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Solving and simplifying polynomials Thus, from arithmetic, we know that we can express a

In our study of quadratics, one of the methods used to dividend as:

simplify and solve was factorisation. For example, we

may solve for x in the following equation as follows: Dividend = (Quotient ´ Divisor) + Remainder

x 2 + 5x + 6 = 0

When there is no remainder, 𝑹 = 0, and the divisor is

(x + 3)(x + 2) = 0

now a factor of the number, so

x + 3 = 0,⇒ x = −3

x + 2 = 0 ⇒ x = −2 Dividend = Quotient ´ Factor

Hence, x = −3 or −2 are solutions or roots of the The process we followed in arithmetic when dividing

quadratic equation. is very similar to what is to be done in algebra.

Examine the following division problems in algebra

A more general name for a quadratic is a polynomial and note the similarities.

of degree 2, since the highest power of the unknown is

two. The method of factorisation worked for Division of a polynomial by a linear expression

quadratics whose solutions are integers or rational We can apply the same principles in arithmetic to

numbers. dividing algebraic expressions. Let the quadratic

For a polynomial of order 3, such as function 𝑓(𝑥) represent the dividend, and (𝑥 − 1) the

x 3 + 4x 2 + x − 6 = 0 the method of factorisation may divisor, where

also be applied. However, obtaining the factors is not 𝑓(𝑥) = 3𝑥 - − 𝑥 + 2

as simple as it was for quadratics. We would likely

have to write down three linear factors, which may Quotient 3x + 2

prove difficult. In this section, we will learn to use the

remainder and factor theorems to factorise and to solve x − 1 3x − x + 2

2 Dividend

Divisor 2x + 2

Before doing so, let us review the meaning of basic − (2x − 2)

terms in division.

4

Remainder

Terms in division

We are familiar with division in arithmetic.

3𝑥 - − 𝑥 + 2 = (3𝑥 + 2)(𝑥 − 1) + 4

Quotient 15

↑ ↑ ↑ ↑

32 489 Dividend

Dividend Quotient Divisor Remainder

32

Divisor 169 Consider (𝑥 − 1) = 0,

160 𝑓(𝑥) = (3𝑥 + 2) × 0 + 4 = 4

9 Remainder

But, (𝑥 − 1) = 0 implies that 𝑥 = 1

The number that is to be divided is called the

dividend. The dividend is divided by the divisor. Therefore, when 𝑥 = 1, 𝑓(𝑥) = 4 or 𝑓(1) = 4.

The result is the quotient and the remainder is what

is left over. We can conclude that when the polynomial

3𝑥 - − 𝑥 + 2

From the above example, we can deduce that: (𝑥

is divided by − 1), the remainder is

489 = (15 × 32) + 9 𝑓(1) = 4

↑ ↑ ↑ ↑

Dividend Quotient Divisor Remainder We shall now perform division using a cubic

polynomial as our dividend.

x 2 + 14x + 25 We can conclude that when the polynomial

2𝑥 4 − 3𝑥 - + 4𝑥 + 5

x − 2 x + 12x 2 − 3x + 4

3

is divided by (𝑥 + 2), the remainder is

− (x 3 − 2x 2 ) 𝑓(−2) = −31

14x 2 − 3x + 4

− (14x − 28x) The Remainder Theorem for divisor (𝒙 − 𝒂)

25x + 4 From the above examples, we saw that a polynomial

−(25x − 50) can be expressed as a product of the quotient and the

divisor plus the remainder:

54

3𝑥 - − 𝑥 + 2 = (3𝑥 + 2)(𝑥 − 1) + 4

From the above example, we can deduce that: 𝑥 4 + 12𝑥 - − 3𝑥 + 4 = (𝑥 - + 14𝑥 + 25)(𝑥 − 2) + 54

𝑥 4 + 12𝑥 - − 3𝑥 + 4 = (𝑥 - + 14𝑥 + 25)(𝑥 − 2) + 54

↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ 2𝑥 4 − 3𝑥 - + 4𝑥 + 5 = (2𝑥 - + 𝑥 + 18)(𝑥 + 2) − 31

Dividend Quotient Divisor Remainder

Consider (𝑥 − 2) = 0,

𝑓(𝑥) = (𝑥 - + 14𝑥 + 25) × 0 + 54 = 54 where, f (x) is a polynomial whose quotient is Q(x)

and whose remainder is R when divided by (x − a) .

