Intermediate Algebra

Exam 2 Material
Rational Expressions

Rational Expression

A ratio of two polynomials where the denominator is
not zero (an “ugly fraction” with a variable in a
denominator)

Example:

Will the value of the denominator ever be zero?
If x = - 3, then the denominator becomes 0, so we say
that – 3 is a restricted value of x

What is the “domain” of the rational expression (all
acceptable values of the variable)?
Domain is the set of all real numbers except - 3.
Domain: {x | x ≠ -3}
3
2
2
+
− −
x
x x

Finding Restricted Values and
Domains of Rational Expressions

Completely factor the denominator

Make equations by setting each factor of
the denominator equal to zero

Solve the equations to find restricted
values

The domain will be all real numbers that
are not restricted

Example
Find the domain:

Factor the denominator:
(x – 2)(x + 2)

Set each factor equal to zero and solve the equations:
x – 2 = 0 and x + 2 = 0
x = 2 and x = -2 (Restricted Values)

Domain:
{x | x ≠ -2, x ≠ 2}

4
5 3
2


x
x

Evaluating Rational Expressions

To “evaluate” a rational expression means
to find its “value” when variables are
replaced by specific “unrestricted”
numbers inside parentheses

Example: 2 for
3 2
3 2
Evaluate
2
- x
x x
x
·
− +

( )
( ) ( )
·
− +

3 2
3 2
2
2 − 2 −
2 −
·
− −
− −
3 4 4
3 4
·


3
7
3
7

Fundamental Principle of
Fractions

If the numerator and denominator of a
fraction contain a common factor, that
factor may be divided out to reduce the
fraction to lowest terms:
·
ac
ab
c
b
·
18
12
·
⋅ ⋅
⋅ ⋅
3 3 2
3 2 2
3
2
place. each in left is "1" out, divided are factors common When
·
x 5
5
x
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1

Reducing Rational Expressions
to Lowest Terms

Completely factor both numerator and
denominator

Apply the fundamental principle of
fractions: divide out common factors
that are found in both the numerator and
the denominator

Example of Reducing Rational
Expressions to Lowest Terms

Reduce to lowest terms:


Factor top and bottom:



Divide out common factors to get:
6 3
24 3
3
+
+
x
x
( )
( ) 2 3
8 3
3
+
+
x
x
( ) ( )
( ) 2 3
4 2 2 3
2
+
+ − +
x
x x x
4 2
2
+ − x x
1
1 1
1

Example of Reducing Rational
Expressions to Lowest Terms

Reduce to lowest terms:


Factor top and bottom:



Divide out common factors to get:
x
x


3
3
( )
( ) 3 1
3 1
− −

x
x
( )
( )
·
− −

3 1
3 1
x
x
1
·
+ −

3
3
x
x
1 −

Equivalent Forms
of Rational Expressions

All of the following are equivalent:

In words this would say that a negative
factor in the numerator or denominator can
be moved, respectively, to a negative
factor in the denominator or numerator, or
can be moved to the front of the fraction,
or vice versa
q
p
q
p
q
p
− ·

·


Example of Using Equivalent
Forms of Rational Expressions

Write equivalent forms of:
·
+


2
5
x
x ( )
·
+
− −
2
5
x
x
2
5
+
+ −
x
x
·
+


2
5
x
x
( )
·
+ −

2
5
x
x
2
5
− −

x
x

Homework Problems

Section: 6.1

Page: 401

Problems: Odd: 3 – 9, 13 – 23, 27 – 63,
67 – 73

MyMathLab Homework Assignment 6.1 for
practice

MyMathLab Quiz 6.1 for grade

Multiplying Rational Expressions
(Same as Multiplying Fractions)

Factor each numerator and denominator

Divide out common factors

Write answer (leave polynomials in factored
form)

Example:
· ⋅
28
15
9
4
1 1
1
1
1 1
21
5
·
⋅ ⋅




7 2 2
5 3
3 3
2 2

Example of Multiplying
Rational Expressions
Completely factor each top and bottom:
Divide out common factors:
4 3
2 3
8 14 3
8 2 3
2
2
+
+

