + br R2

with

and

Therefore geometrically, the lune area is composed of three regular geometric shapes: (the small semicircle area) + (the rectangular area b*r, which is twice the right triangle area of Area_2) (the square R
area scaled by angle ). We see here, using geometry produces a simpler|faster solution than calculus.
3

Maximum Area of Lune


Now that we have the equation for the lune area, where the big circle radius R is constant, and we can
vary the radius (size) of the small circle, what is the value of r that will maximize the lune area?
We can see from the figures, when the little circle moves up, its radius (and thus area) gets smaller.
Conversely, as the little circle moves down, its radius and area gets bigger (until it approaches that of
the big circle). A good guess then, is the maximum lune area occurs somewhere near when r = R/2.
To find the max lune area, we take its equations derivative with respect to r, set it to 0, and solve for r.

therefore:

Thus, the radius of the small circle that maximizes the lunes area is much greater than 50% of R, but is
over 84.35% the length of the big circle radius R, making it really close in size to the big circle. In fact,
the area of the max small circle will be (0.8435636R)2/R2, or 71.16% that of the big circle.

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