But, (𝑥 − 2) = 0 implies that 𝑥 = 2 f ( x) = Q( x) ´ ( x - a) + R

Therefore, when 𝑥 = 2, 𝑓(𝑥) = 54 or 𝑓(2) = 54.

If we were to substitute 𝑥 = 𝑎 in the above expression,

We can conclude that when the polynomial then our result will be equal to 𝑅, the remainder when

𝑥 4 + 12𝑥 - − 3𝑥 + 4 the divisor, (𝑥 − 𝑎) is divided by the polynomial,

is divided by (𝑥 − 2), the remainder is 𝑓(𝑥).

𝑓(2) = 54

We are now able to state the remainder theorem.

Now consider another example of a cubic polynomial

divided by a linear divisor. The Remainder Theorem

If f (x) is any polynomial and f (x) is divided

2x 2 + 7x + 18 by (x − a) , then the remainder is f (a).

x + 2 2x 3 − 3x 2 + 4x + 5

The validity of this theorem can be tested in any of

− (2x 3 + 4x 2 ) the equations above, for example:

− 7x 2 + 4x + 5

− (7x 2 − 14x) 1. When 3𝑥 - − 𝑥 + 2 was divided by (𝑥 − 1),

the remainder was 4.

18x + 5

−(18x + 36) According to the remainder theorem, the remainder

− 31 can be computed by substituting 𝑥 = 1 in 𝑓(𝑥)

𝑓(𝑥) = 3𝑥 - − 𝑥 + 2

𝑓(1) = 3(1)- − 1 + 2

From the above example, we can deduce that: 𝑓(1) = 4

2𝑥 4 − 3𝑥 - + 4𝑥 + 5 = (2𝑥 - + 𝑥 + 18)(𝑥 + 2) − 31

↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ 2. When 𝑥 4 + 12𝑥 - − 3𝑥 + 4 was divided by

Dividend Quotient Divisor Remainder

(𝑥 − 2), the remainder was 54.

Consider (𝑥 + 2) = 0,

According to the remainder theorem, the remainder

𝑓(𝑥) = (2𝑥 - + 𝑥 + 18) × 0 − 31 = −31

can be computed by substituting 𝑥 = 2 in 𝑓(𝑥)

𝑓(𝑥) = 𝑥 4 + 12𝑥 - − 3𝑥 + 4

But, (𝑥 + 2) = 0 implies that 𝑥 = −2

𝑓(2) = (2)4 + 12(2)- − 3(2) + 4

Therefore, when 𝑥 = −2, 𝑓(𝑥) = −31 or

𝑓(2) = 8 + 48 − 6 + 4

𝑓(−2) = −31.

𝑓(2) = 54

The above rule is called the Factor Theorem, it is a

3. When 2𝑥 4 − 3𝑥 - + 4𝑥 + 5 was divided by special case of the Remainder Theorem, when 𝑅 = 0.

(𝑥 + 2) the remainder was −31. The validity of this theorem can be tested by

substituting 𝑥 = 1 in each of the above functions.

According to the remainder theorem, the remainder

can be computed by substituting 𝑥 = −2 in 𝑓(𝑥) 𝑓(𝑥) = 3𝑥 - − 𝑥 − 2 𝑓(𝑥) = 8𝑥 4 − 10𝑥 - − 𝑥 + 3

𝑓(−2) = 2(−2)4 − 3(−2)- + 4(−2) + 5 +3

𝑓(1) = 0

𝑓(−2) = −16 − 12 − 8 + 5 𝑓(1) = 0

𝑓(−2) = −31

Find the remainder when 𝑥 = 1, 𝑓(𝑥) = 0 because the remainder, 𝑅 = 0.

