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Factoring Monomials

We know that the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic states that any whole number can be written uniquely as a product of prime
factors. What about factoring monomials?

The "prime factorization" of a monomial is its expression as a product of prime numbers, single variables, and (possibly) a –1.

Example:

Find the prime factorization of –27p2qr5.

27 can be written as 3 · 3 · 3. Then just write the powers out the long way, and multiply by –1.

–27p2qr5 = –1 · 3 · 3 · 3 · p · p · q · r · r · r · r · r

Factors

In general, a factor is any of the numbers that can be multiplied together to create another number. But, the definition changes a little
according to what kind of math you're doing.

For whole numbers a and n:

We say a is a factor of n if ab = n for some whole number b.

For example, 3 is a factor of 21, since 3 · 7 = 21.

But 4 is not a factor of 21, since there is no whole number b for which 4b = 21.

For polynomials p and r:

We say p is a factor of r if pq = r for some polynomial r.

For example, x + 1 is a factor of x2 – 2x – 3, since

(x + 1)(x – 3) = x2 – 2x – 3.

But x + 2 is not a factor of x2 – 2x – 3, since there is no polynomial q for which (x + 2)(q) = x2 – 2x – 3.

Common Factors

If two numbers (or polynomials) have a factor in common, then it is called a common factor.

For instance, the numbers 15 and 33 have 3 as a common factor.

The polynomials

4x + 4 and x2 – 2x – 3

have x + 1 as a common factor.

The Whole Numbers

The whole numbers are the natural numbers together with 0; that is, the set

{0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ....}
The set of whole numbers is a subset of the integers, but does not include the negative integers.

The Venn diagrams below shows the relationships of the various sets of numbers.

Monomials, Binomials, Polynomials

A monomial is any product of numbers and variables, like 17, or 3xy, or –4x2, or

The only rules are that the variables should be raised to only positive integer powers (no square roots or 1/x's allowed), and no plus or
minus signs.

A binomial is the sum of two monomials, for example x + 3, or 55x2 – 33y2, or

A trinomial is the sum of three monomials.

A polynomial is the sum of n monomials, for some whole number n. So monomials, binomials and trinomials are all special cases of
polynomials. A polynomial can have as many terms as you want.

The Natural Numbers

The natural numbers are the counting numbers. They are the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so forth.

Some textbooks disagree and say the natural numbers include 0, also, and use the term counting numbers for the set {1, 2, 3, 4,
5, ...}.

The set of natural numbers is a subsets of the integers, but does not include the negative integers (or, usually, 0).
The Venn diagrams below shows the relationships of the various sets of numbers.

enn Diagrams

Venn diagrams are a way to graphically represent sets, subsets, intersections, and unions. They are named after John Venn, who
started using them in 1880.

Suppose R is the set of all reptiles, S is the set of all creatures that live in the sea, and M is the set of all mammals. We get the Venn
diagram:

The region labelled R S is the intersection of R and S; the set of reptiles which live in the sea. Similarly S M is the set of
mammals that live in the sea. Since there is no such thing as an animal which is both a reptile and a mammal, the intersection R M
is empty (the R and M regions don't cross over each other).

Below we show some examples of animals in each category of the Venn diagram.
For another example, let A = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5}, B = {2, 3}, C = {3, 4}, D = {5, 6}. A Venn diagram for this situation would look like this:

Unique Prime Factorization

The Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic states that every natural number greater than 1 can be written as a product of prime
numbers, and that up to rearrangement of the factors, this product is unique. This is called the prime factorization (or PF for short)
of the number.

Example:

36 = 6 × 6 = 9 × 4 = 12 × 3 = 18 × 2,

but all are equal to 2 × 2 × 3 × 3.

This is the PF of 36, often written with exponents:

36 = 22 × 32

You can use these PFs to figure out GCFs (Greatest Common Factors), LCMs (Least Common Multiples), and the number (and sum)
of divisors of n.

The Prime Page

First, the basic definition:

A prime number is a natural number with exactly two positive divisors: itself and 1.
Some examples are 2, 7, 97, and 2729. (Note that with only one divisor, 1 is not a prime.)

Prime numbers are fascinating on their own, but have lots of cool and scary applications!

How do you tell "primes" from "non-primes"?

If I give you a small number, like 15, you can tell it's not prime because 15 = 3 × 5, so that 15 has divisors other than 1 and 15 itself.
Numbers like this are called composite numbers.

If you have a larger number like 91 or 97 you have to work a little; try dividing in small primes in order:

2, 3, 5, 7, 11, . . . (see table below).

If any of them go into your number evenly, it's composite.

