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Greens Theorem Calculus III (MATH

2203)
S. F. Ellermeyer
November 2, 2013

Greens Theorem gives an equality between the line integral of a vector


field (either a flow integral or a flux integral) around a simple closed curve,
, and the double integral of a function over the region, , enclosed by the
curve. A simple closed curve is a loop which does not intersect itself (as
pictured below).

Theorem 1 (Greens Theorem) Suppose that is a simple closed piece-


wise smooth curve in 2 and that is the region enclosed by . Suppose

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also that is oriented counterclockwise meaning that is parameterized
in such a way that it is traced out counterclockwise by the parameterization.
Also suppose that
F ( ) = ( ) i + ( ) j
is a vector field such that and have continuous first order partial deriv-
atives throughout and on its boundary curve, . Then
Z ZZ

F r = .

Example 2 Let be the unit circle oriented counterclockwise and let


F ( ) = i + j.
We will verify that Greens Theorem holds in this case.
First we will compute the flow of F around the boundary of (oriented
counterclockwise). To do this we parameterize in the usual way by
r () = cos () i + sin () j
0 2.
Thus
r0 () = sin () i + cos () j
and
F ( () ()) = sin () i + cos () j.
This gives Z Z 2 2
F r = sin () + cos2 () = 2.
0
Next we will compute the double integral on the right hand side of Greens
Theorem using = and = . We obtain
ZZ ZZ

= (1 (1)


ZZ
=2 1

= 2 (Area of the unit circle)
= 2.

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This shows that
Z ZZ

F r = = 2.

Remark 3 We can also write the conclusion of Greens Theorem as


Z ZZ

( + ) =

and this form is sometimes more convenient to use (as in the following ex-
ample).

Example 4 Let be the triangle with vertices at (0 0), (1 0), and (1 1)


oriented counterclockwise and let

F ( ) = i + j.

We will verify that Greens Theorem holds here.

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To compute the line integral, we note that = 1 and = . The
curve (broken down into three pieces) is pictured. On 1 we have

= =0
= = 0

which gives us Z Z 1
( + ) = 1 = 1.
1 0

On 2 we have
=1 =
= 0 =
which gives us
Z Z 1
1
( + ) = (1) () = .
2 0 2

On 3 we have
= =
= =
which gives us
Z Z
( + ) = (1 + )
3
Z 03

= 1 + 2
1
0
1 3
= +
3
1
1
= 0 1 +
3
2
= .
3
We conclude that
Z
1 2 1
( + ) = 1 + + = .
2 3 6

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Next we evaluate the double integral and see that we get the same result:
ZZ Z 1Z

= ( 0)
0 0

Z 1
1 2
=
0 2 0
Z 1
1 2
=
0 2
1
= .
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Below is a picture of the triangle shown together with the vector field F ( ) =
i + j.

Example 5 As another example, we use Greens Theorem to evaluate


Z
3
3

where is the positivelyoriented circle of radius 2.

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Note that the region is the interior of the disk of radius 2 centered at the
origin and that the functions = 3 and = 3 have partial derivatives
that are continuous on . By Greens Theorem,
Z ZZ
3 3

=

ZZ

= 32 3 2

ZZ
2
= 3 + 2 .

In order to evaluate this double integral, it will be convenient to use polar


coordinates.
ZZ Z 2 Z 2
2 2

3 + = 3 2
0 0

Z =2
2
1 4
= 3
0 4 =0
Z 2
= 3 4
0
= 24.

Therefore Z
3
3 = 24.

Exercise 6 For as given in the previous example, show directly (without


using Greens Theorem) that
Z
3
3 = 24.

You will see that it is easier to use Greens Theorem than to evaluate the line
integral directly.

Example 7 In this example we will evaluate the flux integral of

F ( ) = 2 i + 2 j

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around the (pictured) positively oriented curve that consists of the upper half
of the circle of radius 2 centered at the origin followed by the line segment
connecting the point (2 0) to the point (2 0).

Since we are computing the flux of F across , then the line integral we
want to compute is Z
2
2 .

This problem was given on Practice Exam 7. We can do it directly but it
is easier to use Greens Theorem and evaluate the double integral instead.
Notice that since this is a flux integral of F, we need to be careful to apply
Greens Theorem correctly. In particular we first rewrite the line integral we
want to compute as
Z Z
2 2
2
= + 2

so, in applying Greens Theorem, we need to take = 2 and = 2 . We

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obtain
Z ZZ
2
+ 2 =

ZZ
= (2 + 2)

Z Z 2
=2 ( cos () + sin ())
0 0
Z Z 2
=2 2 (cos () + sin ())
0 0
Z 2 Z
2
=2 (cos () + sin ())
0 0

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=2 (sin () cos ())|=
=0
3
16
= ((0 (1)) (0 1))
3
32
= .
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Remark 8 The preceding example suggests how we can write Greens The-
orem in another form. The originally stated form of the theorem, called the
flow form, is
Z Z ZZ

F r = ( + ) = .

