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This module introduces rational expressions in equations.

Rational equations

A rational equation means that you are setting two rational expressions equal to each other. The goal is to solve for x; that is, find the x value(s) that make the equation true.

Suppose I told you that:

x 8 = 3 8 size 12{ { {x} over {8} } = { {3} over {8} } } {}

If you think about it, the x in this equation has to be a 3. That is to say, if x=3 then this equation is true; for any other x value, this equation is false.

This leads us to a very general rule.

A very general rule about rational equations

If you have a rational equation where the denominators are the same, then the numerators must be the same.

This in turn suggests a strategy: find a common denominator, and then set the numerators equal.

Example: Rational Equation
3 x 2 + 12 x + 36 = 4x x 3 + 4x 2 12 x size 12{ { {3} over {x rSup { size 8{2} } +"12"x+"36"} } = { {4x} over {x rSup { size 8{3} } +4x rSup { size 8{2} } - "12"x} } } {} Same problem we worked before, but now we are equating these two fractions, instead of subtracting them.
3 ( x ) ( x 2 ) ( x + 6 ) 2 ( x ) ( x 2 ) = 4x ( x + 6 ) x ( x + 6 ) 2 ( x 2 ) size 12{ { {3 \( x \) \( x - 2 \) } over { \( x+6 \) rSup { size 8{2} } \( x \) \( x - 2 \) } } = { {4x \( x+6 \) } over {x \( x+6 \) rSup { size 8{2} } \( x - 2 \) } } } {} Rewrite both fractions with the common denominator.
3 x ( x - 2 ) = 4 x ( x + 6 ) Based on the rule above—since the denominators are equal, we can now assume the numerators are equal.
3 x 2 6 x = 4 x 2 + 24 x Multiply it out
x 2 + 30 x = 0 What we’re dealing with, in this case, is a quadratic equation. As always, move everything to one side...
x ( x + 30 ) = 0 ...and then factor. A common mistake in this kind of problem is to divide both sides by x ; this loses one of the two solutions.
x= 0 or x= -30 Two solutions to the quadratic equation. However, in this case, x = 0 is not valid, since it was not in the domain of the original right-hand fraction. (Why?) So this problem actually has only one solution, x = 30 .

As always, it is vital to remember what we have found here. We started with the equation 3 x 2 + 12 x + 36 = 4x x 3 + 4x 2 12 x size 12{ { {3} over {x rSup { size 8{2} } +"12"x+"36"} } = { {4x} over {x rSup { size 8{3} } +4x rSup { size 8{2} } - "12"x} } } {} . We have concluded now that if you plug x = 30 into that equation, you will get a true equation (you can verify this on your calculator). For any other value, this equation will evaluate false.

To put it another way: if you graphed the functions 3 x 2 + 12 x + 36 size 12{ { {3} over {x rSup { size 8{2} } +"12"x+"36"} } } {} and 4x x 3 + 4x 2 12 x size 12{ { {4x} over {x rSup { size 8{3} } +4x rSup { size 8{2} } - "12"x} } } {} , the two graphs would intersect at one point only: the point when x = 30 .

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
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Source:  OpenStax, Rational expressions. OpenStax CNX. Feb 28, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11278/1.2
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