With 91 you try 2, 3, and 5; they don't go in evenly (they leave a remainder); but 91 ÷ 7 = 13.

This means 91 = 7 × 13, so it's not a prime after all.

What about 97? None of those little primes 2, 3, 5, or 7 go into 97. When can we stop? At 97? 50?

Well, the next prime is 11 and if 11 went into 97, then 11 × m = 97. But 11 × 11 = 121 97, and we already tested all the numbers m
11. So 97 must be prime; we can stop!

A number is prime if no prime, whose square is less than the number, goes into the number.

This trick is sometimes called The Sieve of Erasthosthenes after its inventor, the ancient Greek mathematician Erasthosthenes of
Cyrene (276-194 B.C.).

Table of the First 400 Prime Numbers:

2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71, 73, 79, 83, 89, 97, 101, 103, 107, 109, 113, 127, 131, 137, 139,
149, 151, 157, 163, 167, 173, 179, 181, 191, 193, 197, 199, 211, 223, 227, 229, 233, 239, 241, 251, 257, 263, 269, 271, 277, 281, 283,
293, 307, 311, 313, 317, 331, 337, 347, 349, 353, 359, 367, 373, 379, 383, 389, 397, 401, 409, 419, 421, 431, 433, 439, 443, 449, 457,
461, 463, 467, 479, 487, 491, 499, 503, 509, 521, 523, 541, 547, 557, 563, 569, 571, 577, 587, 593, 599, 601, 607, 613, 617, 619, 631,
641, 643, 647, 653, 659, 661, 673, 677, 683, 691, 701, 709, 719, 727, 733, 739, 743, 751, 757, 761, 769, 773, 787, 797, 809, 811, 821,
823, 827, 829, 839, 853, 857, 859, 863, 877, 881, 883, 887, 907, 911, 919, 929, 937, 941, 947, 953, 967, 971, 977, 983, 991, 997,
1009, 1013, 1019, 1021, 1031, 1033, 1039, 1049, 1051, 1061, 1063, 1069, 1087, 1091, 1093, 1097, 1103, 1109, 1117, 1123, 1129,
1151, 1153, 1163, 1171, 1181, 1187, 1193, 1201, 1213, 1217, 1223, 1229, 1231, 1237, 1249, 1259, 1277, 1279, 1283, 1289, 1291,
1297, 1301, 1303, 1307, 1319, 1321, 1327, 1361, 1367, 1373, 1381, 1399, 1409, 1423, 1427, 1429, 1433, 1439, 1447, 1451, 1453,
1459, 1471, 1481, 1483, 1487, 1489, 1493, 1499, 1511, 1523, 1531, 1543, 1549, 1553, 1559, 1567, 1571, 1579, 1583, 1597, 1601,
1607, 1609, 1613, 1619, 1621, 1627, 1637, 1657, 1663, 1667, 1669, 1693, 1697, 1699, 1709, 1721, 1723, 1733, 1741, 1747, 1753,
1759, 1777, 1783, 1787, 1789, 1801, 1811, 1823, 1831, 1847, 1861, 1867, 1871, 1873, 1877, 1879, 1889, 1901, 1907, 1913, 1931,
1933, 1949, 1951, 1973, 1979, 1987, 1993, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2011, 2017, 2027, 2029, 2039, 2053, 2063, 2069, 2081, 2083, 2087,
2089, 2099, 2111, 2113, 2129, 2131, 2137, 2141, 2143, 2153, 2161, 2179, 2203, 2207, 2213, 2221, 2237, 2239, 2243, 2251, 2267,
2269, 2273, 2281, 2287, 2293, 2297, 2309, 2311, 2333, 2339, 2341, 2347, 2351, 2357, 2371, 2377, 2381, 2383, 2389, 2393, 2399,
2411, 2417, 2423, 2437, 2441, 2447, 2459, 2467, 2473, 2477, 2503, 2521, 2531, 2539, 2543, 2549, 2551, 2557, 2579, 2591, 2593,
2609, 2617, 2621, 2633, 2647, 2657, 2659, 2663, 2671, 2677, 2683, 2687, 2689, 2693, 2699, 2707, 2711, 2713, 2719, 2729, 2731,
2741

Do the primes ever stop? They seem to be getting farther apart...

There are 25 primes under 100:

2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71, 73, 79, 83, 89, 97

But there are only 21 in the next 100:

101, 103, 107, 109, 113, 127, 131, 137, 139, 149, 151, 157, 163, 167, 173, 179, 181, 191, 193, 197, 199
And just 16 in the third 100:

211, 223, 227, 229, 233, 239, 241, 251, 257, 263, 269, 271, 277, 281, 283, 293.