+ +
− −
x
x
x x
x x
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
( )
( ) 4 3
2 3
4 2 3
2 4 3
+
+

+ +
− +
x
x
x x
x x
1
1
1
1
( )
( ) 4
2
+

x
x

Dividing Rational Expressions
(Same as Dividing Fractions)

Invert the divisor and change problem to
multiplication

Example:
· ÷
d
c
b
a
· ⋅
c
d
b
a
· ÷
4
3
3
2
bc
ad
· ⋅
3
4
3
2
9
8

Example of Dividing
Rational Expressions
·
+
÷
27
4 8
9
2
3 5 2
y y y
·
+

3 5
2
4 8
27
9
2
y y
y
( )
·
+

1 2 4
27
9
2
2 3
2
y y
y
( ) 1 2 2
3
2
+ y y
3
2 1
1
1
y

Homework Problems

Section: 6.2

Page: 408

Problems: Odd: 3 – 25, 29 – 61

MyMathLab Homework Assignment 6.2 for
practice

MyMathLab Quiz 6.2 for grade

Finding the Least Common
Denominator, LCD, of Rational
Expressions

Completely factor each denominator

Construct the LCD by writing down each
factor the maximum number of times it is
found in any denominator

Example of Finding the LCD

Given three denominators, find the LCD:
, ,

Factor each denominator:

Construct LCD by writing each factor the maximum
number of times it’s found in any denominator:
12 3
2
− x
· −12 3
2
x
16 16 4
2
+ − x x
· + − 16 16 4
2
x x
12 6 − x
· −12 6x
( ) · − 4 3
2
x ( ) ( ) 2 2 3 + − x x
( ) · − 2 6 x
( ) · + − 4 4 4
2
x x ( ) ( ) 2 2 2 2 − − ⋅ x x
( ) 2 3 2 − ⋅ x
· LCD
· LCD
( )( ) ( ) 2 2 2 3 2 2 + − − ⋅ ⋅ x x x
( ) ( ) 2 2 12
2
+ − x x

Equivalent Fractions

The fundamental principle of fractions,
mentioned earlier, says:

In words, this says that when numerator and
denominator of a fraction are multiplied by the
same factor, the result is equivalent to the
original fraction
.
·
ac
ab
c
b
18
12
·


3 6
2 6
·
3
2

Writing Equivalent Fractions
With Specified Denominator

Given a fraction and a desired denominator for
an equivalent fraction that is a multiple of the
original denominator, write an equivalent fraction
by multiplying both the numerator and
denominator of the original fraction by all factors
of the desired denominator not found in the
original denominator

To accomplish this goal, it is usually best to
completely factor both the original denominator
and the desired denominator

24
20
Example
Write an equivalent fraction to the given
fraction that has a denominator of 24:
·
⋅ ⋅
⋅ ⋅
6 2 2
5 2 2
·
6
5
·
6
5
24
?
3 2 6 ⋅ ·
3 2 2 2 24 ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ ·
: r denominato each Factor

Example
Write an equivalent rational expression to
the given one that has a denominator of
:
y y y y y
y
2 4 2
? 2
2 3 2
+ −
·

+
( ) 1
2
− · − y y y y
( ) ( ) 1 1 2 2 4 2
2 3
− − · + − y y y y y y
y y y 2 4 2
2 3
+ −
( )
·

+
·

+
1
2 2
2
y y
y
y y
y ( ) ( )
( ) ( )
·
− −
− +
1 2 1
1 2 2
y y y
y y ( )
( ) ( )
·
− −
− +
1 2 1
2 2
2
y y y
y y
y y y
y y
2 4 2
4 2 2
2 3
2
+ −
− +
: r denominato each Factor

Homework Problems

Section: 6.3

Page: 414

Problems: Odd: 5 – 43, 51 – 69

MyMathLab Homework Assignment 6.3 for
practice

MyMathLab Quiz 6.3 for grade

Adding and Subtracting Rational
Expressions (Same as Fractions)

Find a least common denominator, LCD,
for the rational expressions

Write each fraction as an equivalent
fraction having the LCD

Write the answer by adding or
subtracting numerators as indicated,
and keeping the LCD

