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Integration by substitution

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In calculus, integration by substitution — popularly called u-substituion or simply the substitution method — is a technique of integration whereby a complicated looking integrand is rewritten into a simpler form by using a change of variables:

\int f\bigl(g(x)\bigr)g'(x)dx=\int f(u)du , where u=g(x) .

In the case of a definite integral,

\int\limits_a^b f\bigl(g(x)\bigr)g'(x)dx=\int\limits_c^d f(u)du , where u=g(x) , c=g(a),\ d=g(b) .

Integration by u-substitution is the inverse operation of the chain rule from differential calculus. It is also the two-dimensional version of using a Jacobian matrix to transform coordinates.


Consider the integral:

\int x(x+3)^7dx

By letting u=x+3 , thus du=dx (since \frac{du}{dx}=1), and observing that x=u-3 , the integral simplifies to

\int x(x+3)^7dx=\int(u-3)u^7du=\int(u^8-3u^7)du

which is easily integrated to obtain:


Note that this integral can also be done using integration by parts, although the final answer may look different because of the different steps involved.

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