𝑓(𝑥) = 3𝑥 4 + 𝑥 - − 4𝑥 − 1 is divided by (𝑥 − 2).

Solution If f (x) is any polynomial and f (x) is divided

by (x − a) , and the remainder f (a) = 0 then

By the Remainder Theorem, the remainder is 𝑓(2).

(x − a) is a factor of f (x)

𝑓(𝑥) = 3𝑥 4 + 𝑥 - − 4𝑥 − 1

𝑓(2) = 3(2)4 + (2)- − 4(2) − 1

𝑓(2) = 24 + 4 − 8 − 1

Example 2

𝑓(2) = 19

Hence, the remainder is 19 Show that (𝑥 − 2) is a factor of

𝑓(𝑥) = 3𝑥 4 + 𝑥 - − 14𝑥

Solution

Now, consider the following examples when there is

no remainder. By the Factor Theorem, if (𝑥 − 2) is a factor of

the remainder is zero. We now compute the

remainder, 𝑓(2).

3x + 2 8x 2 − 2x − 3 𝑓(𝑥) = 3𝑥 4 + 𝑥 - − 14𝑥

x −1 3x − x − 2

2

x −1 8x 3 −10x 2 − x + 3 𝑓(2) = 3(2)4 + (2)- − 14(2)

− (3x 2 − 3x) 𝑓(2) = 24 + 4 − 28

− (8x 3 − 8x 2 )

𝑓(2) = 0

2x − 2 − 2x 2 − x + 3

− (2x − 2) − (−2x 2 + 2x) Hence, (𝑥 − 2) is a factor of 𝑓(𝑥).

0 − 3x + 3

−(3x + 3)

0 The Remainder and Factor Theorem for

divisor (𝒂𝒙 + 𝒃)

When the divisor is not in the form, (x − a) , but in the

We can express the dividend as a product of the divisor general linear form (𝑎𝑥 + 𝑏), the remainder can no

and the quotient only, since 𝑅 = 0. longer be 𝑓(𝑎). This is because the coefficient of x is

not equal to one.

𝑓(𝑥) = 3𝑥 - − 𝑥 − 2 = (3𝑥 + 2)(𝑥 − 1)

𝑓(𝑥) = 8𝑥 4 − 10𝑥 - − 𝑥 + 3 = (8𝑥 - − 2𝑥 − 3)(𝑥 − 1) Consider the following example, where the divisor is

of the form, (𝑎𝑥 + 𝑏).

We can now formulate the following expression where

𝑓(𝑥) is a polynomial, 𝑄(𝑥) is the quotient and (𝑥 − 𝑎) Let (2𝑥 + 3) be a divisor of

is a factor of the polynomial. 𝑓(𝑥) = 2𝑥 4 + 7𝑥 - + 2𝑥 + 9

We perform the division as shown below and note

𝑓(𝑥) = 𝑄(𝑥) × (𝑥 − 𝑎) that the remainder is 15.

x 2 + 2x − 2 where, f (x) is a polynomial whose quotient is Q(x)

2x + 3 2x + 7x 2 + 2x + 9

3

and the remainder is R when divided by (𝑎𝑥 + 𝑏).

By setting (𝑎𝑥 + 𝑏) = 0, the above polynomial will

− (2x 3 + 3x 2 )

become

4x 2 + 2x + 9 𝑓(𝑥) = 𝑅

− (4x 2 + 6x) When (𝑎𝑥 + 𝑏) = 0, 𝑥 = − .

