5 Integration

5.1 Antiderivatives and Indefinite Integration

Given a function y=f(x), a differential equation is one that incorporates y, x, and the derivatives of y. For instance, a simple differential equation is:


Solving a differential equation amounts to finding a function y that satisfies the given equation. Take a moment and consider that equation; can you find a function y such that y=2x?

Can you find another?

And yet another?

Hopefully one was able to come up with at least one solution: y=x2. “Finding another” may have seemed impossible until one realizes that a function like y=x2+1 also has a derivative of 2x. Once that discovery is made, finding “yet another” is not difficult; the function y=x2+123,456,789 also has a derivative of 2x. The differential equation y=2x has many solutions. This leads us to some definitions.

Definition 5.1.1 Antiderivatives

Let a function f(x) be given. An antiderivative of f(x) is a function F(x) such that F(x)=f(x).

We refer to an antiderivative of f, as opposed to the antiderivative of f, since antiderivatives are not unique. We often use upper-case letters to denote antiderivatives.

Theorem 5.1.1 Antiderivative Forms

Let F(x) and G(x) be antiderivatives of f(x) on an interval. Then there exists a constant C such that

  • Proof

    Suppose that a and b are two distinct points in the interval. Then by applying the Mean Value Theorem to the function G(x)-F(x), there is a point c between a and b so that


    Because this holds for any a and b in the interval, G(b)-F(b) is constant for all possible b. ∎

Given a function f and one of its antiderivatives F, we know all antiderivatives of f have the form F(x)+C for some constant C.

Definition 5.1.2 Indefinite Integrals

The set of all antiderivatives of f(x) is the indefinite integral of f, denoted by


Using Definitions 5.1.1 and 5.1.2, we can say that on an interval


Let’s analyze this indefinite integral notation.

f(x)dx=F(x)+CIntegrand Integration symbol Differential of x One antiderivative Constant of integration

The integration symbol, , is in reality an “elongated S,” representing “take the sum.” We will later see how sums and antiderivatives are related.

The function we want to find an antiderivative of is called the integrand. It contains the differential of the variable we are integrating with respect to. The symbol and the differential dx are not “bookends” with a function sandwiched in between; rather, the symbol means “find all antiderivatives of what follows,” and the function f(x) and dx are multiplied together; the dx does not “just sit there.”

Let’s practice using this notation.

Example 5.1.1 Evaluating indefinite integrals

Evaluate sinxdx.

SolutionWe are asked to find all functions F(x) such that F(x)=sinx. Some thought will lead us to one solution: F(x)=-cosx, because

The indefinite integral of sinx is thus -cosx, plus a constant of integration. So:


A commonly asked question is “What happened to the dx?” The unenlightened response is “Don’t worry about it. It just goes away.” A full understanding includes the following.

margin: Note: Recall from Definition 4.3.1 that dx is any nonzero real number and dy=f(x)dx. Λ

This process of antidifferentiation is really solving a differential question. The integral


presents us with a differential, dy=sinxdx. It is asking: “What is y?” We found lots of solutions, all of the form y=-cosx+C.

Letting dy=sinxdx, rewrite


This is asking: “What functions have a differential of the form dy?” The answer is “Functions of the form y+C, where C is a constant.” What is y? We have lots of choices, all differing by a constant; the simplest choice is y=-cosx.

Understanding all of this is more important later as we try to find antiderivatives of more complicated functions. In this section, we will simply explore the rules of indefinite integration, and one can succeed for now with answering “What happened to the dx?” with “It went away.”

Let’s practice once more before stating integration rules.

Example 5.1.2 Evaluating indefinite integrals

Evaluate (3x2+4x+5)dx.

SolutionWe seek a function F(x) whose derivative is 3x2+4x+5. When taking derivatives, we can consider functions term-by-term, so we can likely do that here.

What functions have a derivative of 3x2? Some thought will lead us to a cubic, specifically x3+C1, where C1 is a constant.

What functions have a derivative of 4x? Here the x term is raised to the first power, so we likely seek a quadratic. Some thought should lead us to 2x2+C2, where C2 is a constant.

Finally, what functions have a derivative of 5? Functions of the form 5x+C3, where C3 is a constant.

Our answer appears to be


We do not need three separate constants of integration; combine them as one constant, giving the final answer of


It is easy to verify our answer; take the derivative of x3+2x3+5x+C and see we indeed get 3x2+4x+5.

This final step of “verifying our answer” is important both practically and theoretically. In general, taking derivatives is easier than finding antiderivatives so checking our work is easy and vital as we learn.

