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This module is from Elementary Algebra by Denny Burzynski and Wade Ellis, Jr. The distinction between the principal square root of the number x and the secondary square root of the number x is made by explanation and by example. The simplification of the radical expressions that both involve and do not involve fractions is shown in many detailed examples; this is followed by an explanation of how and why radicals are eliminated from the denominator of a radical expression. Real-life applications of radical equations have been included, such as problems involving daily output, daily sales, electronic resonance frequency, and kinetic energy.Objectives of this module: be able to use the division property of square roots, the method of rationalizing the denominator, and conjugates to divide square roots.

Overview

  • The Division Property of Square Roots
  • Rationalizing the Denominator
  • Conjugates and Rationalizing the Denominator

The division property of square roots

In our work with simplifying square root expressions, we noted that

x y = x y

Since this is an equation, we may write it as

x y = x y

To divide two square root expressions, we use the division property of square roots.

The division property x y = x y

x y = x y

The quotient of the square roots is the square root of the quotient.

Rationalizing the denominator

As we can see by observing the right side of the equation governing the division of square roots, the process may produce a fraction in the radicand. This means, of course, that the square root expression is not in simplified form. It is sometimes more useful to rationalize the denominator of a square root expression before actually performing the division.

Sample set a

Simplify the square root expressions.

3 7 .

This radical expression is not in simplified form since there is a fraction under the radical sign. We can eliminate this problem using the division property of square roots.

3 7 = 3 7 = 3 7 · 7 7 = 3 7 7 = 21 7

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5 3 .

A direct application of the rule produces 5 3 , which must be simplified. Let us rationalize the denominator before we perform the division.

5 3 = 5 3 · 3 3 = 5 3 3 = 15 3

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21 7 = 21 7 = 3 .

The rule produces the quotient quickly. We could also rationalize the denominator first and produce the same result.

21 7 = 21 7 · 7 7 = 21 · 7 7 = 3 · 7 · 7 7 = 3 · 7 2 7 = 7 3 7 = 3

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80 x 9 5 x 4 = 80 x 9 5 x 4 = 16 x 5 = 16 x 4 x = 4 x 2 x

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50 a 3 b 7 5 a b 5 = 50 a 3 b 7 5 a b 5 = 10 a 2 b 2 = a b 10

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5 a b .

Some observation shows that a direct division of the radicands will produce a fraction. This suggests that we rationalize the denominator first.

5 a b = 5 a b · b b = 5 a b b = 5 a b b

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m - 6 m + 2 = m - 6 m + 2 · m + 2 m + 2 = m 2 - 4 m - 12 m + 2

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y 2 - y - 12 y + 3 = y 2 - y - 12 y + 3 = ( y + 3 ) ( y - 4 ) ( y + 3 ) = ( y + 3 ) ( y - 4 ) ( y + 3 ) = y - 4

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Practice set a

Simplify the square root expressions.

80 m 5 n 8 5 m 2 n

4 m n 3 m n

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196 ( x + 7 ) 8 2 ( x + 7 ) 3

7 ( x + 7 ) 2 2 ( x + 7 )

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n + 4 n - 5

n 2 - n - 20 n - 5

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a 2 - 6 a + 8 a - 2

a - 4

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a 3 m - 5 a m - 1

a m - 2

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Conjugates and rationalizing the denominator

To perform a division that contains a binomial in the denominator, such as 3 4 + 6 , we multiply the numerator and denominator by a conjugate of the denominator.

Conjugate

A conjugate of the binomial a + b is a - b . Similarly, a conjugate of a - b is a + b .

Notice that when the conjugates a + b and a - b are multiplied together, they produce a difference of two squares.

( a + b ) ( a - b ) = a 2 - a b + a b - b 2 = a 2 - b 2

This principle helps us eliminate square root radicals, as shown in these examples that illustrate finding the product of conjugates.

( 5 + 2 ) ( 5 - 2 ) = 5 2 - ( 2 ) 2 = 25 - 2 = 23

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( 6 - 7 ) ( 6 + 7 ) = ( 6 ) 2 - ( 7 ) 2 = 6 - 7 = - 1

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Sample set b

Simplify the following expressions.

3 4 + 6 .

The conjugate of the denominator is 4 - 6. Multiply the fraction by 1 in the form of 4 - 6 4 - 6 . 3 4 + 6 · 4 - 6 4 - 6 = 3 ( 4 - 6 ) 4 2 - ( 6 ) 2 = 12 - 3 6 16 - 6 = 12 - 3 6 10

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2 x 3 - 5 x .

The conjugate of the denominator is 3 + 5 x . Multiply the fraction by 1 in the form of 3 + 5 x 3 + 5 x .

