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APPENDIX

Partial Fractions

B

Outline
Basic Theorems Partial Fraction Decomposition

In addition. to be able to express a rational expression as the sum of two or more simpler rational expressions called partial fractions. As is often the case with reverse processes. where P(x) and D(x) are polynomials with real coefficients. particularly in calculus. THEOREM 1 EQUAL POLYNOMIALS Two polynomials are equal to each other if and only if the coefficients of terms of like degree are equal.You have now had considerable experience combining two or more rational expressions into a single rational expression. it is advantageous to be able to reverse this process—that is. we have only to divide P(x) by D(x) to obtain P(x) D(x) Q(x) R(x) D(x) where the degree of R(x) is less than that of D(x). Basic to the process is the factoring of polynomials. the process of decomposing a rational expression into partial fractions is more difficult than combining rational expressions. then P(x)/D(x) is called a proper fraction. problems such as 2 x 5 x 3 4 2(x 4) 3(x 5) (x 5)(x 4) 5x 7 (x 5)(x 4) should seem routine. if Equate the constant terms. x4 3x3 x2 2x2 2x 5x 1 1 x2 x 1 6x 2 2x 1 x2 If the degree of P(x) is less than that of D(x). so the topics discussed in Section 3-2 can be put to effective use. Basic Theorems Our task now is to establish a systematic way to decompose a proper fraction into the sum of two or more partial fractions. Frequently in more advanced courses. For example. we assume that the degree of P(x) is less than the degree of D(x). A-84 . For example. If the degree of P(x) is greater than or equal to that of D(x). We confine our attention to rational expressions of the form P(x)/D(x). Theorems 1 and 3 are stated without proof. The following three theorems take care of the problem completely. For example. (A 2B)x afddddbddddfc B 5x 3 Equate the coefficients of x.

the imaginary zeros correspond to pairs of factors of the form [x (a bi)] and [x (a bi)]. the imaginary zeros occur in conjugate pairs. THEOREM 2 LINEAR AND QUADRATIC FACTOR THEOREM For a polynomial with real coefficients. substitute x 3 in equation (1) to find A and then substitute x 1 in equation (1) to find B. both sides represent the same polynomial). where a and b are real numbers. Thus. then equating coefficients produces the system 1 5 A A B 3B Equating coefficients of x Equating constant terms (A) Solve this system graphically. all with real coefficients. The real zeros of P(x) correspond to linear factors of the form (x r). Since P(x) has real coefficients. That Theorem 2 is true can be seen as follows: From earlier theorems in Chapter 3. there always exists a complete factoring involving only linear and/or quadratic factors with real coefficients where the linear and quadratic factors are prime relative to the real numbers. Multiplying these two imaginary factors. P(x) can be factored into a product of linear factors and quadratic factors.Appendix B PARTIAL FRACTIONS A-85 then B A A 2B 2( 3) A 5 5 11 3 Substitute B solve for A. (B) For an alternate method of solution. Explain why this method is valid. . 3 into the second equation to Explore/Discuss If x 5 A(x 1) B(x 3) (1) 1 is a polynomial identity (that is. we know that an nth-degree polynomial P(x) has n zeros and n linear factors. where r is a real number. Thus. we have [x (a bi)][x (a bi)] x2 2ax a2 b2 This quadratic polynomial with real coefficients is a factor of P(x).

Ak. . EXAMPLE Nonrepeating Linear Factors Decompose into partial fractions: 5x x 2 1 7 2x 3 . Ak x Bk (ax2 bx c)k A1.. . . . which forms the basis for partial fraction decomposition. . THEOREM 3 PARTIAL FRACTION DECOMPOSITION Any proper fraction P(x)/D(x) reduced to lowest terms can be decomposed into the sum of partial fractions as follows: 1. If D(x) has a k-repeating linear factor of the form (ax b)k. then the partial fraction decomposition of P(x)/D(x) contains k terms of the form A1 ax b (ax A2 b) 2 . where ax2 then the partial fraction decomposition of P(x)/D(x) contains k terms of the form A1x B1 ax2 bx c A2x B2 (ax2 bx c)2 . B1. . then the partial fraction decomposition of P(x)/D(x) contains a term of the form Ax ax 2 B bx c A. .. Ak constants 3. . B constants bx 4. A2. . c)k. If D(x) has a nonrepeating quadratic factor of the form ax2 bx c. ...A-86 Appendix B PARTIAL FRACTIONS Partial Fraction Decomposition We are now ready to state Theorem 3. . If D(x) has a nonrepeating linear factor of the form ax b. then the partial fraction decomposition of P(x)/D(x) contains a term of the form A ax b A a constant 2. . Bk constants Let’s see how the theorem is used to obtain partial fraction decompositions in several examples. If D(x) has a k-repeating quadratic factor of the form (ax2 bx c is prime relative to the real numbers. . (ax Ak b)k A1. which is prime relative to the real numbers.

