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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Simplify a complex rational expression by writing it as division
  • Simplify a complex rational expression by using the LCD

Before you get started, take this readiness quiz.

If you miss a problem, go back to the section listed and review the material.

  1. Simplify: 3 5 9 10 .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .
  2. Simplify: 1 1 3 4 2 + 4 · 5 .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .

Complex fractions are fractions in which the numerator or denominator contains a fraction. In Chapter 1 we simplified complex fractions like these:

3 4 5 8 x 2 x y 6

In this section we will simplify complex rational expressions , which are rational expressions with rational expressions in the numerator or denominator.

Complex rational expression

A complex rational expression    is a rational expression in which the numerator or denominator contains a rational expression.

Here are a few complex rational expressions:

4 y 3 8 y 2 9 1 x + 1 y x y y x 2 x + 6 4 x 6 4 x 2 36

Remember, we always exclude values that would make any denominator zero.

We will use two methods to simplify complex rational expressions.

Simplify a complex rational expression by writing it as division

We have already seen this complex rational expression earlier in this chapter.

6 x 2 7 x + 2 4 x 8 2 x 2 8 x + 3 x 2 5 x + 6

We noted that fraction bars tell us to divide, so rewrote it as the division problem

( 6 x 2 7 x + 2 4 x 8 ) ÷ ( 2 x 2 8 x + 3 x 2 5 x + 6 )

Then we multiplied the first rational expression by the reciprocal of the second, just like we do when we divide two fractions.

This is one method to simplify rational expressions. We write it as if we were dividing two fractions.

Simplify: 4 y 3 8 y 2 9 .

Solution

4 y 3 8 y 2 9 Rewrite the complex fraction as division. 4 y 3 ÷ 8 y 2 9 Rewrite as the product of first times the reciprocal of the second. 4 y 3 · y 2 9 8 Multiply. 4 ( y 2 9 ) 8 ( y 3 ) Factor to look for common factors. 4 ( y 3 ) ( y + 3 ) 4 · 2 ( y 3 ) Remove common factors. 4 ( y 3 ) ( y + 3 ) 4 · 2 ( y 3 ) Simplify. y + 3 2

Are there any value(s) of y that should not be allowed? The simplified rational expression has just a constant in the denominator. But the original complex rational expression    had denominators of y 3 and y 2 9 . This expression would be undefined if y = 3 or y = −3 .

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Simplify: 2 x 2 1 3 x + 1 .

2 3 ( x 1 )

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Simplify: 1 x 2 7 x + 12 2 x 4 .

1 2 ( x 3 )

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Fraction bars act as grouping symbols. So to follow the Order of Operations, we simplify the numerator and denominator as much as possible before we can do the division.

Simplify: 1 3 + 1 6 1 2 1 3 .

Solution

.
Simplify the numerator and denominator.
Find the LCD and add the fractions in the numerator.
Find the LCD and add the fractions in the denominator.
.
Simplify the numerator and denominator. .
Simplify the numerator and denominator, again. .
Rewrite the complex rational expression as a division problem. .
Multiply the first times by the reciprocal of the second. .
Simplify. .

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Simplify: 1 2 + 2 3 5 6 + 1 12 .

14 11

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Simplify: 3 4 1 3 1 8 + 5 6 .

10 23

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How to simplify a complex rational expression by writing it as division

Simplify: 1 x + 1 y x y y x .

Solution

The above image has three columns. The image shows steps on how to divide complex rational expressions in three steps. Step one is to simplify the numerator and denominator. We will simplify the sum in the numerator and difference in the denominator for the example 1 divided by x plus 1 divided by y divided by x divided by y minus y divided by x. Find a common denominator and add the fractions in the numerator and find a common denominator and subtract the fractions in the numerator to get 1 times y divided by x times y plus 1 times x divided by y times x divided by x times x divided by y times x minus y times y divided by x times y. Then, we get y divided by x y plus x plus x y divided by x squared divided by x y minus y squared divided by x y. We now have just one rational expression in the numerator and one in the denominator, y plus x divided by x y divided by x squared minus y squared divided by x y. Step two is to rewrite the complex rational expression as a division problem. We write the numerator divided by the denominator. Step three is to divide the expressions. Multiply the first by the reciprocal of the second to get y plus x divided by x y times x y divided by x squared minus y squared. Factor any expressions if possible. We now have x y times y plus x divided by x y times x minus y times x plus y. Remove common factors. Cross out x, y and y plus x from the numerator. Cross out x, y and x plus y from the denominator. Simplify to get 1 divided by x minus y.
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Simplify: 1 x + 1 y 1 x 1 y .

y + x y x

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Simplify: 1 a + 1 b 1 a 2 1 b 2 .

a b b a

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Simplify a complex rational expression by writing it as division.

  1. Simplify the numerator and denominator.
  2. Rewrite the complex rational expression as a division problem.
  3. Divide the expressions.

