Q:

How do you find the surface area of a cylinder?

A:

Quick Answer

The surface area of a cylinder is equal to the sum of the surface area of the circles on either end and the surface area of the side. The surface area of the side is equal to the product of the circumference of the circles at either end and the height of the cylinder.

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Full Answer

  1. Calculate the surface area of one of the circles

    The surface area of a circle is pi times the square of the radius. Pi is approximately 3.14159. The radius is the distance from the center to the edge of the circle. If you know the diameter, divide by two to find the radius.

  2. Double the surface area to account for both ends

    Multiply the area of the circle on the end by two in order to find the total area of both ends.

  3. Calculate the surface area of the side

    Multiply the height of the cylinder by 2 times pi. The side of the cylinder is effectively a rectangle wrapped around the edges of the circles at the ends, and its surface area is simply the products of its sides, which constitute the height of the cylinder and the circumference of the circles at either end.

  4. Calculate the total surface area

    Add the surface area of the ends to the surface area of the side to calculate the total surface area.

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