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Introducing of surds

Contents

Manipulating surds
Simplifying surds
Adding and subtracting surds
Expanding brackets containing surds
Rationalizing the denominator
The index laws
Zero and negative indices
Fractional indices
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Boardworks Ltd 2005

2, 3
3 or
5,
When the square root of a number, for example 2,
or 5,is
irrational, it is often preferable to write it with the root sign.
Numbers written in this form are called surds.
Can you explain why 1.69
1.69 is not a surd?
1.69 is not a surd because it is not irrational.
1.69
169
1.69 =
100
169
=
100
13
=
10
= 1.3

This uses the fact that

a
a
=
b
b

When working with surds it is important to remember the


following two rules:
ab = a b
and
a
a
=
b
b
Also:

a a =a

You should also remember that, by definition, aa means the


positive square root of a.

We are often required to simplify surds by writing them in the


form a b .
We can do this using the fact that
For example:

ab = a b .

Simplify 50 by writing it in the form a b .


Start by finding the largest square number that divides into 50.
This is 25. We can use this to write:
50 = 25 2
= 25 2
=5 2

Surds can be added or subtracted if the number under the


square root sign is the same. For example:
Simplify 45 + 80.
Start by writing 45 and 80 in their simplest forms.
45 = 95

80 = 165

= 9 5

= 16 5

=3 5

=4 5

45 + 80 = 3 5 + 4 5 = 7 5

When a fraction contains a surd as the denominator we


usually rewrite it so that the denominator is a rational number.
This is called rationalizing the denominator. For example:
5
Simplify the fraction
.
2
In this example we rationalize the denominator by multiplying
the numerator and the denominator by 2.
2

5
5 2
=
2
2
2

Simplify the following fractions by


rationalizing their denominators.
2
1)
3

2)
3

2
2 3
=
3
3
3

2
5

3
3)
4 7
5

2
=
5
5

10
5

3
3 7
=
28
4 7
7

More difficult examples may include surds in both the


numerator and the denominator. For example:
2 3 1
.
Simplify
3 +1
2 3 1 (2 3 1)( 3 1)
=
3 +1
( 3 +1)( 3 1)
73 3
=
3 1
73 3
=
2

Working:

3 1

3 1

= 6 2 3 3 + 1
=7 3 3

a to the power of 5

Simplify:
a a a a a = a5
a5 has been written using index notation.

The number a is
called the base.

an

The number n is called


the index, power or
exponent.

In general:
n of these

an = a a a a

When we multiply two terms with the


same base the indices are added.
For example:
a4 a2 = (a a a a) (a a)
=aaaaaa
= a6 = a (4 + 2)
In general:
am an = a(m + n)

When we divide two terms with the


same base the indices are subtracted.
For example:
aaaaa
a a =
aa
5

= a3 = a (5 2)

4pppppp
4p 2p =
= 2p2 = 2p(6 4)
2pppp
6

In general:
am an = a(m n)

When a term is raised to a power and the result


raised to another power, the powers are multiplied.
For example:
(y3)2 = y3 y3

(pq2)4 = pq2 pq2 pq2 pq2

= (y y y) (y y y)

= p4 q (2 + 2 + 2 + 2)

= y6 = y32

= p4 q8
= p4q8 = p14q24

In general:
(am)n = amn

Any number or term divided


by itself is equal to 1.

Look at the following division:


y4 y4 = 1

But using the rule that xm xn = x(m n)


y4 y4 = y(4 4) = y0
That means that

y0 = 1

In general:
a0 = 1

(for all a 0)

Write the following using fraction notation:


1) u =
1

1
u

This is the
reciprocal of u.

2) 2n =

2
n4

3) x2y3 =

x2
y3

5a
4) 5a(3 b) =
(3 b )2
2

Indices can also be fractional. For example:


1
2

What is the meaning of a ?


Using the multiplication rule:
1
2

1
2

a a =a

1+1
2 2

= a1
=a
But
So

a= a a
1
2

a = a

1
2

a is the square
root of a.

THANK
YOU.