In this video, we are going to look at how to calculate the surface area of a
cylinder and then apply this method to a couple of questions. So let’s think about calculating the surface area of a cylinder. Now you would
have seen before that in order to calculate the surface area of a prism, you need to find the
total area of all of its faces. So what we need to think about are what are the different faces
that the cylinder has. Now one way to do that is to sketch the net of this cylinder. So what it would look
like in two dimensions if we were able to unwrap it.
So first of all, the cylinder has two circular faces. It has the faces that are on
the top and the base of the cylinder, the ones that I’m shading in here. So when we draw the net of this cylinder, we need to include these two circular
faces. Now I’ve labelled my diagram. It has the measurements ℎ and 𝑟 on it; ℎ is standing for
the height of the cylinder and 𝑟 is standing for the radius of the circle.
So there are those two circular faces. Now a cylinder also has a curved surface,
which is this one that I’m currently shading in in orange here. And think about what the shape
of that would be. Even though it’s a curved surface, if you were to unfold it so that it was a
flat surface, you would see that it’s actually a rectangle. And you could try this yourself. If
you find a food can or something like that and unpeel the label, you will see that the shape of
that label is in fact a rectangle. So if I add it to my net, I’ll see that the net of the cylinder looks something
like this: a rectangular part and then these two circular parts. So now I need to work out what the area of each of these parts are. Well the
circle, remember the area of a circle the formula for that is 𝜋𝑟 squared, so
each of those circles will be contributing that amount to the area.
So therefore, I will have a total contribution of two 𝜋𝑟 squared from the
circular top and the circular base. Now let’s think about calculating the area of this rectangle. So if a rectangle, we do
the length multiplied by the width while this measurement here, that’s just the height of the
cylinder. So that’s ℎ. And then I need to think about what is the width of the rectangle this
Well if you think about this carefully or perhaps if you think back to your food
can and unwrapping the label, you’ll see that this measurement here matches up perfectly with
the circumference of the circle on the top and on the base. And if you are cool, then the formula for calculating the circumference of a circle is
either 𝜋𝑑 where 𝑑 represents the diameter or two 𝜋𝑟 where 𝑟 represents the radius. And as
it’s the radius that I’ve used in other parts of this calculation, it’s the radius that I
will again use here.
So the dimensions of the rectangle then are ℎ and two 𝜋𝑟, which means the area of this
rectangle when I multiply them together will be two 𝜋𝑟ℎ.
So now I have all that I need in order to write down the formula for calculating
the total surface area of the cylinder. It’s just gonna be the sum of these three
So here is that formula. The total surface area of the cylinder is equal
to two 𝜋𝑟 squared plus two 𝜋𝑟ℎ. Now when you’re working with cylinders, sometimes you aren’t asked to calculate the
total surface area. You’re asked instead to calculate something called the lateral surface area. And what this refers to is the curved part of the surface area. So in our net of
a cylinder, it’s this rectangular part here. So if you’re just asked to calculate the lateral surface area, then you’ll be using
this formula instead, which is that it’s equal to two 𝜋𝑟ℎ as it’s only the area of
that rectangle that we’re interested in.
So let’s look at a prim question. The question asked us to calculate the lateral
surface area of the cylinder below. And we can see this cylinder has a height of thirteen centimetres
and a diameter of ten centimetres. So first of all, note the question has asked for the lateral surface area. So
we’re only interested in that curved part, not the full surface area including the top and the
base. So remember the formula that we need here is that the lateral surface area is equal to
two 𝜋𝑟ℎ. So in this question, ℎ, well that’s thirteen centimetres, and 𝑟 remember presents
the radius. We haven’t got the radius. We’ve got the diameter which is ten. So the radius is
half of that which is five.
So our calculation then is the lateral surface area is two times 𝜋 times five times
Now actually remember that that two 𝜋𝑟 in the formula for the lateral
surface area is representing the circumference of the circle. And another way to write that
would have been 𝜋𝑑. So rather than dividing this value of ten by two to get the radius and including the
factor of two in the formula, we could actually have just done 𝜋𝑑ℎ and then 𝜋 times ten times
thirteen. So rather than dividing by two and multiplying by two, we could have got about in a
slightly simpler way.