For a flux integral, we have


Z Z Z
F n = ( ) = ( + )

and Greens Theorem, written in flux form, is thus


Z Z ZZ
()
F n = ( + ) =


or Z Z ZZ

F n = ( ) = + .

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1 Application (Finding Area Using Greens
Theorem)
We know that if 2 , then
ZZ
Area of = 1 .

If we take and to be the functions


1
( ) =
2
1
( ) = ,
2
then
1
=
2
1
= .
2
Thus ZZ

Area of =


and by Greens Theorem
Z Z
1
Area of = ( + ) = ( )
2

where is the boundary curve of . This remarkable formula allows us


to compute the area of a region using a line integral rather than a double
integral.

Example 9 We will use the formula


Z
1
Area of = ( )
2

to compute the area of the ellipse


2 2
+ 2 = 1.
2
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To do this first note that the positivelyoriented boundary of the ellipse is
the curve given by

r () = () i + () j = cos () i + sin () j
0 2.

For this curve we have



r () = i + j = sin () i + cos () j.

The area of the ellipse is thus
Z
1
Area of = ( )
2
Z
1 2
= () ()
2 0
Z
1 2
= ( cos () cos () sin () ( sin ()))
2 0
Z 2
1
= 1
2 0
= .

Example 10 Suppose that we have a polygon with vertices at the points


(0 0 ), (1 1 ), (2 2 ),. . . ,( ) where ( ) = (0 0 ) as pictured.

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The area of the region, , enclosed by the polygon is
Z
1
Area of = ( )
2
where is the union of the line segments that make up the sides of . Thus
Z
1X
Area of = ( ) .
2 =1
R
In order to compute 1 ( ), we note that 1 is the line segment
joining the point (0 0 ) to the point (1 1 ). We can parameterize this
segment as
= 0 + (1 0 )
= 0 + (1 0 )
01
and thus

= 1 0


= 1 0 .

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This gives us
Z Z 1

( ) = () ()
1 0
Z 1
= ((0 + (1 0 ) ) (1 0 ) (0 + (1 0 ) ) (1 0 ))
0
Z 1
= (0 (1 0 ) 0 (1 0 ))
0
Z 1
= (0 1 1 0 )
0
= 0 1 1 0 .

By similar reasoning we obtain


Z
( ) = 1 1

for all = 1 2 . Therefore

1X

Area of = (1 1 ) .
2 =1

This formula allows us to compute the area of the region enclosed by a polygon
using only the coordinates of the vertices of the polygon.

Example 11 Let us find the area of the region enclosed by the polygon pic-
tured here.

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Using the formula derived in the previous example we obtain

1X
5
Area of = (1 1 )
2 =1
1
= [(0) (0) (1) (0)
2
+ (1) (4) (3) (0)
+ (3) (4) (4) (4)
+ (4) (6) (3) (4)
+ (3) (0) (0) (6)]
1
= [0 + 4 4 + 12 + 0]
2
= 6.

Exercise 12 Find the area of the region enclosed by the polygon pictured
here.

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2 Proof of Greens Theorem
Rather than prove Greens Theorem in its greatest generality, we will just
prove the theorem in the special case that is the positivelyoriented circle
of radius 0 centered at some point ( ) and the vector field

F ( ) = ( ) i + ( ) j

is such that and have continuous first partial derivatives on and in


the enclosed region . We will actually prove that
Z ZZ

=

and Z ZZ

= .

Adding these two equations together then gives Greens Theorem.


To prove the first fact, we note that the circle, , has equation

( )2 + ( )2 = 2 .

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The upper half of the circle has equation
q
= + 2 ( )2

and the lower half of the circle has equation


q
= 2 ( )2 .

Therefore
Z Z q Z q
2 2 2 2
= + ( ) + ( )

Z q q
2 2
= 2 ( ) + 2 ( )

and
ZZ Z Z +2 ()2

=
2 ()2

Z q q
2 2 2 2
= + ( ) ( )

Z q q
2 2
= 2 ( ) + 2 ( ) .

This shows that Z ZZ



=

as promised.
To prove the second fact, we note that the right half of the circle has
equation q
= + 2 ( )2
and the left half of the circle has equation
q
= 2 ( )2 .

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Therefore
Z Z q Z q
2 2 2 2
= + ( ) + ( )

Z q q
2 2 2 2
= + ( ) ( )

and
ZZ Z Z
+ 2 ()2

=
2 ()2

Z q q
2 2 2 2
= + ( ) ( )

This shows that Z ZZ



= .

We conclude that
Z ZZ

( + ) = .

Although the above proof only proves Greens Theorem in a special case, it
hints at the general idea of the proof.

Exercise 13 Prove Greens Theorem in the special case that is the rec-
tangle = [ ] [ ].

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