We can find the volumes of solids of revolution at least in two ways. We have seen a method that slices up the volume into an infinite amount of washers that added together gives the initial volume. Summing this infinite amount of slices leads to an integral. This is called the washer method. We can also decompose the volume into nested cylindrical shells. Summing up an infinite amount of shells also lead to an integral that is equal to the volume of the solid. This method is the one that we will now see and it is called the method of cylindrical shells.

Basic Learning Objectives

These are the tasks you should be able to perform with reasonable fluency when you arrive at your next class meeting. Important new vocabulary words are indicated in italics.

  • Use the method of cylindrical shells to find volumes of simple solids of revolution, created by rotating simple regions about one of the two axes.

Advanced Learning Objectives

In addition to mastering the basic objectives, here are the tasks you should be able to perform after class, with practice:

  • Use the method of cylindrical shells in various contexts.

  • Decide whether the method of cylindrical shells or the method of washers is more appropriate to compute the volume of a solid of revolution.

To prepare for class

  • Watch the following video (by Brendon Ferullo) which introduces the method of cylindrical shells:

  • If your teacher has assigned one, do the Preview Activity for this section.

  • Watch the following video (by _Yousef Shaheen__) which shows how the sphere can be decomposed into cylindrical shells (first part) or discs (second part):

  • Watch the last half (starting at 4:30) of this video (you already watched the first half for the previous section):


Charles Fortin Avatar Charles Fortin
Gabriel Indurskis Avatar Gabriel Indurskis


Last Updated





Please click here if you find a mistake or broken link/video, or if you have any other suggestions to improve this page!