We also see that taking the derivative of our answer returns the function in the integrand. Thus we can say that:


Differentiation “undoes” the work done by antidifferentiation.

Theorem 2.6.1 gave a list of the derivatives of common functions we had learned at that point. We restate part of that list here to stress the relationship between derivatives and antiderivatives. This list will also be useful as a glossary of common antiderivatives as we learn.

Theorem 5.1.2 Derivatives and Antiderivatives

(a) ddx(cf(x))=cf(x) (b) ddx(f(x)±g(x))=   f(x)±g(x) (c) ddx(C)=0 (a) cf(x)dx=cf(x)dx (b) (f(x)±g(x))dx=   f(x)dx±g(x)dx (c) 0dx=C

We highlight a few important points from Theorem 5.1.2:

  • Rule #(a) states cf(x)dx=cf(x)dx. This is the Constant Multiple Rule: we can temporarily ignore constants when finding antiderivatives, just as we did when computing derivatives (i.e., ddx(3x2) is just as easy to compute as ddx(x2)). An example:


    In the last step we can consider the constant as also being multiplied by 5, but “5 times a constant” is still a constant, so we just write “C ”.

  • Rule #(b) is the Sum/Difference Rule: we can split integrals apart when the integrand contains terms that are added/subtracted, as we did in Example 5.1.2. So:

    (3x2+4x+5)dx =3x2dx+4xdx+5dx

    In practice we generally do not write out all these steps, but we demonstrate them here for completeness.

Theorem 5.1.3 Derivatives and Antiderivatives

Common Derivatives (d) ddx(xn)=nxn-1 (e) ddx(ln|x|)=1x (f) ddx(ex)=ex (g) ddx(sinx)=cosx (h) ddx(cosx)=-sinx (i) ddx(tanx)=sec2x (j) ddx(cotx)=-csc2x (k) ddx(secx)=secxtanx (l) ddx(cscx)=-cscxcotx Common Indefinite Integrals (d) xndx=xn+1n+1+C(n-1) (e) 1xdx=ln|x|+C (f) exdx=ex+C (g) cosxdx=sinx+C (h) sinxdx=-cosx+C (i) sec2xdx=tanx+C (j) csc2xdx=-cotx+C (k) secxtanxdx=secx+C (l) cscxcotxdx=-cscx+C

  • Rule #(d) is the Power Rule of indefinite integration. There are two important things to keep in mind:

    1. (a)

      Notice the restriction that n-1. This is important: 1xdx10x0+C”; rather, see Rule #(e).

    2. (b)

      We are presenting antidifferentiation as the “inverse operation” of differentiation. Here is a useful quote to remember:

      “Inverse operations do the opposite things in the opposite order.”

      When taking a derivative using the Power Rule, we first multiply by the power, then second subtract 1 from the power. To find the antiderivative, do the opposite things in the opposite order: first add one to the power, then second divide by the power.

  • Note that Rule #(e) incorporates the absolute value of x. The exercises will work the reader through why this is the case; for now, know the absolute value is important and cannot be ignored.

Initial Value Problems

In Section 2.3 we saw that the derivative of a position function gave a velocity function, and the derivative of a velocity function describes acceleration. We can now go “the other way:” the antiderivative of an acceleration function gives a velocity function, etc. While there is just one derivative of a given function, there are infinite antiderivatives. Therefore we cannot ask “What is the velocity of an object whose acceleration is -32ft/s2?”, since there is more than one answer.

We can find the answer if we provide more information with the question, as done in the following example. Often the additional information comes in the form of an initial value, a value of the function that one knows beforehand.

Example 5.1.3 Solving initial value problems

The acceleration due to gravity of a falling object is -32 ft/s2. At time t=3, a falling object had a velocity of -10 ft/s. Find the equation of the object’s velocity.

SolutionWe want to know a velocity function, v(t). We know two things:

  • The acceleration, i.e., v(t)=-32, and

  • the velocity at a specific time, i.e., v(3)=-10.

Using the first piece of information, we know that v(t) is an antiderivative of v(t)=-32. So we begin by finding the indefinite integral of -32:


Now we use the fact that v(3)=-10 to find C:

v(t) =-32t+C
v(3) =-10
-32(3)+C =-10
C =86

Thus v(t)=-32t+86. We can use this equation to understand the motion of the object: when t=0, the object had a velocity of v(0)=86 ft/s. Since the velocity is positive, the object was moving upward.