At any way, it gives us the same result in our calculation. So two times 𝜋
times five times thirteen, this gives me a hundred and thirty 𝜋 as the lateral surface area. I could leave my
answer in terms of 𝜋, if that’s how it was requested or if I didn’t have a calculator. But if
I go on and evaluate my answer as a decimal,
then it gives me an answer of four hundred and eight point four
centimetres squared. And that’s been rounded to one decimal place or the nearest
tenth. Units, remember, we’re talking about area. So I need to square units with my answer,
which is why the centimetres squared in this instance.
Right, let’s look at our next question on this. This time we are asked to
calculate the total surface area of the cylinder below, so I need to recall the formula for
calculating the total surface area. Remember, that is going to include the top and the
base this time. So here is the formula we need. The total surface area is equal to two 𝜋𝑟
squared plus two 𝜋𝑟ℎ. So it’s just a question of substituting the correct values into this
formula. The radius is six millimetres and the height is twenty-five millimetres.
So the calculation will be two times 𝜋 times six squared plus two times
𝜋 times six times twenty-five. The brackets, I don’t actually need them. They’re not
mathematically necessary. I’ve just put them in so that you can see the two parts of the
calculation more clearly. So if I evaluate these, then I have seventy-two 𝜋 plus three hundred 𝜋.
So that gives me an overall total of three hundred and seventy-two 𝜋 for the total
surface area. Again, I could leave my answer at this stage, but I’ll evaluate it as a
And doing that gives me an answer of one thousand one hundred and sixty-eight point
seven millimetre squared. And again, that answer has been rounded to one decimal place.
So a couple of things to watch out for then, have you been asked for the total
surface area or the lateral surface area? So do you need to include the top and the base or not.
And also have you been given the radius or have you been given the diameter of the cylinder.
And if you’ve been given the diameter, you just need to think carefully about how you’re going to
use it in the formula.
Okay this is the final question that we’re going to look at in this video. It says
the total surface area of a cylinder of radius two meters is twenty-eight 𝜋 meters squared.
Calculate the height of the cylinder. So this question is an example of one when we need to work backwards. We’re given the
surface area and we have to work out one of the missing dimensions of the cylinder. So first of all, we need to recall the relevant formula. And reading the question
carefully, it says the total surface area. So we need the formula for total rather than lateral. So it’s this formula here, total surface area is equal to two 𝜋𝑟 squared
plus two 𝜋𝑟ℎ.
So we can use this formula to form an equation involving the radius and the
total surface area that we do know and the height that we don’t. Once we’ve got the equation, we’ll
will be able to solve it in order to work out what this height is.
So let’s form this equation. I’m gonna substitute 𝑟 was equal to two into this formula.
So two 𝜋𝑟 squared is gonna be two times 𝜋 times two squared. And then two 𝜋𝑟ℎ is
gonna be two times 𝜋 times two times this value ℎ that we don’t know. And we’re told that is
all equal to twenty-eight 𝜋.
So I’ve set up the start of my equation. Now I can simplify it a bit. So looking at the
first term, that’s gonna simplify. Well two squared is four and then multiplied by two is
So I have eight 𝜋 for that first term. And then the second term, two times two is four, so
I’m gonna have four 𝜋ℎ for that second term.
So that brings me to this stage here. Eight 𝜋 plus four 𝜋ℎ is equal to
twenty-eight 𝜋. Now all of those terms have a factor of 𝜋 in, so actually I can divide
through by 𝜋 or cancel out that factor to simplify this equation a little bit.
If I just write it out again then so we can see a little bit more clearly, so I can see that my equation is actually just four ℎ plus eight is equal to twenty-eight.
Solving this equation, it is relatively straightforward. The first step is I need to
subtract eight from both sides of the equation.
And so that gives me four ℎ is equal to twenty and then I need to divide both sides of
the equation by four.
And so that gives me the ℎ is equal to five. ℎ, remember, represents the height so it
needs a unit. And if you look back at the question, all of the units were meters and meters
squared, so this must be five meters for the height of the cylinder.
So this question involved using the information that we were given to set up and
then solve an equation in order to work out a missing dimension of the cylinder. To answer a similar question where it was the radius that was missing would be a
more complex problem, as it would result in a quadratic equation to solve. But that is a
possible extension of this. So to summarise then, we’ve looked at how to calculate the lateral and the total
surface area of a cylinder. We’ve seen where that formula comes from in terms of the net of the
cylinder. We’ve applied it to a couple of more straightforward questions where we just have to
substitute the relevant values. And then finally, we’ve looked at a question that involves
working backwards from a known surface area to calculate the height of the cylinder.