An odd-looking integral of a square root of trig functions

The integral to evaluate is

$$\int_0^{\pi/3} \big((\sqrt{3}\cos x-\sin x)\sin x\big)^{1/2}\cos x \,dx $$

A cursory glance at this specimen leads to exasperation, as the $\pi/3$ in the limit seems arbitrary, and the integrand seems devoid of an antiderivative. It turns out, however, that one way to attack this integral is to transform it into a well-known improper integral using a very nifty transformation that may look familiar to those who have seen this problem before.

You can start by noting that

$$\sqrt{3} \cos{x} – \sin{x} = 2 \sin{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)}$$

which means that the integral is

$$ \sqrt{2} \int_0^{\pi/3} dx \, \cos{x} \sqrt{\sin{x} \sin{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)}} = \sqrt{2} I$$

You can make a substitution $x \mapsto \frac{\pi}{3}-x$ and see that

$$I = \sqrt{3} \int_0^{\pi/3} dx \, \sin{x} \sqrt{\sin{x} \sin{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)}}$$

Integrate by parts:

$$\begin{align}I &= \left [\sin{x} \sqrt{\sin{x} \sin{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)}} \right ]_0^{\pi/3} – \int_0^{\pi/3} dx \, \sin{x} \frac{d}{dx} \sqrt{\sin{x} \sin{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)}}\\ &= -\frac12 \int_0^{\pi/3} dx \, \sin{x} \frac{\cos{x} \sin{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)} – \sin{x} \cos{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)}}{\sqrt{\sin{x} \sin{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)}}}\\ &= -\frac12 I + \frac12 \int_0^{\pi/3} dx \, \sin{x} \sqrt{\frac{\sin{x}}{\sin{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)}} } \cos{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)} \end{align}$$

This means that

$$\begin{align}3 I &= \int_0^{\pi/3} dx \, \frac{\cos{x}}{\sin{x}} \sqrt{\sin{x} \sin{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)}} \cos{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)}\\ &= \frac{\sqrt{3}}{2} \int_0^{\pi/3} dx \, \frac{\cos^2{x}}{\sin{x}} \sqrt{\sin{x} \sin{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)}} – \frac12 I \end{align}$$

Combining again…

$$7 I = \sqrt{3} \int_0^{\pi/3} dx \sqrt{\frac{\sin{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)}}{\sin{x}}} – \underbrace{\sqrt{3} \int_0^{\pi/3} dx \, \sin{x} \sqrt{\sin{x} \sin{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)}}}_{\text{We know from above this equals } I}$$


$$I = \frac{\sqrt{3}}{8} \int_0^{\pi/3} dx \sqrt{\frac{\sin{x}}{\sin{\left ( \frac{\pi}{3}-x\right)}}}$$

Now, in a similar manipulation as in the evaluation of this integral, sub $u = \sin{x}/\sin{(\pi/3-x)}$ and find that the integral becomes

$$I = \frac{3}{16} \int_0^{\infty} du \frac{\sqrt{u}}{1+u+u^2}$$

This integral is very straightforward to evaluate via residues using, e.g., a keyhole contour about the positive real axis. By the residue theorem, the original integral is then

$$\sqrt{2} I = \frac{3 \sqrt{2}}{16} \frac12 i 2 \pi \left (\frac{e^{i \pi/3}}{i \sqrt{3}} – \frac{e^{i 2 \pi/3}}{i \sqrt{3}} \right ) = \frac{\pi}{8} \sqrt{\frac{3}{2}}$$

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