D

− 4x + 9 E

−(4x − 6) Now, since

D

15 𝑓(𝑥) = 𝑅, when 𝑥 = − , we conclude that

E

𝑏

𝑓 F− G = 𝑅

𝑎

We can deduce that: We are now in a position to restate the remainder

theorem when the divisor is of the form ( ax + b ) .

2𝑥 4 + 7𝑥 - + 2𝑥 + 9 = (𝑥 - + 2𝑥 − 2)(2𝑥 + 3) + 15

𝑓(𝑥) = (𝑥 - + 2𝑥 − 2) × 0 + 15 = 15 If f ( x ) is any polynomial and f ( x ) is divided by

4

But, (2𝑥 + 3) = 0 implies that 𝑥 = − -.

æ bö

4

Therefore, when 𝑥 = − -, 𝑓(𝑥) = 15 or

( ax + b ) then the remainder is f ç- ÷ .

è aø

4

𝑓 A− -B = 15. æ bö

If f ç - ÷ = 0, then ( ax + b ) is a factor of f ( x ) .

We can conclude that when the polynomial è aø

2𝑥 4 + 7𝑥 - + 2𝑥 + 9 is divided by (2𝑥 + 3), the

4

remainder is 𝑓 A− -B = 15 We apply the Remainder Theorem to obtain the

Now consider the example below. remainder when 𝑓(𝑥) = 2𝑥 4 + 7𝑥 - + 2𝑥 + 9 was

divided by (2𝑥 + 3).

By the Remainder Theorem, the remainder is

3x 2 + 6x − 1 4

𝑓 A− -B.

3x − 1 9x 3 + 15x 2 − 9x + 1

3 3 3 3

− (9x 3 − 3x 2 ) 𝑓 F− G = 2(− )4 + 7(− )- + 2(− ) + 9

2 2 2 2

18x 2 − 9x + 1 3 27 63

𝑓 F− G = − + −3+9

− (18x 2 − 6x) 2

3

4 4

− 3x + 1 𝑓 F− G = 15

2

− (−3x + 1) We can apply the Factor Theorem to show that

0 (3𝑥 − 1) is a factor of 𝑓(𝑥), where

𝑓(𝑥) = 9𝑥 4 + 15𝑥 - − 9𝑥 + 1

We can deduce that: By the Factor Theorem (3𝑥 − 1) is a factor of 𝑓(𝑥).

C

if 𝑓 A B = 0,

4 - (3𝑥 - 4

9𝑥 + 15𝑥 − 9𝑥 + 1 = + 6𝑥 − 1)(3𝑥 − 1)

𝑓(𝑥) = 9𝑥 4 + 15𝑥 - − 9𝑥 + 1

Consider (3𝑥 − 1) = 0, 1 1 4 1 - 1

𝑓 F G = 9 F G + 15 F G − 9 F G + 1

𝑓(𝑥) = (3𝑥 - + 6𝑥 − 1) × 0 = 0 3 3 3 3

C

But, (3𝑥 − 1) = 0 implies that 𝑥 = 4. 1 1 5

C

Therefore, when 𝑥 = 4, 𝑓(𝑥) = 0 or 𝑓 A4B = 0.

C 𝑓F G = + −3+1 = 0

3 3 3

We can conclude that when the polynomial

9𝑥 4 + 15𝑥 - − 9𝑥 + 1 is divided by (3𝑥 − 1), the Hence, (3𝑥 − 1) is a factor of 𝑓(𝑥).

C

remainder is 𝑓 A B = 0. Instead of performing long division, we can apply the

4

So, (3𝑥 − 1) is a factor of 9𝑥 4 + 15𝑥 - − 9𝑥 + 1 remainder theorem to find the remainder when a

polynomial is divided by a linear expression of the

D

From the above examples, we can formulate the form (ax + b). The remainder, 𝑅 = 𝑓 A− EB when the

following expression: polynomial is divided by the linear factor.