the denominator factors. 1 . MATCHED PROBLEM Decompose into partial fractions: 7x x2 x 6 6 . then the second term of the right side drops out and we can solve for A: 5 1 7 12 A A(1 4A 3 3. if we let x 8 B Hence. In this example. but in this case it is easier to take advantage of the fact that equation (3) is an identity—that is. 5x x 2 4B 2 7 2x 3 x 3 1 x 2 3 (4) as can easily be checked by adding the two fractions on the right. If it can’t be factored in the real numbers. we note that if we let x 1. then we can’t go any further.Appendix B PARTIAL FRACTIONS A-87 Solution We first try to factor the denominator. we combine the fractions on the right side of equation (2) to obtain 5x 7 (x 1)(x 3) A(x 3) B(x 1) (x 1)(x 3) Since these fractions have the same denominator. the first term drops out and we find 3) B(1 1) Similarly. so we apply part 1 from Theorem 3: 5x 7 (x 1)(x 3) A x 1 x B 3 (2) To find the constants A and B. In particular. it must hold for all values of x. their numerators must be equal. Thus 5x 7 A(x 3) B(x 1) (3) We could multiply the right side and find A and B by using Theorem 1.

A-88 Appendix B PARTIAL FRACTIONS Explore/Discuss 2 FIGURE 1 A graphing utility can also be used to check a partial fraction decomposition. To check Example 1. and C. 6x2 If x 14x 3. for all x. then 25A 1 There are no other values of x that will cause terms on the right to drop out. 1). 10 10 10 10 EXAMPLE Repeating Linear Factors Decompose into partial fractions: 6x2 14x (x 2)(x 27 . then 15 C 5C 3 27 A(x If x 25 A 3)2 B(x 2)(x 3) C(x 2) 2. . we let x 0 and obtain 27 27 B 9A 9 5 6B 6B 6 2C Substitute A 1 and C 3. Since any value of x can be substituted to produce an equation relating A. Discuss how the TRACE feature on the graphing utility can be used to check that the graphing utility is displaying two identical graphs. 3)2 2 Solution Using parts 1 and 2 from Theorem 3. we write 6x2 14x (x 2)(x 27 3)2 A x A(x 2 x 3)2 B 3 (x C 3)2 C(x 2) B(x 2)(x 3) (x 2)(x 3)2 Thus. we graph the left and right sides of equation (4) in a graphing utility (Fig. B.

6x2 14x (x 2)(x 27 3)2 1 x 2 x x2 (x 5 3 (x 3 3)2 MATCHED PROBLEM Decompose into partial fractions: 2 EXAMPLE 11x 1)(x 15 .Appendix B PARTIAL FRACTIONS A-89 Thus. we have 2x x 1 1 . 2)2 Nonrepeating Linear and Quadratic Factors Decompose into partial fractions: 5x2 8x 5 . then. Then. 5x2 8x 5 (x 2)(x2 x 1) 3 x 2 x 2 8x 2. we have 3 and C 1. 5x2 If x 9 A If x 5 C If x 2 B Hence. we see that the quadratic in the denominator can’t be factored further in the real numbers. we use parts 1 and 3 from Theorem 3 to write 5x2 8x 5 (x 2)(x2 x 1) A x A(x2 2 x (x Bx C x2 x 1 1) (Bx 2)(x2 x C)(x 1) 2) Thus. using A 3 1 1. then 3A 3 5 A(x2 x 1) (Bx C)(x 2) 0. then. using A 3 2 (B 1)( 1) 2C 3. (x 2)(x2 x 1) 3 Solution First. for all x.

