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Lucas Serraiocco

Mr. Acre

Ap Calculus

23 March 2015

Riemann Sums

The integral is one of the fundamental concepts of calculus. One of its main

applications is finding the area under a curve. There are multiple methods to accomplish

this and they include Riemann sums, the Trapezoid rule, and Simpsons rule.

Riemann Sums

The first of these methods that will be discussed is Riemann sums. This is

f ( x ) dx

f (x)

certain number of rectangles will be created under a curve and their areas will be added

together in order to calculate the integral. The height of these rectangles is the y value

of the function and the base is the change in x. In order to get a more accurate

calculation, one should make the change in x smaller. If this value becomes infinitely

small, then the Riemann Sum will actually equal the definite integral. The change in x

value will vary however as it is dependent on the number of subintervals as well as the

length of these intervals within the bounds of integration (denoted n). In order to obtain

Serraiocco 2

the change in x value, the desired area within the bounds of integration will be divided

by the total number of subintervals. Since not every problem is the same, the changing

x value will fluctuate. This leads one to pick a uniform position on each rectangle, these

being left, right, middle, lower, and upper. This is attributed to the height of the

rectangles being some f(x) value. In conclusion, there are 5 types of Riemann sums.

First, a left Riemann Sum uses the left most bound x value in order to find f(x).

This x value can also be the right most point as well as the midpoint. Lower Riemann

sums will provide the absolute minimum estimation of the area and are therefore not too

accurate. That being said, this process will always underestimate the definite integral.

Finally, upper Riemann sums work in the complete opposite way. The highest f(x) value

will be used for the height of the rectangle which will provide the max estimation

possible. This means that upper Riemann sum will always overestimate the area and

thus, the definite integral. Examples of each method will be discussed later. The general

equation for Riemann sums is shown below.

Rn= x f ( x 1 ) + x f ( x 2 ) + x f ( x 3 ) +

As stated above, the change in x value is the base of the rectangles while the

height is determined by f(x).

Trapezoid Rule

The second method to calculate area under a curve is the Trapezoid rule.

This method focuses on the use of trapezoids instead of rectangles. The change in x

value now becomes the height of each trapezoid while the base is the left and right

Serraiocco 3

bounds of the interval. The difference between the x values of the upper and lower

bounds will produce the change in x value. This will remain constant between each

interval. It should be noted that when using the trapezoid rule, an overestimation of the

definite integral can occur if the graph is concave up while an underestimation happens

if the graph is concave down.

The general equation is shown below.

T n= x

f ( x 1 ) +f ( x 2 )

f ( x2 ) + f ( x 3)

f ( x3 )+ f ( x4 )

+ x

+ x

+

2

2

2

) (

) (

Figure 1 shows the Trapezoid rule being used to estimate the area between

the interval [a,b]. The change in x value will remain constant across each trapezoid.

Simpsons Rule

Serraiocco 4

The final method is Simpsons rule. This process uses parabolas to estimate

area under a curve as opposed to rectangles and trapezoids. This gives Simpsons rule

the unique trait of analyzing a curved graph. However, this method also uses intervals

from a to b. In order to perform Simpsons rule some prerequisites must be met. There

must be an even number of intervals which corresponds with an odd number of data

points. The first and last f(x) values denoted as a and b respectively are multiple by one.

The f(x) value created by the first subinterval is multiplied by four, and the next is

multiplied by two. This process will alternate and repeat until the last value is reached.

The general formula is shown below as well as an example.

1

Area= ( x )f ( x0 ) + 4 f ( x1 ) +2 f ( x 2 ) + 4 f ( x 3 ) +...+2 f ( x n2 ) +4 f ( x n1 ) +f ( x n )

3

Serraiocco 5

The figure above shows how there is an odd number of data points and an even

number of intervals. The thin line represents the original function while the darker line is

that of Simpsons rule.

All three of these methods are useful for approximating the definite integral. Each

process separates the graph into intervals and uses an assortment of shapes to

calculate the area of each interval. These shapes include rectangles, trapezoids, and

parabolas for Riemann sums, trapezoid rule, and Simpsons rule respectively. The

methods start to differ in their accuracy and interval requirements. Riemann sums and

Trapezoid rule can be used for any number of subintervals while Simpsons rule

requires an even number. When determining accuracy, Riemann sums is the least

accurate, followed by Trapezoid rule, and leaving Simpsons rule to be the most

accurate. This is reasonable because Riemann sums only account for one f(x) value.