𝑓(𝑥) = 𝑄(𝑥) × (𝑎𝑥 + 𝑏) + 𝑅

3x 2 + 6x + 8

We can use the factor theorem to show that a linear

expression of the form (ax + b) is a factor of a 2x − 4 6x + 0x 2 − 8x + 5

3

D

𝑅 = 𝑓 A− B is zero when the polynomial is divided

E 12x 2 − 8x + 5

by the linear factor. − (12x 2 − 24x)

16x + 5

−(16x − 32)

Example 3

37

Find the remainder when

f ( x ) = 4x3 + 2x2 - 3x + 1 is divided by ( 2x -1) . The quotient is 3𝑥 - + 6𝑥 + 8

Solution The Remainder is 37

In this example ( 2x -1) is of the form ( ax + b ) ,

Factorising and Solving Polynomials

where a = 2 and b = -1

We can use the factor theorem to factorise or solve a

The remainder would be polynomial. However, to factorise a polynomial of the

æ - ( -1) ö æ1ö form ax3 + bx 2 + cx + d it would be helpful to know

fç ÷= f ç ÷.

è 2 ø è2ø one linear factor. Then we can obtain the other factors

3 2 by the process of long division.

æ1ö æ1ö æ1ö æ1ö

f ç ÷ = 4 ç ÷ + 2 ç ÷ - 3ç ÷ + 1

è2ø è2ø è2ø è 2ø Example 5

1 1 1 1 Show that (2x + 3) is a factor of

= + -1 +1 =

2 2 2 2 f ( x ) = 2 x3 + 3x2 - 2 x - 3 .

show that the remainder is one half. Solution

When f(x) is divided by ( 2 x + 3) , the remainder is

2 x 2 + 2 x - 12 f (- 32 ) = 2(- 32 )3 + 3(- 32 )2 - 2(- 32 ) - 3 = 0

2 x - 1 4 x3 + 2 x 2 - 3x - 1 Hence, ( 2 x + 3) is a factor of f ( x ) since the

remainder is 0.

- 4 x3 - 2 x 2

4 x 2 - 3x Example 6

Factorise, 𝑓(𝑥) = 2 x + 3x - 29 x - 60 and hence

3 2

- 4x2 - 2x

solve f ( x ) = 0 .

- x +1

- - x + 12 Solution

1

Let f ( x) = 2 x3 + 3x 2 - 29 x - 60 .

2 To obtain the first factor, we use the remainder

theorem to test for f(1), f(-1) and so on, until we

Example 4 obtain a remainder of zero.

State the quotient and the remainder when

6𝑥 4 − 8𝑥 + 5 is divided by by 2𝑥 − 4 We found that,

f (4) = 2(4)3 + 3(4) 2 - 29(4) - 60 = 128 + 48 - 116 - 60 = 0

𝑓(4) = 0

Solution

Therefore (x – 4 ) is a factor of f(x).

In this example, the dividend has no terms in 𝑥 - . It is

advisable to add on such a term to maintain

Now that we have found a first factor, we divide

consistency between the quotient and the divisor. This

f(x) by ( x – 4).

is done by inserting a term in 𝑥 - as shown below.

2x 2 + 11x + 15 Example 8

x - 4 2 x + 3 x - 29 x - 60

3 2 If ( x + 3) and ( x - 4) are both factors of

11x 2 - 29 x Solution

- 11x 2 - 44 x Let the third factor be (𝑎𝑥 + 𝑏).

15 x - 60 We can write the expression as a product of three

linear factors as shown.

- 15 x - 60

0 2 x3 + 3x 2 - 29 x - 60 = ( x + 3)( x - 4 )( ax + b )

2 x2 + 11x + 15 = ( x + 3)( 2 x + 5) x ´ x ´ ax = 2 x3

\ f ( x ) = ( 2 x + 5)( x + 3)( x - 4) \a = 2

If f ( x ) = 0, then ( 2 x + 5)( x + 3)( x - 4) = 0. And

C 3 ´ -4 ´ b = -60

So 𝑥 = −3, 2 - and 4.

