# How do I find the area between two polar curves?

More specifically above r=6 and below r=4+4cos(θ)

graph of the two curves

PolarPlot[{6, 4 + 4 Cos[t]}, {t, 0, 2 Pi}]

• Area will help you Apr 30 '15 at 17:18
• There are 3 possibilities. Apr 30 '15 at 20:21

 Integrate[Max[0, (4 + 4 Cos[t])^2/2 - 6^2/2 ], {t, -Pi, Pi}]


or

 Integrate[(4 + 4 Cos[t])^2/2 - 6^2/2 , {t, -Pi/3, Pi/3}]


18 Sqrt - 4 Pi

Edit: another approach:

 Area[{r Sin[t], r Cos[t]}, {t, -Pi, Pi}, {r, 6, Max[6, 4 + 4 Cos[t]]}]


or

 Area[CoordinateTransform[ "Polar" -> "Cartesian", {r, t}],
{t, -Pi, Pi}, {r, 6, Max[6, 4 + 4 Cos[t]]}]


2 (9 Sqrt - 2 Pi)

• This is a much better way to do it than mucking about with the Area function (IMHO). Just to elaborate on it a bit: in polar coordinates, the area of a wedge bounded by the function $r(\theta)$ is $\frac{1}{2} \int r^2(\theta) d \theta$. Apr 30 '15 at 20:12
• Plus, it gives on a result (on my machine) in 0.06 seconds, compared to 16.8 seconds for the Area method. A little thought ahead of time results in a speed-up by a factor of over 250. :-) Apr 30 '15 at 20:16

As HyperGroups suggests, we can take advantage of the Area function new in v10.

First, we'll represent the region implicitly. We want:

$$6 < r < 4 + 4\cos\theta \\ 6 < \sqrt{x^2+y^2} < 4 + 4\cos\arctan\frac y x$$

First we'll plot this region to make sure we're correct:

Show[
RegionPlot[6 < Sqrt[x^2 + y^2] < 4 + 4 Cos[ArcTan[x, y]], {x, -8, 8}, {y, -8, 8}]
PolarPlot[{6, 4 + 4 Cos[t]}, {t, 0, 2 Pi}]
] Now we can represent this as an ImplicitRegion:

region = ImplicitRegion[6 < Sqrt[x^2 + y^2] < 4 + 4 Cos[ArcTan[x, y]], {x, y}];


And finally we can compute the area:

area = Area[region];


This takes 20 seconds on my laptop, and produces a pretty nasty expression. In order to simplify it I had to do:

FullSimplify @ ComplexExpand @ ToRadicals @ FullSimplify[area]
(* 18 Sqrt - 4 π *)

• I have 10.1 on OS X and your Area[region] gives the message Area::nmet: Unable to compute the area of region ImplicitRegion[...]. Apr 30 '15 at 19:45
• @StephenLuttrell I get a (long) answer on 10.0.0.0, Windows 8.1 64-bit Apr 30 '15 at 19:47
• @Stephen You can always solve it the "easy" way: Reduce[6 < 4 + 4 Cos[\[Theta]] && -Pi < \[Theta] < Pi, {\[Theta]}] then Integrate[r, {\[Theta], -Pi/3, Pi/3}, {r, 6, 4 + 4 Cos[\[Theta]]}] Apr 30 '15 at 20:04
• On my machine with 10.0.2, 2012rcampion's Area[region] works fine. Apr 30 '15 at 20:09
• @Stephen How about if we define the region parametrically? region = ParametricRegion[{{r Cos[\[Theta]], r Sin[\[Theta]]}, 6 < r < 4 + 4 Cos[\[Theta]]}, {{\[Theta], -Pi, +Pi}, {r, 0, 8}}] works for me Apr 30 '15 at 20:09

We can use any one of the line integrals that by Green's Theorem yield the area:

dA = RandomChoice[{x Dt[y], -y Dt[x], (x Dt[y] - y Dt[x])/2}]
param = {x -> r Cos[θ], y -> r Sin[θ]};
boundary1 = {r -> 6};
boundary2 = {r -> 4 + 4 Cos[θ]};
θ0 = θ /. Solve[{Equal @@ (r /. {boundary1, boundary2}), -Pi < θ <  Pi}, {θ}];
Integrate[dA /. param /. boundary2 /. Dt[θ] -> 1, Flatten[{θ, θ0}]] -
Integrate[dA /. param /. boundary1 /. Dt[θ] -> 1, Flatten[{θ, θ0}]] // Simplify
(*
1/2 (-y Dt[x] + x Dt[y])

18 Sqrt - 4 π
*)


Now this is an interesting bug result (the double integral in polar coordinates):

Integrate[r, {r, θ} ∈ ImplicitRegion[6 <= r <= 4 + 4 Cos[θ], {r, θ}]] As Michael Siefert astutely pointed out, the problem is that the range of θ is assumed to be all reals. Restricting θ to one period of length 2 Pi gives the right answer:

Integrate[r, {r, θ} ∈ ImplicitRegion[6 <= r <= 4 + 4 Cos[θ] && 0 <= θ <= 2 Pi, {r, θ}]]
(*  2 (9 Sqrt - 2 π)  *)

• Not really a bug; Mathematica doesn't "know" that the natural range of $\theta$ is from -π to π without you providing that context. So it gives you an infinite sum of integrals, corresponding to the regions $\theta = [-\pi/3, \pi/3], \theta = [5\pi/3, 7\pi/3], \theta = [11\pi/3, 13\pi/3]$, and so on. May 1 '15 at 13:26
• @MichaelSeifert Ah, I see. I didn't think of that. Thanks. I suppose it's a "smart" answer, in that it could have said it diverges. May 1 '15 at 13:27