Basics of Integration in Calculus: Definition, Techniques, & Examples

Integration is a core dimensional concept in mathematics that plays a key role in several fields, including calculus, physics, engineering, economics, etc. It involves understanding and manipulating functions to find their antiderivatives, which helps us calculate areas under curves, solve differential equations, and analyze real-world phenomena. 

Integration, also known as finding the integral of a function, is the reverse process of differentiation. While differentiation focuses on finding the rate of change of a function, integration deals with finding the accumulation of quantities over an interval. It provides a method to calculate areas, volumes, and other quantities that can be represented using functions.

There are some cases where integration and differentiation are used together. Often in solving differential equations where differentiation helps find rates of change, and integration helps find the original functions.

In this article, we will delve into the world of integration, exploring its introduction, definition, and techniques to solve integrals of functions and conclude with a deeper understanding of its significance with examples.

What are integrals?

An integral of a function is essentially the reverse of a derivative. Given a function's derivative, finding its antiderivative involves seeking the original function that, when differentiated, would yield the given derivative. Symbolically,

If G'(x) = g(x), then G(x) is the antiderivative of g(x).

  • The Indefinite Integral: The indefinite integral, often denoted as ∫ f(x) dx, represents a family of functions whose derivatives yield f(x). It doesn't have specific limits of integration and includes an arbitrary constant (C) due to the many possible antiderivatives of a given function.

  • The Definite Integral: The definite integral, symbolized as ∫[a, b] f(x) dx, calculates the signed area between the function f(x) and the x-axis over the interval [a, b]. It provides a real number as the result and represents the net accumulation of quantities over the interval.

Techniques for Solving Integrals:

Its techniques, like substitution and integration by parts, offer powerful tools for solving complex integrals. By understanding integration, we unlock a deeper comprehension of the mathematical world around us.

Substitution Method:

The Substitution Method, also known as the U-Substitution Method or Variable Substitution, is a technique used to solve definite and indefinite integrals that involve a composition of functions. This method is particularly useful when you encounter integrals that are not immediately recognizable in terms of basic functions.

Here's how the Substitution Method works:

Choose a Suitable Substitute:

Start by selecting a substitution for a part of the integrand. You want to pick a substitution that simplifies the expression or transforms it into a more recognizable form.

Calculate the Differential:

Calculate the differential of the chosen substitution. This means finding the derivative of the substituted variable with respect to the original variable.

Perform the Substitution:

Substitute the chosen variable and its differential into the integral, effectively changing the variable of integration.

Evaluate and Simplify:

Simplify the integral using the new variable and differential. This often leads to an integral that is easier to solve.

Reverse the Substitution:

Finally, reverse the substitution by expressing the result in terms of the original variable. If you're dealing with a definite integral, make sure to adjust the limits of integration accordingly.

Here's an example of using the Substitution Method to solve the integral ∫(x^2 + 1)(x^3 + 1) dx:

  • Choose the substitution: Let u = x^3 + 1.

  • Calculate the differential: du = 3x^2 dx.

  • Perform the substitution: Rewrite the integral in terms of u and du. ∫(x^2 + 1)(x^3 + 1) dx = ∫u du.

  • Evaluate and simplify: ∫u du = u^2 / 2 + C.

  • Reverse the substitution: Replace u with x^3 + 1: (x^3 + 1)^2 / 2 + C.

Integration by Parts:

Integration by Parts is a technique used to evaluate the integral of a product of two functions. It's derived from the product rule for differentiation and can be quite helpful when dealing with integrals that can't be easily solved using other methods. The formula for Integration by Parts is derived from the product rule of differentiation:

∫ u dv = uv - ∫ v du

Here's how the Integration by Parts method works:

Choose u and dv:

Start by choosing two functions, u and dv, from the original integral. Typically, u is chosen in a way that its derivative is easy to compute, and dv is chosen as the remaining part of the integrand.

Calculate du and v:

Differentiate u to find du, and integrate dv to find v. This step requires some algebraic manipulation.

Apply the Integration by Parts Formula:

Use the formula ∫ u dv = uv - ∫ v du to rewrite the original integral in terms of u, v, and their derivatives.

Evaluate the Resulting Integrals:

Evaluate the two integrals on the right-hand side of the formula. Sometimes, these integrals are easier to solve than the original integral.

Simplify and Solve:

Simplify the expression obtained after evaluating the integrals, and solve for the original integral if possible.

Here's an example of using the Integration by Parts method to solve ∫x * cos(x) dx:

  • Choose u and dv: u = x (derivative is du = dx), dv = cos(x) dx (integral is v = sin(x)).

  • Calculate du and v: du = dx, v = sin(x).

  • Apply the formula: ∫x * cos(x) dx = x * sin(x) - ∫sin(x) dx.

  • Evaluate the resulting integrals: ∫sin(x) dx = -cos(x).

  • Simplify and solve: x * sin(x) + cos(x) + C, where C is the constant of integration.

To solve the problems of integral calculus according to the above methods, you can take assistance form an online integral calculator offered by Meracalculator.

Examples of Integration

Example 1:

Evaluate the integral by parts for the functions u(x) = x2 and v(x) = sin x.


Step 1: Given defined functions

u = x2 and v = sin x

Step 2: Let

I = x2 sin x dx

Step 3: Integrating by parts and simplifying.

I = x2 (-cos x) - (-cos x) . 2x dx

I = - x2 cos x + 2 x cos x dx

Again integrating by parts

I = - x2 cos x + 2 (x sin x – sin x (1) dx)

I = - x2 cos x + 2x sin x – 2 (-cos x) + c

I = - x2 cos x + 2x sin x + 2 cos x + c Ans.

Example 2:

Evaluate the integral for the given function [(x + b) / (x2 + 2bx + c)1/2]


Step 1: Given data

Given function = [(x + b) / (x2 + 2bx + c)1/2]

Step 2: Let

I = [(x + b) / (x2 + 2bx + c)1/2]

Step 3: Simplifying

Put t = x2 + 2bx + c

=> dt = (2x + 2b) dx

=> dt = 2(x + b) dx

=> ½ dt = (x +b) dx


I = (½ dt / t1/2) = 1/2 t-1/2 dt

I = 1/2 . (t1/2 + 1) / (- 1/2 + 1) + c1

I = ½ . (t1/2/ ½ ) + c1

I = x2 + 2bx + c)1/2 + c1

I = √(x2 + 2bx + c) + c1 Ans.

Example 3:

Find ∫(8t4 + 5t2 + 4) dt.


Step 1: Given data:

∫(8t4 + 6t2 + 9) dt

Step 2: Apply integral rules and simplify.

∫(8t4 + 6t2 + 9) dt = ∫8t4 dt + ∫6t2 dt + ∫9dt (Apply the sum rule)

∫(8t4 + 6t2 + 9) dt = 8∫t4 dt + 6∫t2 dt + 9∫dt (Apply constant multiple rule)

∫(8t4 + 6t2 + 9) dt = 8 (1/4+1)t4+1) + 6 (1/2+1)t2+ 1) + 9t + C (Power and Constant rule)

∫(8t4 + 6t2 + 9) dt = (8/5)t5 + (6/3)t3 + 9t + C

∫(8t4 + 6t2 + 9) dt = 8/5t5 + 2t3 + 9t + C Ans.


In conclusion, integration is a cornerstone of mathematics with wide-ranging applications. In this article, we have addressed the core mathematical concept of integration. We have elaborated on its definition and significant techniques that are useful for the computation of the integral of the functions. We also solved some examples to apprehend the calculations for the integrals of the functions.


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