Here's some heavy math, if you're interested:

The Prime Number Theorem

Let π(n) represent the number of primes less than a number n. (So, for example, π(10) = 4 since there are four primes less than ten: 2,
3, 5, and 7.)

Then

where ≈ means that for big numbers n, the left side and the right side are close, and ln n means the natural logarithm of n.

This theorem can be used to approximate the number of primes less than a certain number. (There are better estimates, but we're
getting into some serious college-level stuff here.)

Note this is a completely different use of the symbol π than the usual 3.14159... one.

Infinitely Many Primes

Euclid proved over 2400 years ago that there are an infinite number of primes. He used the following proof by contradiction.

Suppose there are a finite number of primes. Then let p1, p2, p3, . . . , pk be the whole list.

Define N = (p1 × p2 × p3× . . . × pk) + 1.

Then none of the known primes goes into N because they all leave a remainder of 1.

So either N is a new prime or else it factors into primes that are not on our list!

This contradicts the assumption of the finite list of primes.

Q.E.D.

Twin Primes

Twin primes are consecutive odd numbers that are both prime, like 11 and 13, or 227 and 229.

If you look carefully at the big list up above, you'll see that even though generally the primes are getting farther and farther apart, you
still run into a few twin primes in the high numbers... for example, 2729 and 2731.

QUESTION: Are there infinitely many pairs of twin primes?

ANSWER: Nobody knows!

The person who proves that the answer is yes or no will become instantly world famous and earn lots of money. So get to work!
HE ALGEBRA LINEUP: IDENTIFY THE FACTORS OF A MONOMIAL

After we learn how to multiply polynomials, the next step is learning how to go the other direction; or how to find the
elements which were multiplied together to give the final product. We often think of this as "multiplying in reverse."

In the math world it is called "factoring".

Take for example the number 24. It has many factors like the 6 and 4 shown below.

The monomial has several factors also, like the shown above.
Other factors of 24 are:

1*24
2*12
3*8

Other factors of are:

Let's try to identify factors with a little head start.

...What can we multiply x to the fifth power by to get x to the eighth power?

Remember, when we multiply monomials, we add the exponents. So the needed factor here is .

Try these and then click the answer link to see if you are correct.

Answers:
ntroduction to Factoring Monomials:

In mathematics, in the context of polynomials, the word monomial means one of two different things:

• The first meaning is a product of powers of variables, or formally any value obtained from 1 by finitely many
multiplications by a variable.

For example, x is a monomial

is a monomial

is a monomial

• The second meaning of monomial includes monomials in the first sense, but also allows multiplication by any constant

For example, is a monomial

also a monomial.

(Source: From Wikipedia)

Factoring Monomials

Factor the following monomials

Ex 1: Factor completely the monomial,

Sol : The prime factors of 28 is given by,

28 = 2 * 2 * 7

The prime factorization of is given by,

=x*x*x

The prime factorization of is given by,

=y*y

So, the factors of the monomial

=2*2*7* x*x*x*y*y

Ex 2 : Find the factors of


Sol : The factors of = (-1) * 2 * x * x

Finding Gcf of Monomials by Factoring

Finding GCF of two or more monomials is finding the common factors between the prime factorization of the given monomials. Here
we are going to learn, how to find the gcf of monomials by factoring.

Q 1: Find the GCF of the monomials, 2x3y and 18x2y3

Sol : The prime factorization of 2x3y = 2 * x * x * x * y

The prime factorization of 18x2y3 = 2 * 3 * 3 * x * x * y * y * y

The common factors are 2 * x * x * y

So, the gcf of the given monomials, 2x3y and 18x2y3 is 2x2y

Ex 2 : Find the gcf of the monomials 8x3yz2, -10xy4z2 and 6xyz3

Sol : The prime factorization of 8x3yz2 = 2 * 2 * 2 * x * x * x * y * z * z

The prime factorization of -10xy4z2 = -1 * 2 * 5 * x * y * y * y * y * z * z

The prime factorization of 6xyz3 = 2 * 3 * x * y * z * z * z

The common factors are 2xyz2

So, the gcf of 8x3yz2, -10xy4z2 and 6xyz3 is 2xyz2

.2 Monomials, Polynomials and Factoring

Monomial : An algebraic expression which contains only one term is called the monomial expression. For
example

Binomial : An algebraic expression consisting of two terms is called a Binomial expression. For example,
( 4 a + 5 b ),

Similarly, we can define trinomial etc.

