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# 3.

## 1 – Solving Logarithmic Equations

You may recall we solved some logarithmic equations already in section 4.3. Let’s see what
you remember, try solving each of the following:
3
1 Solve: STO! 2 2 Solve: STO! 1
4

For each of these simple equations, finding the solution involves converting to exponential form. This is a
common method for solving logarithmic equation, so let’s call it a type 1 logarithmic equation.
Now, as we’re want to do in Math 30-1, we’re going to kick things up a notch. Let’s consider logarithmic
equations that involve first applying laws of logarithms or some other simplification.
3 Simplify the left side of the following equation using log laws. STO STO 5 3
Then, algebraically solve:

the original equation.

## 6 Graphically solve the equation from #4 using your calculator.

3.6 Solving Logarithmic Equations and Log Scales

## To solve a logarithmic equation:

Step 1 On one or both sides, use laws of logarithms to write separate terms as a
single logarithm of coefficient 1.

Step 2 If there is only a logarithmic term on one side, then convert to exponential form.
If there are log terms on both sides, then set what’s being logged on both sides equal to one
another. (That is, drop the logarithms)

## Step 3 Isolate for , and numerically verify any answers.

Note: Be suspect of your solutions! Sometimes solutions that appear valid would result in logging a
negative when substituting back into the original equation. That – is not allowed! In such cases we label
the offending solution as EXTRANEOUS and reject it.

## Algebraically solve the equation VWX* % 8 \$ VWX* % ' , and numerically

Worked Example
verify any solutions.

Solution: STO 8 STO 1 1 Arrange log terms on one side, non-log term on the other

## 6 0 Expand and set equation to zero

3 82 0 FACTOR to solve
TEST / verify each solution by substituting back into the original equation:
or \$
STO 82 3 STO 1 STO \$ 82 3 STO \$ 1
2 is EXTRANEOUS
STO 3 8 2 3 STO 2 STO 2 82 3 STO 3
%
 % \$ is rejected as it would
have us taking the log of negatives
 (not allowed!)

Solve Graphically:

 Either graph &' left side,  For LOG equations, or any other similar,
&\$ right side of equation Solution(s) are any -coords
EXTRANEOUS solutions do not show up on your
“as is”, or, as in this case, first of the pts of intersect
graphing calc. This is a useful double-check!
set the equation to 0.

Class Example 3.61 Solving Logarithmic Equations that involve a constant term

## Use an algebraic process to solve the following STO6 5 8 STO6 83 1

equation. Verify both numerically and graphically.

Chapter 3 – Exponential and Logarithmic Functions

## Algebraically solve the equation VWX % VWX % 8 0 8 VWX , and

Worked Example
numerically verify any solutions.

Sol: STO 3 STO 85 STO 3 Arrange the “ ” log terms on one side, “non- ” log terms on the other

3
STO STO 3 Use log laws to simplify each side into a single logarithm with a coefficient of 1
85

3 Since the logs are the same, the arguments (what’s “being logged”) must
3 equal one another. Set the arguments equal. (drop the logarithms)
85
Cross-multiply to solve
3 85 3 Test / verify solution by substituting back into the original equation:
3 8 15 3 STO 3 STO 85 STO 3

## 4 12 STO 6 STO 2 STO 3 NOTE that even though the solution is

negative, substituting into the original
6   equation does not result in “logging
% STO STO 3
2 negatives”. So we do not reject this solution!

Class Example 3.62 Solving Logarithmic Equations where all terms involve logs

Use an algebraic process to solve each of the following equations. Verify both numerically and graphically.
(a) STO 9 2 STO 2 STO (b) STO 2 STO 6 STO 1

Class Example 3.63 Solving Logarithmic Equations that involve a constant term

## Use an algebraic process to solve the 1

STO 82 STO 4
following equation. Verify numerically. 2

3.6 Solving Logarithmic Equations and Log Scales

## 2 – Applications Involving Logarithmic Scales

Moore’s Law is the observation that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit
doubles about every two years. It named after Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel, who
first made this prediction in 1965.

While it is not logically sound to extrapolate into the indefinite future, this observation has roughly held
between 1971 and 2018. Below is a plot showing the transistor count of various microchips, which some key
specific microchips labeled.