Questions & Answers

Three-fourths of the people at a concert are children. If there are 87 children, what is the total number of people at the concert?
Tsimmuaj Reply
Erica earned a total of $50,450 last year from her two jobs. The amount she earned from her job at the store was $1,250 more than four times the amount she earned from her job at the college. How much did she earn from her job at the college?
Tsimmuaj
Erica earned a total of $50,450 last year from her two jobs. The amount she earned from her job at the store was $1,250 more than four times the amount she earned from her job at the college. How much did she earn from her job at the college?
Tsimmuaj
? Is there anything wrong with this passage I found the total sum for 2 jobs, but found why elaborate on extra If I total one week from the store *4 would = the month than the total is = x than x can't calculate 10 month of a year
candido
what would be wong
candido
87 divided by 3 then multiply that by 4. 116 people total.
Melissa
the actual number that has 3 out of 4 of a whole pie
candido
was having a hard time finding
Teddy
use Matrices for the 2nd question
Daniel
One number is 11 less than the other number. If their sum is increased by 8, the result is 71. Find the numbers.
Tsimmuaj Reply
26 + 37 = 63 + 8 = 71
gayla
Amara currently sells televisions for company A at a salary of $17,000 plus a $100 commission for each television she sells. Company B offers her a position with a salary of $29,000 plus a $20 commission for each television she sells. How televisions would Amara need to sell for the options to be equal?
Tsimmuaj Reply
yes math
Kenneth
company A 13 company b 5. A 17,000+13×100=29,100 B 29,000+5×20=29,100
gayla
need help with math to do tsi test
Toocute
me too
Christian
have you tried the TSI practice test ***tsipracticetest.com
gayla
DaMarcus and Fabian live 23 miles apart and play soccer at a park between their homes. DaMarcus rode his bike for 34 of an hour and Fabian rode his bike for 12 of an hour to get to the park. Fabian’s speed was 6 miles per hour faster than DaMarcus’s speed. Find the speed of both soccer players.
gustavo Reply
?
Ann
DaMarcus: 16 mi/hr Fabian: 22 mi/hr
Sherman
Joy is preparing 20 liters of a 25% saline solution. She has only a 40% solution and a 10% solution in her lab. How many liters of the 40% solution and how many liters of the 10% solution should she mix to make the 25% solution?
Wenda Reply
15 and 5
32 is 40% , & 8 is 10 % , & any 4 letters is 5%.
Karen
It felt that something is missing on the question like: 40% of what solution? 10% of what solution?
Jhea
its confusing
Sparcast
3% & 2% to complete the 25%
Sparcast
because she already has 20 liters.
Sparcast
ok I was a little confused I agree 15% & 5%
Sparcast
8,2
Karen
Jim and Debbie earned $7200. Debbie earned $1600 more than Jim earned. How much did they earned
Arleathia Reply
5600
Gloria
1600
Gloria
Bebbie: 4,400 Jim: 2,800
Jhea
A river cruise boat sailed 80 miles down the Mississippi River for 4 hours. It took 5 hours to return. Find the rate of the cruise boat in still water and the rate of the current.
Sunnyshay Reply
A veterinarian is enclosing a rectangular outdoor running area against his building for the dogs he cares for. He needs to maximize the area using 100 feet of fencing. The quadratic equation A=x(100−2x) gives the area, A , of the dog run for the length, x , of the building that will border the dog run. Find the length of the building that should border the dog run to give the maximum area, and then find the maximum area of the dog run.
Elizabeth Reply
ggfcc
Mike
Washing his dad’s car alone, eight year old Levi takes 2.5 hours. If his dad helps him, then it takes 1 hour. How long does it take the Levi’s dad to wash the car by himself?
Gagan Reply
1,75hrs
Mike
I'm going to guess. Divide Levi's time by 2. Then divide 1 hour by 2. 1.25 + 0.5 = 1.3?
John
Oops I mean 1.75
John
I'm guessing this because since I have divide 1 hour by 2, I have to do the same for the 2.5 hours it takes Levi by himself.
John
1,75 hrs is correct Mike
Emund
How did you come up with the answer?
John
Drew burned 1,800 calories Friday playing 1 hour of basketball and canoeing for 2 hours. On Saturday, he spent 2 hours playing basketball and 3 hours canoeing and burned 3,200 calories. How many calories did he burn per hour when playing basketball?
Marie Reply
Brandon has a cup of quarters and dimes with a total value of $3.80. The number of quarters is four less than twice the number of dimes. How many quarters and how many dimes does Brandon have?
Kendra Reply
Tickets to a Broadway show cost $35 for adults and $15 for children. The total receipts for 1650 tickets at one performance were $47,150. How many adult and how many child tickets were sold?
dana Reply
825
Carol
Arnold invested $64,000, some at 5.5% interest and the rest at 9%. How much did he invest at each rate if he received $4,500 in interest in one year? How do I do this
Tanesia Reply
how to square
Fiona Reply
easiest way to find the square root of a large number?
Jackie
the accompanying figure shows known flow rates of hydrocarbons into and out of a network of pipes at an oil refinery set up a linear system whose solution provides the unknown flow rates (b) solve the system for the unknown flow rates (c) find the flow rates and directions of flow if x4=50and x6=0
Sabee Reply
Practice Key Terms 1

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Source:  OpenStax, Elementary algebra. OpenStax CNX. Jan 18, 2017 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12116/1.2
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