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3.

4
Solve Rational Equations
and Inequalities
Proper lighting is of critical importance in surgical
procedures. If a surgeon requires more illumination
from a light source of fixed power, the light needs to
be moved closer to the patient. By how much is the
intensity increased if the distance between the light
and the patient is halved? The intensity of illumination
is inversely proportional to the square of the distance
to the light source. The function I  _ k relates the
d2
illumination, I, to the distance, d, from the light
source. If a specific intensity is needed, the distance
needs to be solved for in order to determine the
placement of the light source.

Example 1 Solve Rational Equations Algebraically


Solve.
a) __ 4 4
3x  5
b) ___x5 3x  2
 __
x2  3x  4 x2  1

Solution
a) __4
4
3x  5
4  4(3x  5), 5
x⬆_ Multiply both sides by (3x  5).
3
4  12x  20
12x  24
x 2
x5
___ 3x  2
b)  __
x  3x  4
2 2
x 1
x5
___ 3x  2
 ___ , x ⬆ 1, x ⬆ 1, x ⬆ 4 Factor the expressions in the denominators.
(x  4)(x  1) (x  1)(x  1)
(x  5)(x  1)  (3x  2)(x  4) Multiply both sides by (x  4)(x  1)(x  1).
x2  6x  5  3x2  10x  8
2x2  4x  13  0

3.4 Solve Rational Equations and Inequalities • MHR 177


4  √
(4)2  4(2)(13) 2x2  4x  13 cannot be factored.
x  _____
2(2) Use the quadratic formula.
4  √ 
120
 __
4
4 2 √
30
 __
4
2  √ 
30
 __
2

Example 2 Solve a Rational Equation Using Technology


x
Solve __ 2x2  3x  5 .
 ___
x2 x2  6

Solution
x
__ 2x2  3x  5
 ___
x2 2
x 6
Multiply both sides by
x(x2  6)  (x  2)(2x2  3x  5), x ⬆ 2 (x  2)(x2  6).
x3  6x  2x3  7x2  11x  10
x3  7x2  5x  10  0
Use technology to solve the equation.

CONNECTIONS Method 1: Use a Graphing Calculator


You can solve using technology Graph the function y  x3  7x2  5x  10.
directly from the initial equation.
With a graphing calculator, you Then, use the Zero operation.
can graph both sides separately
and find the point of intersection.
With a CAS, you can use the
solve operation directly. Other
methods are possible.

x ⬟ 6.47 is the only solution.

Method 2: Use a Computer Algebra System (CAS)


Use the solve function or the zero function.

178 MHR • Advanced Functions • Chapter 3


Example 3 Solve a Simple Rational Inequality
2  10.
Solve __
x5

Solution
Method 1: Consider the Key Features of the Graph of a
Related Rational Function
__2  10
x5
2
__  10  0
x5
2  10x  50  0
___ Combine the terms using a common denominator of x  5.
x5
10x  52  0
___
x5
10x  52 .
Consider the function f(x)  ___
x5
The vertical asymptote has equation x  5.
The horizontal asymptote has equation y  10.
The x-intercept is 5.2.
The y-intercept is 10.4.

y
12
10x  52
8 f共x兲 
x5
4
共5.2, 0兲

4 0 4 8 12 16 x
4

8

12 共0, 10.4兲

16

From the graph, the coordinates of all of the points below the x-axis satisfy
the inequality f(x)  0.
10x  52  0 , or __
So, ___ 2
 10, for x  5 or x  5.2.
x5 x  5
In interval notation, x ∈ (, 5) ∪ (5.2, ).

3.4 Solve Rational Equations and Inequalities • MHR 179


Method 2: Solve Algebraically
2  10
__
x5
Because x  5 ⬆ 0, either x  5 or x  5.
Case 1:
x 5
2  10(x  5) Multiply both sides by (x  5), which is positive if x  5.
2  10x  50
52  10x
5.2  x
x  5.2
x  5.2 is within the inequality x  5, so the solution is x  5.2.
Case 2:
x 5
2
__  10
x5
2  10(x  5) Change the inequality when multiplying by a negative.
2  10x  50
52  10x
5.2  x
x  5.2
x  5 is within the inequality x  5.2, so the solution is x  5.
Combining the two cases, the solution to the inequality is x  5 or x  5.2.

Solve a Quadratic Over a Quadratic


Example 4
Rational Inequality
x2  x  2
Solve ___
Reasoning and Proving 0.
Representing Selecting Tools x2  x  12
Problem Solving
Solution
Connecting Reflecting
Communicating Method 1: Solve Using an Interval Table
x2  x  2
___ 0
x2  x  12
(x  2)(x  1)
___ 0
(x  3)(x  4)
From the numerator, the zeros occur at x  2 and x  1, so solutions
occur at these values of x.
From the denominator, the restrictions occur at x  3 and x  4.
A number line can be used to consider intervals.