## Apple A12X Bionic

Xbox One main SoC

Core 2 Duo

80286

## Intel 8086 Pentium

Intel 4004
(2250 transistors)

This plot is an example of a logarithmic scale. In this version, every increase of 2 (years) on the horizontal
scale corresponds to a 2-fold increase on the vertical scale (transistor count). That is, the horizontal axis is
linear, while the vertical access is increasing by orders of magnitude.

A logarithmic scale provides a compact means of displaying data that has a very large range. For the plot above,
the vertical scale grows enormously fast compared to the horizontal scale.

1 This Apple A12X Bionic was released near end of 2018. It contains 10 billion transistors, which can be expressed
as 10! . Predict the number of transistors there would be on a microchip produced near the end of 2025.

Chapter 3 – Exponential and Logarithmic Functions

## The Richter Scale

The Richter scale (developed by Charles Richter in 1935) is used to compare the relative size of earthquakes.
The Richter scale is logarithmic, an increase of one on the scale represents a tenfold increase in earthquake
intensity. So, an earthquake measuring 5.3 is ten times as intense as one measuring 4.3, and a hundred times as
intense as one measuring 3.3.
Richter Scale of Earthquake Magnitude
Magnitude level Category Effects Occurrence / year

Less than 1.0 to 2.9 micro Generally, not felt without special instruments over 100 000
3.0 to 3.9 minor Felt by many people; no damage 12000 to 100 000
4.0 to 4.9 light Felt by all; minor breakage of objects 2000 to 12 000
5.0 to 5.9 moderate Some damage to weak structures 200 to 2000
6.0 to 6.9 strong Moderate damage in populated areas 20 to 200
7.0 to 7.9 major Serious damage over large areas; loss of life 3 to 20
8.0 and higher great Severe destruction and loss of life over large areas fewer than 3

Richter values are determined by taking the logarithm of the amplitude (height) of the largest seismic wave.
However, the problems we encounter in Math 30-1 involve comparing Richter scale (and other log scale) values.

## Earthquake intensity is Where:

given by: Ž is the earthquake intensity Ž/ is a reference intensity, or
Ž Ž/ '/• intensity on a standard day
• is the magnitude, or Richter value

An earthquake in New York in 1884 had a magnitude measured at 5.5 on the Richter Scale.
Worked Example 22 years later an earthquake in San Francisco had a magnitude of 7.9. How many times as
intense was the San Francisco earthquake, correct to the nearest whole number?

Solution:
E•‘ That is, the intensity of the San Francisco earthquake divided by the intensity of the
We want to find:
E’“ one in New York. For each earthquake, use: E E 10”

## E•‘ E 105.6 E 105.6

So that gives us: 105.6 . 316 times as intense
E’“ E 10 . E 10 .

To find how many times as intense one earthquake, measuring f! on the Richter scale
is compared to another (smaller) earthquake, measuring f on the Richter scale, use:

## E' E 10”! E' 10”! Ž'

'/•' •\$
“times as
E\$ E 10” E\$ 10” Ž\$ That is, '/•' •\$
intense”

## A 2009 earthquake in Italy measured 6.3 on the

Richter scale. How many times more intense was a
1950 earthquake in India, which measured 8.7?
Answer to the nearest whole number.

3.6 Solving Logarithmic Equations and Log Scales

A 1963 earthquake in Macedonia measured 6.9 on the Richter scale. One year later an
Worked Example earthquake in Alaska had 200 times the intensity. Determine the magnitude (Richter scale

## Sol: This time we Ek Richter value

\$// For each earthquake, intensity is given by: Ž Ž/ '/•
are given: E•
E 104 200 10% .6 STO! 200 7.9 STO! 200 8 7.9 % ). \$
200
E 10 .6 Convert to log form to solve

## Class Example 3.65 Determining a Richter scale value

An earthquake in Loma Prieta, California in 1989 measured 7.1 on the Richter scale, and collapsed a section
of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge. Determine the Richter scale value of an earthquake that had
1⁄2000th the intensity. Answer to the nearest tenth.

