Guidelines for visualising and calculating volumes of revolution

I have seen some people try to blindly use the formulae for volumes of revolution by cylindrical cross-sections and by cylindrical shells, and I thought that I would write a guide as to how I would recommend tackling such problems, as generally just using the formulae will lead you down blind alleys.

I’ve created an example, with an animation, which I hope will help to master this technique.

So, here is a relatively fool-proof strategy:

  1. Draw the region which you are going to have to rotate around some axis. This will generally be a matter of:
    • Drawing the curves that you have been given
    • Finding where they intersect
  2. Draw the line about which you are supposed to rotate the region
  3. Draw the reflection of the region about the line of rotation: This gives you a slice through the volume that will be formed
  4. Now you have to decide which method to use:
    • Take a slice through the volume perpendicular to the axis of rotation.
By | September 13th, 2017|Courses, First year, MAM1000, Uncategorized, Undergraduate|2 Comments

How Pringles are made (or alternatively hyperbolic paraboloids)

We are currently looking at functions of 2 variables and their graphs. Today we looked at cross-sections through a couple of different surfaces to try and figure out what they looked like in three dimensions. We did this by looking at slices in different directions and then worked out how they all fitted together. In the following animation I have taken horizontal slices of the function:




Remember the graph of this is the set of points \{(x,y,z)\in{\mathbb R}^3|z=f(x,y) and (x,y)\in D\}


We can take horizontal slices of the surface by fixing the z-value and seeing how x and y are constrained. For instance, let’s fix the z-value to 0. Then we have:




This actually gives us two functions in the xy-plane: y=\pm x. This of course is just given by two lines of gradient +1 and -1 which pass through the origin in the xy-plane. In three dimensions then, if we slice through our surface at z=0 we should find these two lines which look like:




How about at z=1?…

By | October 14th, 2015|English, Level: intermediate|0 Comments