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What math process is indicated by a symbol of an integral with a circle drawn at near the center of the integral symbol? Answered

I believe that this is has something to do with physics, possibly calculations pertaining to WORK. I know what an integral is but I am not sure what this is telling me to do. Derive an integral in some fashion other than standard? As I said above the symbol is a standard integral symbol from calculus except there is a circle at the center of the symbol.

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kelseymhBest Answer (author)2009-03-14

It's a closed loop path integral. The variable of integration is usually ds, which denotes the differential length along the path. It's no different than an ordinary integral, except that (by definition) the limits of integration coincide.

Closed loop integrals appear in thermodynamics; usually the "area" enclosed is the entropy increase due to the cycle being computed.

Path integrals also appear in complex analysis, where you integrate around the complex plane in order to cut out a pole.

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11010010110 (author)2009-03-14

integral dx along a closed path the dx is like the length of the path

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