\b = 5

Example 7 Hence, ( ax + b ), the third factor, is ( 2 x + 5).

Factorise x3 - x 2 + 4 x - 12 and hence show that ( x + 3)( x - 4) = x2 - x -12

x3 - x 2 + 4 x - 12 = 0 has only one solution. Alternatively, we may divide 2 x3 + 3 x 2 - 29 x - 60

by x 2 - x - 12 .

Solution

To get the first factor, we apply the remainder 2x + 5

theorem as follows:

x - x - 12 2 x 3 + 3x 2 - 29 x - 60

2

3 2

- 2 x 3 - 2 x 2 - 24 x

f ( -1) = ( -1) - ( -1) + 4 ( -1) - 12 ¹ 0

3 2

5 x 2 - 5 x - 60

f ( 2 ) = ( 2 ) - ( 2 ) + 4 ( 2 ) - 12 = 0

3 2

- 5 x 2 - 5 x - 60

Hence, ( x - 2) is a factor of f ( x) . 0

Dividing by the factor ( x - 2) \ The third factor is ( 2 x + 5) .

x2 + x + 6

x - 2 x 3 - x 2 + 4 x - 12 Example 9

- x - 2x

3 2 Solve for x in x3 - 2 x 2 - 7 x + 12 = 0 , giving the

answer to 2 decimal places where necessary.

x 2 + 4 x - 12

- x2 - 2x Solution

6 x - 12 Recall: If f ( x ) is any polynomial and f ( x ) is

- 6 x - 12

divided by ( x - a ) , then the remainder is f ( a ) .

0

If the remainder f ( a ) = 0 , then ( x - a ) is a factor

x3 - x 2 + 4 x - 12

= ( x - 2)( x 2 + x + 6) of f ( x ) .

First test to see if (𝑥 − 1) is a factor.

Þ ( x - 2) = 0 or ( x 2 + x + 6) = 0

Þx=2

Let f ( x ) = x3 - 2x2 - 7 x + 12

The quadratic x 2 + x + 6 has no real roots because

f (1) = (1) - 2 (1) - 7 (1) + 12 ¹ 0

3 2

the discriminant

b 2 - 4ac = (1) 2 - 4(1)(6) = 1 - 25 = -24 < 0 \( x -1) is not a factor of f ( x ) .

Hence, x - x + 4 x - 12 = 0 has only one

3 2

f ( -1) = ( -1) - 2 ( -1) - 7 ( -1) + 12 ¹ 0

3 2

\( x + 1) is not a factor of f ( x ) .

Now, try (𝑥 − 2)

f ( 2 ) = ( 2 ) - 2 ( 2 ) - 7 ( 2 ) + 12 ¹ 0

3 2

\( x - 2) is not a factor of f ( x ) .

Try (𝑥 + 2)

f ( -2 ) = ( -2 ) - 2 ( -2 ) - 7 ( -2 ) + 12 ¹ 0

3 2

\( x + 2) is not a factor of f ( x ) .

Try (𝑥 − 3)

f ( 3) = (3)3 – 2(3)2 -7(3) +12 = 0

\ ( x - 3) is a factor of f ( x ) .

Now we divide f ( x ) by ( x - 3) .

x2 + x - 4

x - 3 x 3 - 2 x 2 - 7 x + 12

- x3 - 3x 2

x 2 - 7 x + 12

- x 2 - 3x

- 4 x + 12

- -4 x + 12

0

2 decimal places, we deduce that x 2 + x - 4 = 0

would not have exact roots. We, therefore, employ

the quadratic equation formula to find the roots.

-b ± b2 - 4ac

If ax 2 + bx + c = 0 , then x = ,

2a

2

x=

2 (1)

-1 ± 17

=

2

= 1.561 or - 2.561

= 1.56 or - 2.56 (correct to 2 decimal places)

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