# Introduction to Integration

Integration is a way of adding slices to find the whole.

Integration can be used to find areas, volumes, central points and many useful things. But it is easiest to start with finding the

**area under the curve of a function**like this:What is the area under

**y = f(x)**?

## Slices

We could calculate the function at a few points and
add up slices of width like this (but the answer won't be very accurate):Î”x | ||

We can make
Î”x a lot smaller and add up many small slices (answer is getting better): | ||

And as the slices
approach zero in width, the answer approaches the true answer.
We now write
dx to mean the Î”x slices are approaching zero in width. |

## That is a lot of adding up!

But we don't have to add them up, as there is a "shortcut". Because ...

... finding an Integral is the

**reverse**of finding a Derivative.
(So you should really know about Derivatives before reading more!)

Like here:

You will see more examples later.

## Notation

The symbol for "Integral" is a stylish "S"
(for "Sum", the idea of summing slices): |

After the Integral Symbol we put the function we want to find the integral of (called the Integrand),

and then finish with

**dx**to mean the slices go in the x direction (and approach zero in width).
And here is how we write the answer:

## Plus C

We wrote the answer as x

^{2}but why + C ?
It is the "Constant of Integration". It is there because of

**all the functions whose derivative is 2x**:
The derivative of

**x**is^{2}+4**2x**, and the derivative of**x**is also^{2}+99**2x**, and so on! Because the derivative of a constant is zero.
So when we

**reverse**the operation (to find the integral) we only know**2x**, but there could have been a constant of any value.
So we wrap up the idea by just writing + C at the end.

## Tap and Tank

Integration is like filling a tank from a tap.

The input (before integration) is the

**flow rate**from the tap.
Integrating the flow (adding up all the little bits of water) gives us the

**volume of water**in the tank.
Imagine the flow starts at 0 and gradually increases (maybe a motor is slowly opening the tap).

As the flow rate increases, the tank fills up faster and faster.

With a flow rate of

**2x**, the tank fills up at**x**.^{2}
We have integrated the flow to get the volume.

We can do the reverse, too:

Imagine you don't know the flow rate.

You only know the volume is increasing by

You only know the volume is increasing by

**x**.^{2}
We can go in reverse (using the derivative, which gives us the slope) and find that the flow rate is

**2x**.
So Integral and Derivative
are opposites. |

We can write that down this way:

The integral of the flow rate
2x tells us the volume of water: | ∫2x dx = x^{2} + C | |

And the slope of the volume increase
x gives us back the flow rate:^{2}+C | (x^{2} + C) = 2x |

And hey, we even get a nice explanation of that "C" value ... maybe the tank already has water in it!

- The flow still increases the volume by the same amount
- And the increase in volume can give us back the flow rate.

Which teaches us to always add "+ C".

## Other functions

Well, we have played with

**y=2x**enough now, so how do we integrate other functions?
If we are lucky enough to find the function on the

**result**side of a derivative, then (knowing that derivatives and integrals are opposites) we have an answer. But remember to add C.
But a lot of this "reversing" has already been done (see Rules of Integration).

Knowing how to use those rules is the key to being good at Integration.

So get to know those rules and

**get lots of practice**.**Learn the Rules of Integration and Practice! Practice! Practice!**

(there are some questions below)

## Definite vs Indefinite Integrals

We have been doing

**Indefinite Integrals**so far.
A

**Definite Integral**has actual values to calculate between (they are put at the bottom and top of the "S"):Indefinite Integral | Definite Integral |

Read Definite Integrals to learn more.