2 x 3 5 x · 3 + 5 x 3 + 5 x = 2 x ( 3 + 5 x ) ( 3 ) 2 ( 5 x ) 2 = 2 x 3 + 2 x 5 x 3 5 x = 6 x + 10 x 2 3 5 x = 6 x + x 10 3 5 x

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Practice set b

Simplify the following expressions.

- 2 1 - 3 x

- 2 - 2 3 x 1 - 3 x

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8 3 x + 2 x

2 6 x - 4 x x

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2 m m - 3 m

2 m + 6 m - 3

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Exercises

For the following problems, simplify each expressions.

45 a 3 b 8 c 2 5 a b 2 c

3 a b 3 c

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30 p 5 q 14 5 q 7

p 2 q 3 6 p q

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3 m 4 n 3 6 m n 5

m 2 m 2 n

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5 ( p - q ) 6 ( r + s ) 4 25 ( r + s ) 3

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m ( m - 6 ) - m 2 + 6 m 3 m - 7

0

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s + 3 s - 3

s 2 9 s 3

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x 2 - 10 x + 24 x - 4

x 6

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x 2 - 4 x + 3 x - 3

x 1

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- 5 4 + 5

20 + 5 5 11

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2 1 - a

2 ( 1 + a ) 1 a

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- 6 7 + 2

2 ( 7 2 )

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6 y 1 + 3 y

6 y 3 y 2 1 3 y

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a a + b

a a b a b

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Exercises for review

( [link] ) Simplify x 8 y 7 ( x 4 y 8 x 3 y 4 ) .

x 9 y 11

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( [link] ) Solve the compound inequality 8 7 5 x 23.

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( [link] ) Construct the graph of y = 2 3 x - 4.
An xy-plane with gridlines, labeled negative five and five on the both axes.

A graph of a line passing through two points with coordinates three, negative two; and zero, negative five.

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( [link] ) The symbol x represents which square root of the number x , x 0 ?

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( [link] ) Simplify a 2 + 8 a + 16 .

a + 4

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Questions & Answers

What is angular velocity
Amara Reply
refer to how fast an object rotates ot revolve to another point
samson
An object undergoes constant acceleration after starting from rest and then travels 5m in the first seconds .determine how far it will go in the next seconds
Sophy Reply
x=x0+v0t+1/2at^2
Grant
what is the deference between precision and accuracy
ShAmy
In measurement of a set, accuracy refers to closeness of the measurements to a specific value, while precision refers to the closeness of the measurements to each other. 
Grant
Thank you Mr..
ShAmy
Are there is a difference between Error and Relative Error...
ShAmy
An aircraft flies 300km due east and 600km due north. determine the magnitude of its displacement
Sophy Reply
670.8km
iyiola
which formula did you use
Sophy
X^2=300^2+600^2
iyiola
what is Fermat principle.
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find the angle of projection at which the horizontal range is twice the maximum height of a projectile
Akaji Reply
impulse by height fomula
Tigst Reply
Hello
Madue
what is impulse?
Tigst Reply
impulse is the integral of a force (F),over the interval for which it act
Agbeyangi
What is significance of vector?
jagan Reply
magnitude and direction
Chris
what is impulse?
Enimini Reply
the product of force and time
Robert
find the flow rate of a fluid of viscosity 0.0015N-s/m³ flowing through a pipe of radius 50cm and length 100m at a pressure differential of 200000N/m²
Okoli Reply
friend ,what is the equation your question
lasitha
What is victor
Moses Reply
How are you all?
Giorgi Reply
what is the formula for momentum?
Chisom Reply
p=mv
Grant
what is the formula for angular displacement ?
lasitha
angular displacement = l/r
anand
friend ,what is the " l "?
lasitha
I have another problem,what is the difference between pure chemistry and applied chemistry ?
lasitha
l stands for linear displacement and l>>r
anand
r stands for radius or position vector of particle
anand
pure chemistry is related to classical and basic concepts of chemistry while applied Chemistry deals with it's application oriented concepts and procedures.
anand
what is the deference between precision and accuracy?
ShAmy
I think in general both are same , more accuracy means more precise
anand
and lessor error
anand
friends,how to find correct applied chemistry notes?
lasitha
what are the main concepts of applied chemistry ?
lasitha
anand,can you give an example for angular displacement ?
lasitha
when any particle rotates or revolves about something , an axis or point ,then angle traversed is angular displacement
anand
like a revolving fan
anand
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lasitha
o need this application in French language
Diacre Reply
Why is it that the definition is not there
Bello
what is physics
mesfin Reply
the study of matter in relation to energy
Robert
Ampher law
Zia
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Source:  OpenStax, Elementary algebra. OpenStax CNX. May 08, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10614/1.3
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