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In this section you will:
  • Solve quadratic equations by factoring.
  • Solve quadratic equations by the square root property.
  • Solve quadratic equations by completing the square.
  • Solve quadratic equations by using the quadratic formula.
Two televisions side-by-side. The right television is slightly larger than the left.

The computer monitor on the left in [link] is a 23.6-inch model and the one on the right is a 27-inch model. Proportionally, the monitors appear very similar. If there is a limited amount of space and we desire the largest monitor possible, how do we decide which one to choose? In this section, we will learn how to solve problems such as this using four different methods.

Solving quadratic equations by factoring

An equation containing a second-degree polynomial is called a quadratic equation    . For example, equations such as 2 x 2 + 3 x 1 = 0 and x 2 4 = 0 are quadratic equations. They are used in countless ways in the fields of engineering, architecture, finance, biological science, and, of course, mathematics.

Often the easiest method of solving a quadratic equation is factoring . Factoring means finding expressions that can be multiplied together to give the expression on one side of the equation.

If a quadratic equation can be factored, it is written as a product of linear terms. Solving by factoring depends on the zero-product property, which states that if a b = 0 , then a = 0 or b = 0 , where a and b are real numbers or algebraic expressions. In other words, if the product of two numbers or two expressions equals zero, then one of the numbers or one of the expressions must equal zero because zero multiplied by anything equals zero.

Multiplying the factors expands the equation to a string of terms separated by plus or minus signs. So, in that sense, the operation of multiplication undoes the operation of factoring. For example, expand the factored expression ( x 2 ) ( x + 3 ) by multiplying the two factors together.

( x 2 ) ( x + 3 ) = x 2 + 3 x 2 x 6 = x 2 + x 6

The product is a quadratic expression. Set equal to zero, x 2 + x 6 = 0 is a quadratic equation. If we were to factor the equation, we would get back the factors we multiplied.

The process of factoring a quadratic equation depends on the leading coefficient, whether it is 1 or another integer. We will look at both situations; but first, we want to confirm that the equation is written in standard form, a x 2 + b x + c = 0 , where a , b , and c are real numbers, and a 0. The equation x 2 + x 6 = 0 is in standard form.

We can use the zero-product property to solve quadratic equations in which we first have to factor out the greatest common factor    (GCF), and for equations that have special factoring formulas as well, such as the difference of squares, both of which we will see later in this section.

The zero-product property and quadratic equations

The zero-product property    states

If  a b = 0 ,  then  a = 0  or  b = 0 ,

where a and b are real numbers or algebraic expressions.

A quadratic equation    is an equation containing a second-degree polynomial; for example

a x 2 + b x + c = 0

where a , b , and c are real numbers, and if a 0 , it is in standard form.

Solving quadratics with a leading coefficient of 1

In the quadratic equation x 2 + x 6 = 0 , the leading coefficient, or the coefficient of x 2 , is 1. We have one method of factoring quadratic equations in this form.

Questions & Answers

find to nearest one decimal place of centimeter the length of an arc of circle of radius length 12.5cm and subtending of centeral angle 1.6rad
Martina Reply
factoring polynomial
Noven Reply
what's your topic about?
Shin Reply
find general solution of the Tanx=-1/root3,secx=2/root3
Nani Reply
find general solution of the following equation
the value of 2 sin square 60 Cos 60
Sanjay Reply
when can I use sin, cos tan in a giving question
duru Reply
depending on the question
I am a carpenter and I have to cut and assemble a conventional roof line for a new home. The dimensions are: width 30'6" length 40'6". I want a 6 and 12 pitch. The roof is a full hip construction. Give me the L,W and height of rafters for the hip, hip jacks also the length of common jacks.
I want to learn the calculations
Koru Reply
where can I get indices
Kojo Reply
I need matrices
need help
maybe provide us videos
about complex fraction
What do you mean by a
nothing. I accidentally press it
you guys know any app with matrices?
Solve the x? x=18+(24-3)=72
Leizel Reply
x-39=72 x=111
Solve the formula for the indicated variable P=b+4a+2c, for b
Deadra Reply
Need help with this question please
b= p - 4a - 2c
like Deadra, show me the step by step order of operation to alive for b
A laser rangefinder is locked on a comet approaching Earth. The distance g(x), in kilometers, of the comet after x days, for x in the interval 0 to 30 days, is given by g(x)=250,000csc(π30x). Graph g(x) on the interval [0, 35]. Evaluate g(5)  and interpret the information. What is the minimum distance between the comet and Earth? When does this occur? To which constant in the equation does this correspond? Find and discuss the meaning of any vertical asymptotes.
Kaitlyn Reply
The sequence is {1,-1,1-1.....} has
amit Reply
circular region of radious
Kainat Reply
how can we solve this problem
Joel Reply
Sin(A+B) = sinBcosA+cosBsinA
Eseka Reply
Prove it
Please prove it
Practice Key Terms 7

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Source:  OpenStax, Algebra and trigonometry. OpenStax CNX. Nov 14, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11758/1.6
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