The problem of not paying attention to a fluctuating interval then arises. Trapezoid rule

remedies this slightly by taking into account two f(x) values instead of one. Finally,

Simpsons rule not only takes into account a fluctuating interval, but the concavity as

well due to the parabolic nature. However, it should be noted that there is a direct

relationship between accuracy and subintervals (n) across all three methods. As the n

value increases so will the accuracy.

Riemann Sums examples

Serraiocco 6

In order to demonstrate the 5 variations of Riemann sums, the definite integral

of the function f(x) = (x-3)4 + 2(x-3)3 - 4(x-3) + 5 will be calculated between the integral

[1,5]. There will be two subintervals which allow the change in x value to equal 2.

Figure 3 shows the left Riemann sum within the desired interval. The calculation is

below:

R2= xf ( x 1 ) + xf ( x 2 )

R2= xf ( 1 ) + xf ( 3 )

R2=213+25

R2=26+ 10

Serraiocco 7

Figure 4 shows the right Riemann sum within the desired interval. The calculation is

below:

R2= xf ( x 1 ) + xf ( x 2 )

R2= xf ( 3 )+ xf ( 5 )

R2=25+229

Serraiocco 8

Figure 5 shows the midpoint Riemann sum within the desired interval. The

calculation is below.

R2= xf ( x 1 ) + xf ( x 2 )

R2= xf ( 2 ) + xf ( 4 )

R2=28+24

Serraiocco 9

Figure 6 shows the lower Riemann su within the desired interval. The calculation

is shown below.

R2= xf ( x 1 ) + xf ( x 2 )

R2= xf ( 3 )+ xf ( 3.6777 )

R2=25+23.1226

Serraiocco 10

Figure 7 shows the upper Riemann sum within the desired interval, The calculation is

shown below.

R2= xf ( x 1 ) + xf ( x 2 )

R2= xf ( 1 ) + xf ( 5 )

R2=213+229

In order to obtain a comparison between Riemann Sums and Trapezoid rule,

the same function will have its area estimated using trapezoids. The difference occurs at

Serraiocco 11

the number of subintervals. For this example, the trapezoid approximation will have four

intervals compared to the 2 that the Riemann sum had. This will yield a change in x

value of 1 instead of 2. The graph of this situation as well as the calculations is shown

below.

Serraiocco 12

f x 1 ) + f ( x2 )

f ( x 2 ) +f ( x 3 )

f ( x3 )+ f ( x4 )

f ( x4)+ f ( x5 )

+ x

+ x

+ x

2

2

2

2

T 4= x

((

T 4= x

( f ( 1) +2 f ( 2) )+ x ( f ( 2) +f2 ( 3) )+ x( f ( 3)+2f ( 4 ) )+ x ( f ( 4) +2 f (5 ) )

T 4=1

) (

) (

8+5

5+ 4

4+29

+1

+1

+1

( 13+8

2 ) ( 2 ) ( 2 ) ( 2 )

T 4=10.5+6.5+ 4.5+16.5

) (

T 4=1

T 4=38 squareunits

When looking at all four of the trapezoids, three of them overestimate the definite

integral. It should be noted that the second trapezoid just barely underestimates. This

occurs because of the changing concavity within the interval [1,5]. Despite the

overestimation, the trapezoid rule is still more accurate than that of Riemann Sums.

Also, the fact that the trapezoid rule had a larger n value allows for a more accurate

calculation.

Mean Value Theorem

There is another method that can be used to calculate the definite integral.

This process is called the Mean Value Theorem (MVT), and can be used in select

scenarios. This theorem states that if a graph is continuous on the closed interval from a

to b, then there exists some number, c, in the interval a to b such that:

Serraiocco 13

b

1

f ( c )=

f ( x ) dx .

ba a

In other words, the area calculated by the definite integral will be equal to the

rectangles area calculated by multiplying f(c) and the difference between the upper and

lower bounds ( x . Using this theorem to calculate the area for the previously stated

function between the interval [1,5] can be accomplished by creating two subintervals,

these being [1,3] and [3,5]. First, the c value, which is the value that produces the

required f(x) must be found for each interval. The calculation for the first interval is

shown below, denoted by c1 (from 1 to 3).

