Surface Area and Volume Derivative
Date: 10/30/2000 at 23:58:36 From: Mike Subject: Derivatives of volume equations Hi. I needed to find the equations for volumes of a sphere, cone, ellipsoid and cylinder. Then I needed to take the first derivative of these equations. I have the equations for volume, and I got the first derivative for the volume equation of a sphere is 4*pi*r^2, which is the surface area. I was wondering if the derivatives of the other three volume equations are also the surface area equations. What would be the first derivative of these volumes? Cone: V = 1/3*pi*r^2*h Ellipsoid: V = 4/3*pi*a*b*c Cylinder: V = pi*r^2*h Thank you.
Date: 10/31/2000 at 08:48:15 From: Doctor Peterson Subject: Re: Derivatives of volume equations Hi, Mike. Yes, this is true in many cases, but you have to be careful. I wrote about this (for students who haven't seen calculus yet) here: Area, Surface Area, and Volume: How to Tell One Formula from Another http://mathforum.org/dr.math/problems/leslies1.18.99.html The trick in most cases is that there is more than one variable; if you take the derivative with respect to one variable, AND if variation in that variable is perpendicular to the surface, you get the area of the surface generated. For example, if you differentiate the volume of a cylinder with respect to the radius, you are looking at the rate of change in volume when you expand the cylinder radially, as if by painting the lateral surface. The volume of paint, for a thin layer, is the surface area times the thickness; so the derivative will in fact be the area of this lateral surface (the volume of paint divided by the thickness.) If, on the other hand, you differentiate with respect to the height, you are increasing the height by "painting" one end surface, and the derivative will be the area of that circle (NOT both ends). The cone and ellipsoid are different, because in these cases adding a delta to r, h, a, b, or c doesn't add an even "coat of paint" to the shape, so you won't get the surface area. You may want to consider whether there is a way to change r and h at the same time in a cone in order to "paint" it evenly, and so find the surface area; but that's pretty advanced. For the ellipsoid, there isn't even a formula (using standard functions) for the surface area, so I know you won't be able to come up with anything in that case. - Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
Search the Dr. Math Library:
Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.