If possible, reduce the answer to lowest
terms

Example
• Find a least common denominator, LCD, for the rational expressions:
• Write each fraction as an equivalent fraction having the LCD:
• Write the answer by adding or subtracting numerators as indicated, and keeping the
LCD:
• If possible, reduce the answer to lowest terms
y y y
y
y y
y 1
2 4 2
3 2
2 2
+
+ −


+
y
( ) 1 − y y
( ) ( ) 1 1 2 − − y y
( ) ( ) 1 1 2 − − y y y
· LCD
( ) ( )
( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( ) 1 1 2
1 1 1 2
1 1 2
3
1 1 2
1 2 2
− −
− − ⋅
+
− −


− −
− +
y y y
y y
y y y
y y
y y y
y y
( ) ( ) ( ) y y y
y
y y
y 1
1 1 2
3
1
2
+
− −


+
·
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
·
− −
+ − + − − +
·
1 1 2
1 2 2 3 2 2
2 2 2
y y y
y y y y y
( ) ( )
·
− −
+ − + − − +
1 1 2
2 4 2 3 4 2 2
2 2 2
y y y
y y y y y
( ) ( ) 1 1 2
2 2
2
− −
− −
y y y
y y
reduce! t on' fraction w factor, t won' top Since

Homework Problems

Section: 6.4

Page: 422

Problems: Odd: 9 – 21, 25 – 47,
51 – 71

MyMathLab Homework Assignment 6.4 for
practice

MyMathLab Quiz 6.4 for grade

Complex Fraction

A “fraction” that contains a rational expression
in its numerator, or in its denominator, or both

Example:

Think of it as “fractions inside of a fraction”

Every complex fraction can be simplified to a
rational expression (ratio of two polynomials)
y
x
6
5
2
3
1
+

Two Methods for Simplifying
Complex Fractions

Method One

Do math on top to get a single fraction

Do math on bottom to get a single fraction

Divide top fraction by bottom fraction

Method Two (Usually preferred)

Find the LCD of all of the “little fractions”

Multiply the complex fraction by “1” where “1”
is the LCD of the little fractions over itself

Method One Example of
Simplifying a Complex Fraction
• Do math on top to get single fraction:
• Do math on bottom to get single fraction:
• Top fraction divided by bottom:
y
x
6
5
2
3
1
+
x
xy y
5
12 2 +
· + 2
3
1
x
· +
1
2
3
1
x
· +
x
x
x 3
6
3
1
x
x
3
6 1+
y 6
5
: fraction single already is bottom case, In this
· ÷
+
y x
x
6
5
3
6 1
· ⋅
+
5
6
3
6 1 y
x
x
2

Method Two Example of
Simplifying a Complex Fraction

Find the LCD of all of the “little fractions”:

Multiply the complex fraction by “1” where “1” is the LCD
of the little fractions over itself
y
x
6
5
2
3
1
+
xy 6

,
`

.
|

,
`

.
|
+
·
y
x
6
5
2
3
1
x
xy y
5
12 2 +
·
+
y
xy
xy
x
xy
6
30
1
12
3
6
· ⋅
1
6
1
6
xy
xy

Homework Problems

Section: 6.5

Page: 431

Problems: Odd: 7 – 35

MyMathLab Homework Assignment 6.5 for
practice

MyMathLab Quiz 6.5 for grade

Other Types of Equations

Thus far techniques have been discussed
for solving all linear and some quadratic
equations

Now address techniques for identifying
and solving “rational equations”

Rational Equations

Technical Definition: An equation that
contains a rational expression

Practical Definition: An equation that has
a variable in a denominator

Example:
3
2
1
5
3 2
1
2
+


·
− + x x x x

Solving Rational Equations

Find “restricted values” for the equation by
setting every denominator that contains a
variable equal to zero and solving

Find the LCD of all the fractions and multiply
both sides of equation by the LCD to eliminate
fractions

Solve the resulting equation to find apparent
solutions

Solutions are all apparent solutions that are
not restricted

Example
3
2
1
5
3 2
1
2
+


·
− + x x x x
RV
0 1· − x
0 3 · + x
0 3 2
2
· − + x x
( ) ( ) 0 3 1 · + − x x
0 1· − x
0 3 · + x
OR
1 · x
3 − · x
Solved Already
Solved Already
( ) ( ) 3
2
1
5
3 1
1
+


