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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) ___x5 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
x5
___ 3x  2
b)  __
x  3x  4
2 2
x 1
x5
___ 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 .
 ___
x2 x2  6

Solution
x
__ 2x2  3x  5
 ___
x2 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.

## 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 __
x5

Solution
Method 1: Consider the Key Features of the Graph of a
Related Rational Function
__2  10
x5
2
__  10  0
x5
2  10x  50  0
___ Combine the terms using a common denominator of x  5.
x5
10x  52  0
___
x5
10x  52 .
Consider the function f(x)  ___
x5
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 
x5
4

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.
x5 x  5
In interval notation, x ∈ (, 5) ∪ (5.2, ).

## 3.4 Solve Rational Equations and Inequalities • MHR 179

Method 2: Solve Algebraically
2  10
__
x5
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
x5
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 2x3
x  4 1  x  2 x3

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 x1 0
()()

()()
__
(1, 2) x0 
()()

(0)()
__
2 x2 0
()()

()()
__
(2, 3) x  2.5 
()()

()()
__
(3, ) x4 
()()

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 x3

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
xk
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
 __ .
x1 x5
1
C2 Explain why ___  0 has no solution.
x2  2x  9
4
C3 Explain the difference between the solution to the equation __ 3
 __
x5 x4
and the solution to the inequality __ 4  __ 3 .
x5 x4

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. x2
x1
a) y  __ b) ___ 1
1
x x2  2x  7
x2  x  12 c) __2 5
b) y  ___  __
x2  3x  5 x1 x3
2x  3 d) x  _5
c) y  __ x 4
5x  1
x 1
e) _ x  34
__
d) y  ___ x  2x2
x2  3x  2
x3
f) __ x2
 __
x4 x6

## 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 x4 x1 (x  4)(x  5)
technology. Express your answers to two x2  16  0 x4
x  2  __
e) ___ f) __
decimal places. x  4x  5
2
x x6
5x
a) __ 3x
 __ For help with question 5, refer to Example 4.
x4 2x  7
5. Solve each inequality using an interval table.
2x  3
b) __ 5x  1
 __ Check using technology.
x6 4x  7
x2  9x  14  0
a) ___
x
c) __ x2  4x  1
 ___ x2  6  5
x2 x3
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
x3 x1

## 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 x1
x  __ 2x by graphing the functions 3.
11. The ratio of x  2 to x  5 is greater than _
7. Solve __
x1 x2 Solve for x.
5
f(x)  __ x and g(x) __ 2x with or without
 2x  1  __ x1
x1 x2 12. Compare the solutions to __
x7 x3
using technology. Determine the points of 2x  1  __
and __ x  1.
intersection and when f(x)  g(x). x7 x3
8. Use the method from question 7 to solve x  1
__
13. Compare the solutions to __ x  3 and
x 3x . x4 x5
__  __ x4
__ x  5.
x3 x5
__
x1 x3
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 x1 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 x1 1x
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) __
x2 x1 x1

## 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 x2
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 x6
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