4 x 2 x 3 3 2. 2 2x 3 2x 1 (x 2x 3)2 2 3x3 6x2 7x 2 . B 2. (x2 2x 3)2 4 Solution Since x2 2x 3 can’t be factored further in the real numbers. or D. (x2 2x 2)2 2 3x 2 4. 2 x 1 2x2 3x abc Ax 3 (B 2A)x 2 (3A 2B C )x (3B D) 1. for all x. x2 3x 2x x 2 (x2 2x 2 2)2 . we proceed to use part 4 from Theorem 3 to write x3 4x2 9x 5 (x 2x 3)2 2 Ax x2 (Ax 2x B 3 (x2 2x 2x B)(x2 (x2 Cx 2x D 3)2 D 3) Cx 3)2 Thus. we multiply and rearrange the right side to obtain x3 4x2 9x 5 Ax3 (B 2A)x2 (3A 2B C)x (3B D) Now we use Theorem 1 to equate coefficients of terms of like degree: A B 3A 2B 3B 2A C D 9 5 1 4 1x 3 abc 4x 2 abc afddddbddddfc 9x abc afddddgddddbddddddddgfc 5 abc afddddbddddfc From these equations we easily find that A Now we can write x3 4x2 9x 5 (x2 2x 3)2 x x 2 MATCHED PROBLEM Decompose into partial fractions: 4 Answers to Matched Problems 1. (x 1)(2x2 3x 2) Repeating Quadratic Factors Decompose into partial fractions: x3 4x2 9x 5 . and D 1. C 2. C. B.A-90 Appendix B PARTIAL FRACTIONS MATCHED PROBLEM Decompose into partial fractions: 3 EXAMPLE 7x2 11x 6 . 3 x 1 x 2 2 (x 1 2)2 3. x3 4x2 9x 5 (Ax B)(x2 2x 3) Cx D Since the substitution of carefully chosen values of x doesn’t lead to the immediate determination of A.

16. 20. 19. C. 3. and D so that the right side is equal to the left. x x2 2x 22 8 12. 23. B. 1. find constants A. 4. 22. 17. 26. 21. 30. 2 (x 10. 25. 2.Appendix B PARTIAL FRACTIONS 14. 7x 14 4)(x 3) 9x 21 5)(x 3) 17x 1 3)(3x x (3x 11 2)(2x 1) 1) A x x A x A x Ax x2 4 x x2 4 B 1 Ax x (x2 B 3 (x2 2 A x A x 5 A 2x A 3x B x A 1 x Bx x2 Bx x2 1 (x B 2 C 3 C 5 Cx D x 1)2 Cx D x 3)2 (x 2 2x C 1)2 C 2)2 3 3x B 1 x 4 x B 3 B 1 B 3 13. 15. 2x3 12x2 20x 10 7x3 17x2 21x 18 12x4 x3 7x2 4x 2 4x 4x3 5x2 5x 2 4 4x5 6x5 13x 4 6x 4 7x3 x3 x2 8x2 2x x 1 . 3x 3 4x 1 x 1)2 3x (x2 2 x2 4 10x x 3)2 x 9x2 4 B In Problems 11–22. 5. 11x 11 6x2 7x 3 5x2 6x2 x3 36x 48 x(x 4)2 15x 3x2 16 4x 18 9 A-91 EXERCISE B A In Problems 1–10. x2 x 21 2x 15 29. 24. decompose into partial fractions. 11. 18. (x 1)(x 2 5x 6x 9 9 3x x 7. 28. (x 2)(x2 3) 5x 8. 3x 13 6x2 x 12 x2 x3 12x 6x2 18 9x 6 3x 5 4 5x2 3x x3 2x2 2x3 x4 x3 7x 4x2 (x (x (2x 5x2 7x x 4 6x2 x3 x 2 7x2 17x 17 x2 5x 6 x2 13x 11 2x 15 C In Problems 23–30. 27. (x 2 8x 1 x 6 2x2 x2 5x 3 9x 4)(x2 19 5) 16x 18 15x 36 18x 8x 1 12 7 8x 4 2x2 9. 4x2 x3 4x2 x3 x2 x3 5x2 x x x 3 3x2 7x 1 x(x 1)2 11 2)2 x2 6x 6. decompose into partial fractions.