·
+ − x x x x
LCD
( ) ( ) 3 1 + − x x
( ) ( ) 1
LCD
3
2
1
5
3 1
1
]
]
]

+


·
+ − x x x x
( ) ( ) 1 2 3 5 1 − − + · x x
2 2 15 5 1 + − + · x x
17 3 1 + · x
x 3 16 · −
3
16
− · x
RV! Not

Example
1
1
2
1
1
2
2

· −
− m m
RV
0 1· − m
0 1· + m
0 1
2
· − m
( ) ( ) 0 1 1 · + − m m
0 1· − m
OR
1 · m
1 − · m
Solved Already
( ) ( ) 1
1
2
1
1 1
2

· −
+ − m m m
LCD
( ) ( ) 1 1 2 + − m m
( ) ( ) ( ) 1 2 1 1 4 + · + − − m m m
( ) ( ) 1 1
1
2
1
1 1
2 LCD
m m m
]
]
]


· −
+ −
( ) 2 2 1 4
2
+ · − − m m
2 2 1 4
2
+ · + − m m
3 2 0
2
− + · m m
( ) ( ) 1 3 0 + − · m m
0 1 0 3 · + · − m or m
1 3 − · · m or m

Formula

Any equation containing more than one
variable

To solve a formula for a specific variable
we must use appropriate techniques to
isolate that variable on one side of the
equal sign

The technique we use in solving depends
on the type of equation for the variable for
which we are solving

Example of Different Types of
Equations for the Same Formula

Consider the formula:

What type of equation for A?
Linear (variable to first power)

What type of equation for B?
Quadratic (variable to second power)

What type of equation for C?
Rational (variable in denominator)
1
4
3
2

· +
C
B
A

Solving Formulas Involving
Rational Equations

Use the steps previously discussed for solving
rational equations:

Find “restricted values” for the equation by setting
every denominator that contains the variable
being solved for equal to zero and solving

Find the LCD of all the fractions and multiply both
sides of equation by the LCD to eliminate fractions

Solve the resulting equation to find apparent
solutions

Solutions are all apparent solutions that are not
restricted

Solve the Formula for C:
Since the formula is rational for C, find RV:
Multiply both sides by LCD:
1
4
3
2

· +
C
B
A
0 1· − C
1 · C
( ) 1 − C
( )( )
( )
( ) 1
1
4
3 1
2


· + − C
C
B
A C
2
4 3 3 B A C AC · − − +

Example Continued
Solve resulting equation and check
apparent answer with RV:
2
4 3 3 B A C AC · − − +
3 4 3
2
+ + · + A B C AC
( ) 3 4 3
2
+ + · + A B C A
( )
( ) ( ) 3
3 4
3
3
2
+
+ +
·
+
+
A
A B
A
C A
3
3 4
2
+
+ +
·
A
A B
C
RV Not
( ) C for linear Now

Homework Problems

Section: 6.6

Page: 439

Problems: Odd: 17 – 69, 73 – 87

MyMathLab Homework Assignment 6.6 for
practice

( No MyMathLab Quiz until we finish
Section 6.7 )

Applications of Rational
Expressions

Word problems that translate to rational
expressions are handled the same as all
other word problems

On the next slide we give an example of
such a problem

Example
When three more than a number is divided by
twice the number, the result is the same as the
original number. Find all numbers that satisfy
these conditions.
.
: Unknowns
number The x
x
x
x
·
+
2
3
: RV
0 2 · x
0 · x
( ) x x
x
x
x 2
2
3
2 ·

,
`

.
|
+
2
2 3 x x · +
3 2 0
2
− − · x x
( ) ( ) 1 3 2 0 + − · x x
0 1 or 0 3 2 · + · − x x
1 or 3 2 − · · x x
1 or
2
3
− · · x x

Homework Problems

Section: 6.7

Page: 449

Problems: Odd: 3 –9

MyMathLab Homework Assignment 6.7 for
practice

MyMathLab Quiz 6.6 - 6.7 for grade

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