When did the object begin moving down? Immediately after v(t)=0:


Recognize that we are able to determine quite a bit about the path of the object knowing just its acceleration and its velocity at a single point in time.

Example 5.1.4 Solving initial value problems

Find f(t), given that f′′(t)=cost, f(0)=3 and f(0)=5.

SolutionWe start by finding f(t), which is an antiderivative of f′′(t):


So f(t)=sint+C for the correct value of C. We are given that f(0)=3, so:


Using the initial value, we have found f(t)=sint+3. We now find f(t) by integrating again.


We are given that f(0)=5, so

-cos0+3(0)+C =5
-1+C =5
C =6

Thus f(t)=-cost+3t+6.

This section introduced antiderivatives and the indefinite integral. We found they are needed when finding a function given information about its derivative(s). For instance, we found a position function given a velocity function.

In the next section, we will see how position and velocity are unexpectedly related by the areas of certain regions on a graph of the velocity function. Then, in Section 5.4, we will see how areas and antiderivatives are closely tied together.

Exercises 5.1


Terms and Concepts

  1. 1.

    Define the term “antiderivative” in your own words.

  2. 2.

    Is it more accurate to refer to “the” antiderivative of f(x) or “an” antiderivative of f(x)?

  3. 3.

    Use your own words to define the indefinite integral of f(x).

  4. 4.

    Fill in the blanks: “Inverse operations do the              things in the              order.”

  5. 5.

    What is an “initial value problem”?

  6. 6.

    The derivative of a position function is a              function.

  7. 7.

    The antiderivative of an acceleration function is a              function.

  8. 8.

    If F(x) is an antiderivative of f(x), and G(x) is an antiderivative of g(x), give an antiderivative of f(x)+g(x).


In Exercises 9–42., evaluate the given indefinite integral.

  1. 9.


  2. 10.


  3. 11.


  4. 12.


  5. 13.


  6. 14.


  7. 15.


  8. 16.


  9. 17.


  10. 18.


  11. 19.


  12. 20.


  13. 21.


  14. 22.


  15. 23.


  16. 24.


  17. 25.


  18. 26.


  19. 27.


  20. 28.


  21. 29.


  22. 30.


  23. 31.


  24. 32.


  25. 33.


  26. 34.


  27. 35.


  28. 36.


  29. 37.


  30. 38.


  31. 39.


  32. 40.


  33. 41.


  34. 42.


In Exercises 43–52., find f(x) described by the given initial value problem.

  1. 43.

    f(x)=sinx and f(0)=2

  2. 44.

    f(x)=5ex and f(0)=10

  3. 45.

    f(x)=4x3-3x2 and f(-1)=9

  4. 46.

    f(x)=sec2x and f(π/4)=5

  5. 47.

    f′′(x)=7x and f(1)=-1, f(1)=10

  6. 48.

    f′′(x)=5ex and f(0)=3, f(0)=5

  7. 49.

    f′′(θ)=sinθ and f(π)=2, f(π)=4

  8. 50.

    f′′(x)=0 and f(1)=3, f(1)=1

  9. 51.

    f(x)=-2x3 and f(1)=2

  10. 52.

    f(x)=1x and f(4)=0

  1. 53.
    This problem investigates why Theorem 5.1.2 states that 1xdx=ln|x|+C. (a) What is the domain of y=lnx? (b) Find ddx(lnx). (c) What is the domain of y=ln(-x)? (d) Find ddx(ln(-x)). (e) You should find that 1/x has two types of antiderivatives, depending on whether x>0 or x<0. In one expression, give a formula for 1xdx that takes these different domains into account, and explain your answer.
  2. 54.

    An object is moving so that its velocity at time t is given by v(t)=3t. If the object was at the origin at time t=0, find it’s position s(t) at time t.

  3. 55.

    A nickel dropped from the top of the North Dakota State Capital Building has acceleration a(t)=-32 ft/sec2 (ignoring air resistance), initial velocity v(0)=0, and initial height s(0)=241.67 ft. How long will it take the nickel to hit the ground?

  4. 56.

    Given the graph of f below, sketch the graph of the antiderivative F of f that passes through the origin. What do the graphs of the other antiderivatives of f look like?

  5. 57.

    Given the graph of f below, sketch the graph of the antiderivative F of f that passes through the origin. What do the graphs of the other antiderivatives of f look like?



  1. 58.

    Use information gained from the first and second derivatives to sketch f(x)=1ex+1.

  2. 59.

    Given y=x2excosx, find dy.

Omni CMS