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Math Help - How to find the radius from the surface area of a cylinder?

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    How to find the radius from the surface area of a cylinder?

    Hi. In my math class im learning about volume and surface area of a cylinder. There was one question on my homework that got me stuck.

    How to find the height or radius from the given surface area?

    Is there any formulas for finding it out?

    Appericate the help thx!
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    Quote Originally Posted by so774 View Post
    Hi. In my math class im learning about volume and surface area of a cylinder. There was one question on my homework that got me stuck.

    How to find the height or radius from the given surface area?

    Is there any formulas for finding it out?

    Appericate the help thx!
    A cylinder is two circles at the ends with a rectangular section folded around the centre.

    Therefore surface area is given by A = 4\pi r + 2\pi rh = 2\pi r(2+h) where r is the radius and h is the height of the cylinder. That can then be rearranged depending on whether you want to make r the subject or h the subject:

    r = \frac{A}{2\pi (2+h)}

    h = \frac{A}{2\pi r} - 2
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by e^(i*pi) View Post
    A cylinder is two circles at the ends with a rectangular section folded around the centre.

    Therefore surface area is given by A = 4\pi r + 2\pi rh = 2\pi r(2+h) where r is the radius and h is the height of the cylinder. That can then be rearranged depending on whether you want to make r the subject or h the subject:

    r = \frac{A}{2\pi (2+h)}

    h = \frac{A}{2\pi r} - 2
    Wrong.

    The net of a cylinder is two congruent circles and a rectangle.

    The circles have radius r, so each has A = \pi r^2.

    The rectangle has a width h (the height of the cylinder) and the length is the circumference of the circle. So the length is 2\pi r. So the area of this rectangle is 2\pi r h.


    Thus the Total Surface Area is given by

    TSA = 2\pi r^2 + 2\pi r h = 2\pi r(r + h).


    Now you could rearrange the formula to give the radius or the height. The height is easy, radius is not so easy...

    If TSA = 2\pi r(r + h) then

    \frac{TSA}{2\pi r} = r + h

    h = \frac{TSA}{2\pi r} - r.



    TSA = 2\pi r^2 + 2\pi r h

    0 = 2\pi r^2 + 2\pi rh - TSA

    This is a Quadratic in r, so it is solved using the Quadratic Formula.

    r = \frac{-2\pi h \pm \sqrt{4 \pi^2 h^2 + 8\pi TSA}}{4 \pi}

     = \frac{-2 \pi h \pm 2\sqrt{\pi^2 h^2 + 2\pi TSA}}{4\pi}

     = \frac{-\pi h \pm \sqrt{\pi^2 h^2 + 2\pi TSA}}{2\pi}


    And since it's impossible to have a negative radius, the only solution that makes sense is

    r = \frac{\sqrt{\pi^2 h^2 + 2\pi TSA} - \pi h}{2\pi}.
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