I'm doing this long physics problem and I'm having problems with this integral, if someone could please help
int(dx/sqrt((1/a)-(1/x)))
Added in Edit: IGNORE THIS POST !!
Multiply the integrand by: $\displaystyle \displaystyle {{|ax|}\over{|ax|}}}={{|ax|}\over{\sqrt{a^2x^2}}}}$
This gives: $\displaystyle \displaystyle \int{{|ax|}\over{\sqrt{x-a}}}\,dx\,.$
You'll need to decide how the absolute value affects your specific problem.
To evaluate the integral: $\displaystyle \displaystyle a\int{{x}\over{\sqrt{x-a}}}\,dx\,,$ use integration by parts with:
$\displaystyle u = x$ and $\displaystyle \displaystyle dv ={{dx}\over{\sqrt{x-a}}}$
Added in Edit: IGNORE THIS POST !!
Where did you run into this integral? That might make the solution a bit easier to handle. It's doable without WolframAlpha (or some other program), but the solution is very picky and very tedious. On the other hand, it's not too hard to come up with the steps. I'll give you a quick run-down of what to do and give you the link to the details.
First get rid of the complex fractions in the integrand. That gives
$\displaystyle \displaystyle \int \frac{dx}{\sqrt{\frac{1}{a} - \frac{1}{x}}} = \int \sqrt{\frac{ax}{x - a}}~dx$
Now make the substitution x = ay. This gives (after some work)
$\displaystyle \displaystyle \int \sqrt{\frac{ax}{x - a}}~dx = a\sqrt{a} \int \sqrt{\frac{y}{y - 1}}~dy$
This integral looks not too bad, but as I said, it's a picky one. I'll leave the details to WolframAlpha, but it's really not that bad, just tedious.
The procedure is simple enough. First let $\displaystyle \displaystyle u = \frac{y}{y - 1}$. After you've simplified that, then let $\displaystyle s = \sqrt{u}$. That gives:
$\displaystyle \displaystyle \int \sqrt{\frac{y}{y - 1}}~dy = -2 \int \frac{s^2}{(s^2 - 1)^2}~ds$
which you can solve by partial fractions. Now backsubstitute to get
$\displaystyle \displaystyle \int \frac{dx}{\sqrt{\frac{1}{a} - \frac{1}{x}}} = \frac{a\sqrt{a}}{2} \left [ ln \left | \frac{\sqrt{x} + \sqrt{x - a}}{\sqrt{x} - \sqrt{x - a}} \right | + \left ( \frac{\sqrt{x - a}}{\sqrt{x} - \sqrt{x - a}} + \frac{\sqrt{x - a}}{\sqrt{x} + \sqrt{x - a}} \right ) \right ]$
As I said, without the physical problem I can't tell you what form of the solution might be the most useful.
-Dan