180 MHR • Advanced Functions • Chapter 3


4  x  1 2x3
x  4 1  x  2 x3


6 5 4 3 2 1 0 1 2 3 4 5

Use a table to consider the signs of the factors on each interval. Pick an arbitrary
number in each interval. The number line is broken into five intervals, as shown.
Select test values of x for each interval. Check whether the value of
(x  2)(x  1)
___ in each interval is greater than or equal to 0.
(x  3)(x  4)
For example, for x  4, test x  5.
(5  2)(5  1)
____ 28
 _  0, so x  4 is part of the solution.
(5  3)(5  4) 8
Continue testing a selected point in each interval and record the results in a table.

Choice for Signs of Factors of Sign of


x in the (x ⴚ 2)(x ⴙ 1)
___ ___
(x ⴚ 2)(x ⴙ 1)
Interval interval (x ⴚ 3)(x ⴙ 4) (x ⴚ 3)(x ⴙ 4)
()()
__
(, 4) x  5 
()()

()()
__
(4, 1) x  2 
()()

()(0)
__
1 x1 0
()()

()()
__
(1, 2) x0 
()()

(0)()
__
2 x2 0
()()

()()
__
(2, 3) x  2.5 
()()

()()
__
(3, ) x4 
()()

The same data are shown in a different format below. The critical values of x CONNECTIONS
are bolded, and test values are chosen within each interval.
The critical values of x are those
x 5 ⴚ4 2 ⴚ1 0 2 2.5 3 4 values where there is a vertical
asymptote, or where the slope
(x  2)(x  1)
___ of the graph of the inequality
   0  0   
(x  3)(x  4) changes sign.

3.4 Solve Rational Equations and Inequalities • MHR 181


x2  x  2
For the inequality ___ 0, the solution is x  4 or 1
x
2
x2  x  12
or x  3.
In interval notation, the solution set is x ∈ (, 4) ∪ [1, 2] ∪ (3, ).
The solution can be shown on a number line.

x  4 1
x
2 x3


6 5 4 3 2 1 0 1 2 3 4 5

x2  x  2 , confirms this solution.


A graph of the related function, f(x)  ___
x2  x  12
y
6

x2  x  2
4 f共x兲 
x2  x  12
2

8 6 4 2 0 2 4 6 8 10 x
2

4

6

Method 2: Use a Graphing Calculator


x2  x  2
Enter the function f(x)  ___
x2  x  12
and view its graph.
Either visually or by checking the table,
you can see that there are asymptotes
at x  4 and x  3, so there are no
solutions there.
Use the Zero operation to find that the
zeros are at x  1 and x  2.
Using the graph and the zeros, you
can see that f(x) 0 for x  4,
for 1 ≤ x
2, and for x  3.

182 MHR • Advanced Functions • Chapter 3


< KEY CONCEPTS
>
To solve rational equations algebraically, start by factoring the
expressions in the numerator and denominator to find asymptotes
and restrictions.
Next, multiply both sides by the factored denominators, and simplify
to obtain a polynomial equation. Then, solve using techniques from
Chapter 2.
For rational inequalities:
• It can often help to rewrite with the right side equal to 0. Then, use
test points to determine the sign of the expression in each interval.
• If there is a restriction on the variable, you may have to consider more
than one case. For example, if __ a  b, case 1 is x  k and case 2
xk
is x  k.
Rational equations and inequalities can be solved by studying the key
features of a graph with paper and pencil or with the use of technology.
Tables and number lines can help organize intervals and provide a
visual clue to solutions.

Communicate Your Understanding


C1 Describe the process you would use to solve __ 2 3
 __ .
x1 x5
1
C2 Explain why ___  0 has no solution.
x2  2x  9
4
C3 Explain the difference between the solution to the equation __ 3
 __
x5 x4
and the solution to the inequality __ 4  __ 3 .
x5 x4

A Practise
For help with questions 1 and 2, refer to Example 1. 2. Solve algebraically. Check each solution.
1. Determine the x-intercept(s) for each function. a) __4
3
Verify using technology. x2
x1
a) y  __ b) ___ 1
1
x x2  2x  7
x2  x  12 c) __2 5
b) y  ___  __
x2  3x  5 x1 x3
2x  3 d) x  _5
c) y  __ x 4
5x  1
x 1
e) _ x  34
__
d) y  ___ x  2x2
x2  3x  2
x3
f) __ x2
 __
x4 x6

