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We have already seen how to define a definite integral.

Suppose now that f is integrable on [a,b]. We shall keep a and f fixed, then can define a new function on [a,b] by

Indefinite integral: formula | matematicasVisuales

This is called an indefinite integral.

If f is positive, F(x) is sometimes called an Area function.

Indefinite integral: Area function | matematicasVisuales

We say an indefinite integral rather than the indefinite integral because F also depends on the lower limit a. Different values of a will lead to different functions F. But the difference between two integral functions of the same function is independent of x, they differ only by a constant. [Apostol]

We can see a very similar behavior when we study the antiderivative concept.

If f is positive in an interval, then F (in this case F is area) is increasing.

Indefinite integral: positive function, increasing integral | matematicasVisuales

If f is negative in an interval, then F is decreasing.

Indefinite integral: negative function, decreasing integral | matematicasVisuales

If f(x)=0 then x is a critical point of F.

Indefinite integral: critical points of the integral | matematicasVisuales
Indefinite integral: critical points of the integral | matematicasVisuales

This three relationships between F and f are precisely those enjoyed by a function and its derivative.

We can start studying integrals using simple polynomial functions: linear, quadratic and general polynomial functions.

REFERENCES

Michael Spivak, Calculus, Third Edition, Publish-or-Perish, Inc.
Tom M. Apostol, Calculus, Second Edition, John Willey and Sons, Inc.

MORE LINKS

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If the derivative of F(x) is f(x), then we say that an indefinite integral of f(x) with respect to x is F(x). We also say that F is an antiderivative or a primitive function of f.
Definite integral
The integral concept is associate to the concept of area. We began considering the area limited by the graph of a function and the x-axis between two vertical lines.
Polynomial functions and integral (2): Quadratic functions
To calculate the area under a parabola is more difficult than to calculate the area under a linear function. We show how to approximate this area using rectangles and that the integral function of a polynomial of degree 2 is a polynomial of degree 3.
Polynomial functions and integral (3): Lagrange polynomials (General polynomial functions)
We can see some basic concepts about integration applied to a general polynomial function. Integral functions of polynomial functions are polynomial functions with one degree more than the original function.
The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (1)
The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus tell us that every continuous function has an antiderivative and shows how to construct one using the integral.
The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (2)
The Second Fundamental Theorem of Calculus is a powerful tool for evaluating definite integral (if we know an antiderivative of the function).
Piecewise Linear Functions. Only one piece
As an introduction to Piecewise Linear Functions we study linear functions restricted to an open interval: their graphs are like segments.
Piecewise Constant Functions
A piecewise function is a function that is defined by several subfunctions. If each piece is a constant function then the piecewise function is called Piecewise constant function or Step function.
Continuous Piecewise Linear Functions
A continuous piecewise linear function is defined by several segments or rays connected, without jumps between them.
Archimedes' Method to calculate the area of a parabolic segment
Archimedes show us in 'The Method' how to use the lever law to discover the area of a parabolic segment.
Archimedes and the area of an ellipse: an intuitive approach
In his book 'On Conoids and Spheroids', Archimedes calculated the area of an ellipse. We can see an intuitive approach to Archimedes' ideas.
Archimedes and the area of an ellipse: Demonstration
In his book 'On Conoids and Spheroids', Archimedes calculated the area of an ellipse. It si a good example of a rigorous proof using a double reductio ad absurdum.
Kepler: The Area of a Circle
Kepler used an intuitive infinitesimal approach to calculate the area of a circle.
Kepler: Surface and volume of a sphere
Kepler studied the volume and surface of the sphere. He thought the volume of the sphere as made up of small cones, then he sum all of these cones and get a relation between the surface of a sphere en its volume.
Kepler: The volume of a wine barrel
Kepler was one mathematician who contributed to the origin of integral calculus. He used infinitesimal techniques for calculating areas and volumes.
Kepler: The best proportions for a wine barrel
Studying the volume of a barrel, Kepler solved a problem about maxima in 1615.
Cavalieri: The volume of a sphere
Using Cavalieri's Principle we can calculate the volume of a sphere.
Surprising Cavalieri congruence between a sphere and a tetrahedron
Howard Eves's tetrahedron is Cavalieri congruent with a given sphere. You can see that corresponding sections have the same area. Then the volumen of the sphere is the same as the volume of the tetrahedron. And we know how to calculate this volumen.