3

1

f ( c1 ) =

( ( x3 )4 +2 ( x3 )34 ( x3 ) +5 ) dx

31 1

) (

f ( c1 ) =

1 ( x3 ) ( x3 )

+

2 ( x3 )2+ 5 x

2

5

2

1 ( 33 ) ( 33 )

1 ( 13 ) (13 )

2

2

f ( c1 ) =

+

2 ( 33 ) +53

+

2 ( 13 ) +51

2

5

2

2

5

2

1

f ( c1 ) = (( 15 )(1.4))

2

f ( c1 ) =8.2

Serraiocco 14

5

1 ( x3 ) ( x3 )

+

2 ( x 3 )2+ 5 x

2

5

2

f ( c2 ) =

1

( ( x3 )4 +2 ( x3 )34 ( x3 ) +5 ) dx

31 3

f ( c2 ) =

1 ( 53 ) ( 53 )

1 ( 33 ) ( 33 )

2

2

+

2 ( 53 ) +55

+

2 ( 33 ) +53

2

5

2

2

5

2

) (

1

f ( c2 ) = ( ( 31.4 ) (15 ) )

2

f ( c2 ) =

f ( c2 ) =8.2

The graph below shows the function as well as the two rectangles that were

used to calculate the definite integral.

Using the MVT, the area of the definite integral can be calculated using the

previously found c values.

Serraiocco 15

A= x( f ( c 1 ) +f ( c2 ) )

A= (2 )( 8.2+8.2 )

A=216.4

This means that the actual area under the curve is 32.8 square units. When all

methods were considered, the left Riemann sum actually produced a more accurate

answer than that of Trapezoid rule. This can be attributed to the curvature of the

function which allowed the left approximation to overestimate and then underestimate.

Problem: The volume of a spherical hot air balloon expands as the air inside the

balloon is heated. The radius of the balloon, in feet, is modeled by a twice-differentiable

function r of time t, where t is measured in seconds. For 0<t<12, the graph is concave

down. The table below gives selected values of the rate of change, r(t), of the radius of

the balloon over the time interval 0 t 12 . The radius of the balloon is 32 feet

when t=7. (The volume of sphere of radius r is given by

t (seconds)

r(t) (ft/sec)

0

5.7

1

4.0

4

2.0

7

1.4

4

V = r3

.)

3

11 12

0.5 0.4

a) Estimate the radius of the balloon when t=7.2 using the tangent line

approximation at t=7. Is your estimate greater than or less than the true value?

Give a reason for your answer.

b) Find the rate of change of the value of the balloon with respect to time when t=7.

Indicate the units of measure.

c) Use a right Riemann Sum with 5 subintervals indicated by the data in the table to

12

approximate

12

r ( t ) dt

'

r ' ( t ) dt

0

12

r ' ( t ) dt

0

? Give a reason.

Serraiocco 16

Solution:

y32=1.4 ( x7 )

a) A:

y32=1.4 ( 7.27 )

y=0.28+ 32

y=32.28 feet

This was accomplished by using r(7) and estimating how much the radius

changed. The slopes in this case are positive but decreasing which means that the

graph of r(t) will be concave down. This means that the method would overestimate the

true radius.

B:

4

V = r3

3

dV 4

r 2dr

= 3

dt 3

dt

dV

r 2dr

=4

dt

dt

dV

2

=4 ( 32 ) ( 1.4 )

dt

dV

=18015.15 cubic feet per minute

dt

In order to solve this, the derivative of the volume equation was taken and

simplified. The known values were then plugged in. This yielded an answer of 18015.15

cubic feet per minute which is the expanding rate of the balloon.

Serraiocco 17

C:

12

0

12

0

The 5 intervals are created by the 6 pairs of points from the table. Since a

right Riemann sum is being used here, the change in x can be calculated by subtracting

the left point, which has a lower t value, from the right point, which has a higher t value.

Then each change in x value was multiplied by its corresponding r(t) value. This

calculates the change of the radius in feet from when t=0 until t=12 minutes.

D: The approximation is less than the actual value of the definite integral. This can be

attributed to the fact that the graph is concave down and the interval provides a

negative slope. When the right bound value is taken, all rectangles fall under the curve

which causes an underestimate.

In todays world, people are always looking for the most efficient ways to

accomplish things. This idea resonates with the evolving methods of calculating the

Serraiocco 18

area under a curve. The human drive to develop new and improved processes span

over all aspects of life.

Works Cited

"Mathwords: Simpson's Rule." Mathwords: Simpson's Rule. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar.

2013.

"Mathwords: Trapezoid Rule." Mathwords: Trapezoid Rule. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar.

2013.

Graphing Calculator." Graphing Calculator- Free Online Tool Graph Functions, Finds

Intersections, Table of Values. Implicit Equations, Pan, Zoom, & Export as

Image.Meta-Calculator, 2010.Web. 18 Mar. 2013.

"Riemann Sums." Desmos Graphing Calculator. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

<https://www.desmos.com/calculator/mlqrvcicgh>.

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