David Little
Mathematics Department
Penn State University
Eberly College of Science
University Park, PA 16802
Office: 403 McAllister
Phone: (814) 865-3329
Fax: (814) 865-3735

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The Length of a Curve

The following applet can be used to approximate the length of a curve y=f(x) for a ≤ x ≤ b. Simply enter the function f(x) and the values a, b and 0 ≤ n ≤ 10,000, the number of line segments used to approximate the length of the curve.

The values a and b can be changed by simply typing a new value, such as "1.2345", "pi/2", "sqrt(5)+cos(3)", etc. You may also change these values by using the up/down arrow keys or dragging the corresponding point left or right. To move the center of the graph, simply drag any point to a new location. To label the x-axis in radians (i.e. multiples of pi), click on the graph and press "control-r". To switch back, simply press "control-r" again.

Here is a list of functions that can be used with this applet.

Use the above applet to approximate:

  • π (arc length of the upper half of a circle of radius 1)

© 2005 David P. Little
Download this applet for off-line viewing (includes source code). The above applet uses the Java Math Expression Parser (JEP) developed by Singular Systems