3.4 Solve Rational Equations and Inequalities • MHR 183


For help with question 3, refer to Example 2. 5
__
2 (x  2)(x  1)2
c) __ d) ___ 0
3. Use Technology Solve each equation using x4 x1 (x  4)(x  5)
technology. Express your answers to two x2  16  0 x4
x  2  __
e) ___ f) __
decimal places. x  4x  5
2
x x6
5x
a) __ 3x
 __ For help with question 5, refer to Example 4.
x4 2x  7
5. Solve each inequality using an interval table.
2x  3
b) __ 5x  1
 __ Check using technology.
x6 4x  7
x2  9x  14  0
a) ___
x
c) __ x2  4x  1
 ___ x2  6  5
x2 x3
2x2  5x  3  0
b) ___
x2  1
d) __ 2x2  3
 __ x2  8x  16
2x  3
2
x2  1
x2  3x  4
c) ___
0
For help with question 4, refer to Example 3. x2  11x  30
4. Solve each inequality without using technology. 3x2  8x  4
d) ___ 0
Illustrate the solution on a number line. 2x2  9x  5
a) __ 4 1 b) __7 7
x3 x1

B Connect and Apply


6. Write a rational equation Reasoning and Proving 10. Solve. Illustrate graphically.
Representing Selecting Tools
that cannot have 2 3_ 29 16  5  _
1
a) _
x x b) _ x x
x  3 or x  5 as Problem Solving

a solution. Explain 5 _ 3
2 _ 30  7
c) _ d) 6  __
Connecting Reflecting

your reasoning. Communicating


6x 3x 4 x1
x  __ 2x by graphing the functions 3.
11. The ratio of x  2 to x  5 is greater than _
7. Solve __
x1 x2 Solve for x.
5
f(x)  __ x and g(x) __ 2x with or without
 2x  1  __ x1
x1 x2 12. Compare the solutions to __
x7 x3
using technology. Determine the points of 2x  1  __
and __ x  1.
intersection and when f(x)  g(x). x7 x3
8. Use the method from question 7 to solve x  1
__
13. Compare the solutions to __ x  3 and
x 3x . x4 x5
__  __ x4
__ x  5.
x3 x5
__
x1 x3
9. Solve and check. 14. A number x is the harmonic mean of two
1 3_ 2 2 5 1 numbers a and b if _1 is the mean of _
1 and _
1.
a) _ b) __ _
x x x1 x x a b
a) Write an equation to represent the harmonic
12  x  8
c) _ x
d) __ 1
__
1 mean of a and b.
x x1 1x
2x  __ 2x b) Determine the harmonic mean of 12 and 15.
e) __ 1
2x  3 2x  3 c) The harmonic mean of 6 and another
7  __ 4  __ 3 0 number is 1.2. Determine the other number.
f) __
x2 x1 x1

184 MHR • Advanced Functions • Chapter 3


15. Chapter Problem Light pollution is caused by 16. The relationship between the object distance, d,
many lights being on in a concentrated area. and image distance, I, both in centimetres, for
Think of the night sky in the city compared to a camera with focal length 2.0 cm is defined by
the night sky in the country. Light pollution the relation d  __ 2.0I . For what values of
can be a problem in cities, as more and more I  2.0
bright lights are used in such things as advertising I is d greater than 10.0 cm?
and office buildings. The intensity of illumination
is inversely proportional to the square of the
✓Achievement Check
distance to the light source and is defined by the 1  4 and
17. Consider the functions f(x)  _x
formula I  _ k , where I is the intensity, in lux;
2 . Graph f and g on the same grid.
g(x)  _
d2 x
d is the distance from the source, in metres; and
a) Determine the points of intersection of the
k is a constant. When the distance from a certain
two functions.
light source is 10 m, the intensity is 900 lux.
b) Show where f(x)  g(x).
a) Determine the intensity when the distance is
c) Solve the equation _1 4 _ 2
i) 5 m ii) 200 m x  x to check
b) What distance, or range of distance, results your answer to part a).
in an intensity of 1
d) Solve the inequality _ 2
_
x  4  x to check
i) 4.5 lux? ii) at least 4500 lux? your answer to part b).

C Extend and Challenge


18. a) A rectangle has perimeter 64 cm and area 21. Math Contest In some situations, it is
23 cm2. Solve the following system of convenient to express a rational expression
equations to find the rectangle’s dimensions. as the sum of two or more simpler rational
23 expressions. These simpler expressions are
l_ w called partial fractions. Partial fractions are
l  w  32 P(x)
used when, given _ , the degree of P(x)
b) Solve the system of equations. D(x)
is less than the degree of D(x).
x2  y2  1
Decompose each of the following into partial
xy  0.5 fractions. Check your solutions by graphing the
19. Use your knowledge of exponents to solve. equivalent function on a graphing calculator.
1 1 Hint: Start by factoring the denominator, if
a) _  __ necessary.
2x x2
1 _ 1 a) f(x)  ___ 5x  7
b) _ x2  2x  3
2x x2
20. Determine the region(s) of the Cartesian plane b) g(x)  __7x  6
for which x x6
2

a) y  _1 6x2  14x  27
c) h(x)  ___
x2 (x  2)(x  3)2
b) y
x2  4 and y __ 1
x2  4

3.4 Solve Rational Equations and Inequalities • MHR 185