Additional Information
Surely there can be no one who does not know this shape. It is, of course, the shape of the ordinary tinplate (or aluminium) can in which much of our food and drink is packaged. The two ends are circles which are joined together by a single rectangular sheet, which is 'wrapped around' the circles to form what can best be described as the 'sides' of the cylinder. So the cylinder can be thought of as being made up of 3 pieces. Two are the circles for the ends, and the third is the rectangle which is curved around to make the sides. This third piece is known as the curved surface area. The total surface area is the areas of the two circular ends plus the curved surface area.


*S A* is merely an abbreviation for surface area. So the calculator has two data boxes: one for the curved *SA* (=Curved Surface Area) and one for the total *SA* (=Total Surface Area) The exact meanings of these are explained on the left. Cautions The message that 'No solution was found' means EITHER that no solution exists for the conditions given OR that it was outside the limits set within this calculator. In a few (very few) cases, more than one solution might be possible, but only the first one found is given here. Mathematically, the 'ends' of a cylinder do not have to be circular, and nor do the 'sides' have to be at right angles to the ends so, the 'correct' description of the commonly found can which contains our food is right circular cylinder but the single word cylinder serves us very well. 