The Ph Scale

## Like the Richter scale, the pH scale (0 to 14) is logarithmic. A

change of one on the Ph scale results in a tenfold change in
the hydrogen ion (• concentration.
The pH of pure water is 7. (It’s neutral).
Solutions lower than 7 are acidic. Every decrease one
down the pH scale represents a tenfold increase in •
concentration relative to pH 7.
Solutions greater than 7 are basic. Every increase one up
on the pH scale represents a tenfold decrease in •
concentration relative to pH 7. An alkali is a water-soluble
base, so all alkaline solutions are also basic.
pH is determined by taking the negative logarithm of
the hydrogen ion concentration: @– VWX[– ]

## To find how many times as acidic or

alkaline one solution is to another, use:
'/@–' @–\$ “times as acidic / alkaline” Note this is the same approach as Richter Scale problems!

## The pH of black coffee was measured to be 5.2.

Find the hydrogen ion concentration, in moles/L.
Answer in scientific notation, to one decimal place

Chapter 3 – Exponential and Logarithmic Functions

## Sea water has a pH of 8.4, and acid rain a pH of 4.6.

Determine how many times as alkaline seawater is
to pure water, and how many times as acidic acid
rain is to pure water.

## The Decibel Scale Threshold of pain

Heavy Metal Concert
Finally, we come to the Decibel scale. Like the Richter and pH scales, it’s Jet Plane take off
logarithmic. Industrial Noise
Ahh yes, this means ten! Subway Train
Unlike those scales however, this one
Decibel So 1 Decibel = 10 “Bels” Bass Drum
has a scale of 10 associated to it.
Loud music system
Intensity of sound wave Hairdryer
E Noisy restaurant
˜ 10STO ‚T™Yš/nšY , in WATTS per m/squared
Alarm clock
E Conversation
“reference intensity” Snoring
Loudness in decibels
(loudness at the threshold of hearing, 0 dB) Whisper
Quiet Room
Breathing
The only difference here, to Richter Scale
or pH scale, is that we multiply by 10 Threshold of hearing
10 ! —/

As with Richter and pH scales, the Decibel scale problems we’ll encounter primarily involve comparing intensities.

## To compare the loudness intensity of two sounds measured in Decibels:

 Convert the Decibel measures to Bels, by dividing by 10 “times as intense
'/l' l\$
 As with pH and Richter scale problems, express as powers of 10 sound level”

Worked Example A conversation between two people in a park measures 55 decibels. A jackhammer nearby
measures 104 decibels. How many times as intense is the sound of the jackhammer?
Solution: First, convert each measure to Bels. Conversation: 0. 0 Bels Jackhammer: '/. Bels
Jackhammer (louder)
Conversation
Then, express each as powers of 10. '/'/. 0.0 7) times as intense (louder)

## (a) Determine how many times as intense the sound of a

lawnmower is, at 82 dB, compared to leaves rustling in
the wind, at 48 dB. Round to the nearest whole number.

## (b) Determine the decibel level of a power tool that has

375 times the intensity of sound of a lawnmower.

3.6 Practice Questions

1. Use an algebraic process to find the roots of each of the following equations. Remember to check for
(a) STO 8 STO12 STO8 (b) STO 4 5

## (g) STO 2 8 10 STO 4 (h) STO 87 STO 3 2

Chapter 3 – Exponential and Logarithmic Functions

2. Solve each of the following. Remember to check for any extraneous roots. Where applicable, answer in
exact values in simplified radical form.
(a) STO 2 8 6 STO 1 1 (b) STO STO 3 STO 27

## (e) STO 2 8 STO 84 2 (f) STO STO 10 0

Need a hint? See the bottom of the next page. Need a hint? See the bottom of the next page.

## Practice Questions answers from previous page

1. (a) \$/ (b) ( (c) \$, \$ (d) ( (e) 7 (f) (g) 0/7 (h) '7/

3.6 Solving Logarithmic Equations and Log Scales

3. Solve each of the following. Where applicable, state roots as exact values in simplified radical form.
(a) STO STO 1 (b) STO6 STO4 64 1/2

## (c) STO STO STO 2 1 1 (d) STO STO STO 85 0

4. When carbon dioxide is absorbed into the bloodstream it produces carbonic acid and lowers the pH. The
body compensates by producing bicarbonate, a weak base to partially neutralize the acid. The equation
(//
which models blood pH in this situation is @– *. ' 8 VWX , where is the partial pressure of carbon
%
dioxide in arterial blood, measured in torr. (Torr is a unit of pressure)

## Find the partial pressure of carbon dioxide

in arterial blood if the pH is 7.4.

