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Indices and Surds

Revision Notes

Indices
For a positive integer n, a n is defined as:

a n  a  a  a  ...  a, where a is called the base, and n, the index or exponent.
n factors

Zero and Negative Indices
a 0  1 , where a  0

1
an

a n 

e.g. 50  1
e.g. 2 3 

1
23

Fractional Indices
1
n

1

a  a , where a > 0 and n is a positive integer
m
n

a

n

 a , where a > 0 and both m and n are
positive integers
n

m

e.g. 5 3  3 5
2
3

e.g. 5  3 5 2

Laws of Indices
Indices with a Common Base
1. a m  a n  a mn

e.g. 24  22  26

24
 22
2
2

2.

am
 a mn , where a  0
an

e.g.

3.

a 

e.g. 24

m n

 a mn

 

2

 28

Indices with a Common Index but Different Bases

© ACE-Learning

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2    2 2 am  a     . where b  0 bm  b  2. 4 2  2 2  (4  2) 2 m 42  4  e. Laws of Surds For natural numbers a and b.  a x  b is the simplest form of an exponential equation  If b can be expressed as a n .g. which cannot be evaluated exactly n n a . Hence. 2 3  6 2 .g.Indices and Surds Revision Notes 1. Surds  A surd has a general form of  A surd is an irrational number which cannot be expressed as a fraction in the form m .g. 2 Other Laws a   b n a   b  b   a m n n m bn   a 3 e.g. a m  b m  (a  b) m e. a  b  ab © ACE-Learning e.   4  2 5 4   3 2 2  4 5   3 Exponential Equations  An equation with a variable occurring in the index or exponent is known as exponential equation. it is a root. a x  b  a x  a n then x  n . where a can be any natural number.g.   4 2 3 e.

Conjugate Surds  m     The product of a pair of conjugate surds is a rational number a  n b and m a  n b are conjugate surds.  If a  m 2 b such that m  0.Indices and Surds Revision Notes a b a a  b b a a a 3 5 e.g.g. 3 5  e. 6 6 6 m a  n a  (m  n) a e. Rationalising Simple Denominator a b  a b  b b © ACE-Learning  a b b e. 2 7  3 7  5 7 m a  n a  (m  n) a e.g.g. 6 11  4 11  2 11 m    a n b m a n b  m a   n b  2 e.g. 2 3  2 4 5 3 2 4 5     2  3 2  4 5    2  32  2  4 2  5  62 Simplification of    a where a > 0 a is in its simplest form if a does not contain a perfect square factor. then its simplest form is m b . 2 3  2 3  3 3  2 3 3 3 . b  0 and a= m 2 b . Rationalising the Denominator To rationalise the denominator of a surd means to make the denominator a rational number.g.

a b c  a b c b c    b  c a b  c     b c a b c 2 e. the following result for equality of surds may be used: If m  n a  p  q a  m  p and n  q. 2 5 3 2 bc a b c  a b c   b  c a b  c     b c  b c a b c 2 2 bc  2 5 3 5 3       2 5 3 53  2 5 3 2  4 5 3 e. 4 5 2 5 2 5 2       4 5 2 52  4 5 2 3 5 2 Solving Equations Involving Surds For some equations. 4 3  2 4 3  3  3 2 3 12 Rationalising a Compound Denominator To rationalise a compound denominator we use the concept of conjugate surds.Indices and Surds Revision Notes a b c  a b c c  c  a c bc 2 e.g. © ACE-Learning 4 .g.g.