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In this section students will:
  • Simplify rational expressions.
  • Multiply rational expressions.
  • Divide rational expressions.
  • Add and subtract rational expressions.
  • Simplify complex rational expressions.

A pastry shop has fixed costs of $ 280 per week and variable costs of $ 9 per box of pastries. The shop’s costs per week in terms of x , the number of boxes made, is 280 + 9 x . We can divide the costs per week by the number of boxes made to determine the cost per box of pastries.

280 + 9 x x

Notice that the result is a polynomial expression divided by a second polynomial expression. In this section, we will explore quotients of polynomial expressions.

Simplifying rational expressions

The quotient of two polynomial expressions is called a rational expression    . We can apply the properties of fractions to rational expressions, such as simplifying the expressions by canceling common factors from the numerator and the denominator. To do this, we first need to factor both the numerator and denominator. Let’s start with the rational expression shown.

x 2 + 8 x + 16 x 2 + 11 x + 28

We can factor the numerator and denominator to rewrite the expression.

( x + 4 ) 2 ( x + 4 ) ( x + 7 )

Then we can simplify that expression by canceling the common factor ( x + 4 ) .

x + 4 x + 7

Given a rational expression, simplify it.

  1. Factor the numerator and denominator.
  2. Cancel any common factors.

Simplifying rational expressions

Simplify x 2 9 x 2 + 4 x + 3 .

( x + 3 ) ( x 3 ) ( x + 3 ) ( x + 1 ) Factor the numerator and the denominator . x 3 x + 1 Cancel common factor  ( x + 3 ) .
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Can the x 2 term be cancelled in [link] ?

No. A factor is an expression that is multiplied by another expression. The x 2 term is not a factor of the numerator or the denominator.

Simplify x 6 x 2 36 .

1 x + 6

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Multiplying rational expressions

Multiplication of rational expressions works the same way as multiplication of any other fractions. We multiply the numerators to find the numerator of the product, and then multiply the denominators to find the denominator of the product. Before multiplying, it is helpful to factor the numerators and denominators just as we did when simplifying rational expressions. We are often able to simplify the product of rational expressions.

Given two rational expressions, multiply them.

  1. Factor the numerator and denominator.
  2. Multiply the numerators.
  3. Multiply the denominators.
  4. Simplify.

Multiplying rational expressions

Multiply the rational expressions and show the product in simplest form:

( x + 5 ) ( x 1 ) 3 ( x + 6 ) ( 2 x 1 ) ( x + 5 )
( x + 5 ) ( x 1 ) 3 ( x + 6 ) ( 2 x 1 ) ( x + 5 ) Factor the numerator and denominator . ( x + 5 ) ( x 1 ) ( 2 x 1 ) 3 ( x + 6 ) ( x + 5 ) Multiply numerators and denominators . ( x + 5 ) ( x 1 ) ( 2 x 1 ) 3 ( x + 6 ) ( x + 5 ) Cancel common factors to simplify . ( x 1 ) ( 2 x 1 ) 3 ( x + 6 )  
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Multiply the rational expressions and show the product in simplest form:

x 2 + 11 x + 30 x 2 + 5 x + 6 x 2 + 7 x + 12 x 2 + 8 x + 16

( x + 5 ) ( x + 6 ) ( x + 2 ) ( x + 4 )

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Dividing rational expressions

Division of rational expressions works the same way as division of other fractions. To divide a rational expression by another rational expression, multiply the first expression by the reciprocal of the second. Using this approach, we would rewrite 1 x ÷ x 2 3 as the product 1 x 3 x 2 . Once the division expression has been rewritten as a multiplication expression, we can multiply as we did before.

Questions & Answers

Find the possible value of 8.5 using moivre's theorem
Reuben Reply
which of these functions is not uniformly cintinuous on (0, 1)? sinx
Pooja Reply
which of these functions is not uniformly continuous on 0,1
Basant Reply
solve this equation by completing the square 3x-4x-7=0
Jamiz Reply
X=7
Muustapha
=7
mantu
x=7
mantu
3x-4x-7=0 -x=7 x=-7
Kr
x=-7
mantu
9x-16x-49=0 -7x=49 -x=7 x=7
mantu
what's the formula
Modress
-x=7
Modress
what is trigonometry
Jean Reply
deals with circles, angles, and triangles. Usually in the form of Soh cah toa or sine, cosine, and tangent
Thomas
solve for me this equational y=2-x
Rubben Reply
what are you solving for
Alex
solve x
Rubben
you would move everything to the other side leaving x by itself. subtract 2 and divide -1.
Nikki
then I got x=-2
Rubben
it will b -y+2=x
Alex
goodness. I'm sorry. I will let Alex take the wheel.
Nikki
ouky thanks braa
Rubben
I think he drive me safe
Rubben
how to get 8 trigonometric function of tanA=0.5, given SinA=5/13? Can you help me?m
Pab Reply
More example of algebra and trigo
Stephen Reply
What is Indices
Yashim Reply
If one side only of a triangle is given is it possible to solve for the unkown two sides?
Felix Reply
cool
Rubben
kya
Khushnama
please I need help in maths
Dayo Reply
Okey tell me, what's your problem is?
Navin
the least possible degree ?
Dejen Reply
(1+cosA)(1-cosA)=sin^2A
BINCY Reply
good
Neha
why I'm sending you solved question
Mirza
Teach me abt the echelon method
Khamis
exact value of cos(π/3-π/4)
Ankit Reply
What is differentiation?
Intakhab Reply
Practice Key Terms 2

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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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