5. The population of bears in a particular area has been growing at an annual rate of 3%.
The length of time it will take for an initial population of ‚ to reach a population of ‚ is given by the
relationship: b
; 77. ) VWX
b/
(a) Use the given relationship to determine how long it
would take a population of 500 bears to reach 1200,
to the nearest tenth of a year.

## multiplication factor of growth for a 3% annual growth rate) can

be manipulated to obtain the relationship • 77.9 STO
›œ

## Practice Questions answers from previous page

Hint for #2(e): Exact solution requires quadratic formula
Hint for #2(f): Use log law on STO , then make a substitution, n STO . Solve resulting quadratic by factoring.
2. (a) \$ (b) ), ) (c) \$, (d) ')/ (e) \$ \$ (f) '/ , \$ (g) '/ , \$7 (h)

Chapter 3 – Exponential and Logarithmic Functions

6. One step in solving the equation VWX % 8 VWX % \$ \$ is to simplify to a quadratic equation in
the form %\$ 8 ?% 8 ]; , C ∈ E, where C is equal to:
A. 3
 Exam
Style
B. 0
C. 4
D. 6

## 7. The equation VWX? \$ % 8 VWX? ' % VWX? '\$ ; = 0, 9 1 has solution(s):

A. 5
 Exam
Style
B. 2
C. 2 or 5
D. 2 or 1

8. In the first half of 2020 the United States Geological Survey charted 78 “significant”
earthquakes worldwide. Significance is quantified on the basis of magnitude and proximity to
populated locales.
The first earthquake charted was near Morgan Hill, California, on January 2nd, and had a
Richter Scale value of 3.9.
The largest magnitude earthquake was on January 28th near Lucea, Jamaica, and had a Richter
Scale value of 7.7.
On April 4th there was an earthquake near Magna, Utah.
(a) How many times more intense was the Lucea, Jamaica
earthquake compared to the Morgan Hill, California earthquake?
Answer to the nearest whole number.

## (b) What was the magnitude of the earthquake near

Magna, Utah, if it was 794 times less intense than the
Lucea, Jamaica earthquake? Answer to the nearest tenth.

## (c) On January 29th the same region near Lucea, Jamaica,

experienced a second earthquake that had one-quarter the
intensity as on January 28th. Determine the magnitude of
the second earthquake. Answer to the nearest tenth.

## (d) In March, 2017, the same region near Morgan Hill,

the January 2nd, 2020 earthquake. (That measured 3.9 on
the Richter Scale) Determine the magnitude of the March,
2017 earthquake. Answer to the nearest tenth.

## Practice Questions answers from previous page

3. (a) (' (b) (c) ' (d) ,
;
4. / torr 5. (a) \$). * yrs (b) Isolate • in: b b/ '. / (isolate power term then convert to log form)

3.6 Solving Logarithmic Equations and Log Scales

## 9. The pH levels of some common substances are shown on the Substance pH

chart to the right. Lemon Juice 2.2
(a) The formula for pH is given by A• STO[• ] , Black Coffee
where • is the hydrogen ion concentration Milk 6.8
measured in moles/ litres. Determine the hydrogen Baking Soda 8.4
ion concentration of Lemon Juice, correct to two Ammonia
significant digits.

## (b) How many times as alkaline is Baking Soda compared

to Milk? Round to the nearest whole number.

## (c) Determine the pH level for Black Coffee, if it is 50 times

as acidic as Milk. Round to the nearest tenth.

## (d) Determine the pH level for Ammonia, if it is 398 times

as alkaline as Baking Soda. Round to the nearest tenth.

## (e) Determine the pH level for a substance that is half

as acidic as Lemon Juice. Round to the nearest tenth.

## 10. During a hockey game, two friends are having a conversation

that had a measured loudness of 62 dB.
(a) When the home team scored the cheering of the crowd peaked
at 96 dB. How many times greater was the intensity of the
crowed cheering compared to the friend’s conversation?
Round to the nearest whole number

(b) Two other fans are having a conversation that also measured
62 dB, from a point in between the two conversations.
Determine the combined measured loudness of the two
conversations. Round to the nearest whole number

## (c) One fan brought a horn that produced an intensity of sound 15

times greater than the cheering crowd (96dB). Determine the
measured loudness of the horn. Round to the nearest whole number