Home » Maths » Integration of irrational functions

# Integration of irrational functions

## Introduction

The integration of irrational functions, which involves incorporating radicals (or root functions) into the integrand, is a challenging yet intriguing area of calculus. These functions often contain variables under a square root or higher-order roots, such as $\sqrt{x}$, $\sqrt[3]{x^2 + 1}$, and similar forms. This article delves into the methods and applications of integrating these complex functions.

## Understanding Irrational Functions

Irrational functions are characterized by the presence of a variable within a radical. They are not irrational numbers per se, but their name stems from the presence of the radical, or irrational, component. These functions can be particularly challenging to integrate due to their non-polynomial nature.

## Integration Techniques

Several strategies are employed to integrate irrational functions:

(1) Trigonometric Substitution:

(A) This is often used when the integrand involves expressions like $\sqrt{a^2 – x^2}$, $\sqrt{a^2 + x^2}$, or $\sqrt{x^2 – a^2}$. By substituting x with a trigonometric function, the integral is transformed into a more manageable form.

$\int \sqrt {a^2 – x^2} dx = \frac {1}{2} x \sqrt {a^2 – x^2} + \frac {1}{2} a^2 \sin^{-1} \frac {x}{a} + C$

$\int \sqrt {a^2 + x^2} dx = \frac {1}{2} x \sqrt {a^2 + x^2} + \frac {1}{2} a^2 ln |x +\sqrt {a^2 + x^2}| + C$

$\int \sqrt {x^2 -a ^2} dx = \frac {1}{2} x \sqrt {x^2 – a^2} – \frac {1}{2} a^2 ln |x +\sqrt {x^2 – a^2}| + C$

The above formula can be to use to integrate the below type of function

$\int \sqrt {ax^2 + bx + c} dx$

We can convert $ax^2 + bx + c$ into above using square method

Example

$$\int \sqrt { 3 -2x-x^2} \, dx$$
Solution
The above integral can be written as
$$\int \sqrt { 3 -2x-x^2} \, dx$$
=$$\int \sqrt {4 -(x+1)^2} \, dx$$
Now y=x+1
dy=dx
Therefore
$=\int \sqrt {4 -y^2} \, dy$
No we can use the below formula here with a=2
$\int \sqrt {a^2 – x^2} dx = \frac {1}{2} x \sqrt {a^2 – x^2} + \frac {1}{2} a^2 \sin^{-1} \frac {x}{a} + C$
So
$=\frac {1}{2} y \sqrt {4 – y^2} + 2 \sin^{-1} \frac {y}{2} + C$

Substituting back the value
$=\frac {1}{2} (x+1) \sqrt { 3 -2x-x^2} + 2 \sin^{-1} \frac {x+1}{2} + C$

(B)This is also used when the integrand involves expressions like $\frac {1}{\sqrt{a^2 – x^2}}$, $\frac {1}{\sqrt{a^2 + x^2}}$, or $\frac {1}{\sqrt{x^2 – a^2}}$. By substituting x with a trigonometric function, the integral is transformed into a more manageable form.

$\int \frac {1}{\sqrt {a^2 – x^2}} dx = \sin ^{-1} (\frac {x}{a}) + C$

$\int \frac {1}{\sqrt {a^2 + x^2}} dx = ln |x + \sqrt {a^2 + x^2}| + C$

$\int \frac {1}{\sqrt {x^2 – a^2}} dx = ln |x + \sqrt {x^2 – a^2}| + C$

The above formula can be to use to integrate the below type of function

$\int \frac {1}{\sqrt {ax^2 + bx + c} } dx$

We can convert $ax^2 + bx + c$ into above using square method

(2) Integration using substitution: we can solve many irrational integrals using this technique. you would typically need to use a substitution to simplify the integral

Example
$$\int \sqrt[3]{4x + 2} \, dx$$

Solution
Choose a substitution that simplifies the integrand. Let $u = 4x + 2$. Then, $du = 4 \, dx$ or $dx = \frac{du}{4}$.
Substitute $u$ and $dx$ into the integral:
$$\int \sqrt[3]{u} \cdot \frac{du}{4}$$
Then
$$\frac{1}{4} \int u^{\frac{1}{3}} \, du$$
Now integrate with respect to $u$:
$$\frac{1}{4} \cdot \frac{3}{4} u^{\frac{4}{3}} + C$$
Here, $C$ is the constant of integration.
Substitute back for $u$ to get the final answer:
$$\frac{3}{16} (4x + 2)^{\frac{4}{3}} + C$$

(3)Partial Fractions: If the irrational function can be expressed as a rational function, then the method of partial fractions can be used to decompose the function into simpler parts.

Let’s solve the integral $\int \frac{1}{\sqrt{x}(\sqrt{x} + 1)} \, dx$ step by step, including the partial fraction decomposition:

Rewrite the Integral with Substitution:
Let $u = \sqrt{x}$, then $x = u^2$ and $dx = 2u \, du$. The integral becomes:
$$\int \frac{2u}{u(u + 1)} \, du$$

Apply Partial Fractions:
Now, express $\frac{2u}{u(u + 1)}$ using partial fractions:
$$\frac{2u}{u(u + 1)} = \frac{A}{u} + \frac{B}{u + 1}$$
Multiply through by $u(u + 1)$ to find $A$ and $B$:
$$2u = A(u + 1) + Bu$$

Solve for $A$ and $B$:

• Let $u = 0$: $0 = A(0 + 1)$ So $A = 0$.
• Let $u = -1$: $-2 = B(-1)$ so, $B = 2$.
Therefore, the partial fractions decomposition is:
$$\frac{2u}{u(u + 1)} = \frac{2}{u + 1}$$

Integrate Each Term:
Now, integrate the partial fraction:
$$\int \frac{2}{u + 1} \, du$$

Perform the Integration:
The integration is straightforward:
$$\int \frac{2}{u + 1} \, du = 2 \ln|u + 1| + C$$
Where $C$ is the constant of integration.

Back Substitution:
Substitute back $u = \sqrt{x}$ to get the final answer:
$$2 \ln|\sqrt{x} + 1| + C$$

So, the integral $\int \frac{1}{\sqrt{x}(\sqrt{x} + 1)} \, dx$ evaluates to $2 \ln|\sqrt{x} + 1| + C$.

(3)Integration combining using integration using substitution and partial fraction
Example

$\int \frac {px + q}{\sqrt{ax^2 + bx + c}} dx$
Here we can decompose this integral using the below formula
$px+q = A \frac {d}{dx} (ax^2 + bx + c) + B$
Then integral is converted as
$=A \int \frac {\frac {d}{dx} (ax^2 + bx + c)} {\sqrt {ax^2 + bx + c}} dx + B \int \frac {1}{\sqrt {ax^2 + bx + c}} dx$

The first integral is of the form
$\int \frac {f'(x)}{f(x)^{1/2}} dx$ which can be easily evaluated
The second integral is of the form of problem type II
$\int \frac {1}{\sqrt {ax^2 + bx + c}} dx$ which can be easily evaluated

The integration of irrational functions is a cornerstone of advanced calculus, representing a blend of analytical and numerical techniques. Its study not only advances our understanding of calculus but also provides tools essential for tackling real-world problems in science, engineering, and beyond. As one delves deeper into this topic, the elegance and utility of calculus in managing even the most complex of functions become increasingly apparent.