Like terms : Terms which involve the same letter and the same index ( i.e. power ) are ‘like terms’ . For

example 2a and 3 a , , , 3 xy and - xy etc.

Addition and Subtraction of Monomials :


To add or subtract monomials, use the same rules as with directed (signed) numbers, provided the terms
are alike.

Example Add 20 a2 b c + 4 a2 b c

Solution : 20 a2 b c + 4 a2 b c = ( 20 + 4 ) a2 b c

= 24 a2 b c

Note that the addition of like terms is done by adding their coefficients (taken with their signs ) and
multiplying this sum by the common letter or letters.

Perform the operations indicated :

Example 7 x - 2 x

Solution : 7 x - 2 x = ( 7 - 2 ) x

=5x

Example 10 x2 + 3 x2 - 5 x2

Solution : 10 x2 + 3 x2 - 5 x2 = ( 10 + 3 - 5 ) x2

= 8 x2

actoring Numbers

The ability to factor a number is an important skill to learn. You will be required to come up with all the factors of a number quickly
when doing more complicated algebra later on in school. This lesson will get you up to speed on the basic ideas of factoring.

A factor of a number is one that divides into the number evenly. That is, 6 is a factor of 12 because 12 divided by 6 is exactly 2. The
number 5 is not a factor of 12, because 12 divided by 5 is 2.4.

It is easy to find all the factors of a small number, like 3. The only numbers that divide evenly into 3 are 1 and 3. Finding the factors of
an enormous number, like 64,448, can be very hard, because there could be several hundred factors. You will likely need to find
factors of numbers in between, like 42. The first step is to recognize that 42 is an even number, and is divisible by 2. That operation
reveals another factor, 21.
Since 2 goes evenly into 42, the result must also be true. 21 goes into 42 twice. Now we have four factors: 42, 21, 2, and 1, since the
number and 1 are always factors of any number. We know that there aren't any more numbers that divide into the 2, but 21 is 7 x 3.
That means that 7 and 3 are also factors.

After dividing 42 by 7 and 3, we discovered the last two factors, 6 and 14. We now have a total of 8 factors: 42, 21, 14, 7, 6, 3, 2, 1.
No combinations of those numbers will give us any more factors, so we must be finished factoring 42.

That number was easy enough to factor because it was even, so we could start with 2. What about a more difficult number, like 81?
The best idea is to try a few small odd numbers, like 3,5 and 7, to see if any of them divide evenly. It is also a good idea to check the
number to see if it is prime, in which case it would only have 2 factors: itself and 1.

Sure enough, 81 is divisible by 3, giving 27 as an answer. That means that atleast 1, 3, 27, and 81 are factors of 81. We know that 27 is
9 x 3, so 9 is an additional factor. No other numbers work, so 1, 3, 9, 27, and 81 are the only 5 factors of 81.

That's really all there is to factoring a number. For more information, feel free to browse our site or visit the message board. You
might also like to read some more lessons on factoring from other sites.

Factoring Numbers Lessons

Every number has at least four factors (2 pairs). The first two are 1 and the number itself. The second two are -1 and the number with
its opposite sign. Therefore the first 4 factors of 17 are:

• 1 & 17
• -1 & -17

The first four factors of -12 would be:

• 1 & -12
• -1 & 12
Unless you know that the number is prime (by referencing it with a prime number chart), finding other factors is a process of Trial and
Error. All of the operations you'll need to find other factors can be done in your head or by using a pencil and paper, but using a
calculator will speed things up a bit.

The next page will help you learn how to find all of the factors of the number 18.

Factoring Numbers

Using what was explained on the last page you know that the first two factors of 18 are 1 and 18. The second two factors are the exact
opposite, -1 and -18.

Start with the number 2 then divide 18 by each number. If the result of the division is a number without any digits after the decimal
(i.e. 5 or 3 not 4.2 or 3.4444), or without a remainder when using long division, then the number you divided by and the result
(quotient) from that division are both factors. For example:

The above problem divides out evenly, therefore 2 and 9 are factors of 18. The opposites of 2 and 9 are -2 and -9, and they are also
factors of 18.

As you can see above, 3 divides evenly into 18, therefore 3 and 6 are factors of 18. The opposites of 3 and 6 are -3 and -6 which are
also factors.

The remainder of 2 indicates that the number 4 does not divide evenly into 18, therefore it is not a factor. The number five (below) is
not a factor because it does not divide evenly either.

As you can see above, the result of 18 divided by 5 without the remainder is 3. Since we already divided 18 by 3 we can stop
searching for factors here. The complete list of factors of 18 is shown below, in order from least to greatest:

(-18, -9, -6, -3, -2, -1, 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 18)