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In this section, you will:
  • Apply the Binomial Theorem.

A polynomial with two terms is called a binomial. We have already learned to multiply binomials and to raise binomials to powers, but raising a binomial to a high power can be tedious and time-consuming. In this section, we will discuss a shortcut that will allow us to find ( x + y ) n without multiplying the binomial by itself n times.

Identifying binomial coefficients

In Counting Principles , we studied combinations . In the shortcut to finding ( x + y ) n , we will need to use combinations to find the coefficients that will appear in the expansion of the binomial. In this case, we use the notation ( n r ) instead of C ( n , r ) , but it can be calculated in the same way. So

( n r ) = C ( n , r ) = n ! r ! ( n r ) !

The combination ( n r ) is called a binomial coefficient . An example of a binomial coefficient is ( 5 2 ) = C ( 5 , 2 ) = 10.

Binomial coefficients

If n and r are integers greater than or equal to 0 with n r , then the binomial coefficient    is

( n r ) = C ( n , r ) = n ! r ! ( n r ) !

Is a binomial coefficient always a whole number?

Yes. Just as the number of combinations must always be a whole number, a binomial coefficient will always be a whole number.

Finding binomial coefficients

Find each binomial coefficient.

  1. ( 5 3 )
  2. ( 9 2 )
  3. ( 9 7 )

Use the formula to calculate each binomial coefficient. You can also use the n C r function on your calculator.

( n r ) = C ( n , r ) = n ! r ! ( n r ) !
  1. ( 5 3 ) = 5 ! 3 ! ( 5 3 ) ! = 5 4 3 ! 3 ! 2 ! = 10
  2. ( 9 2 ) = 9 ! 2 ! ( 9 2 ) ! = 9 8 7 ! 2 ! 7 ! = 36
  3. ( 9 7 ) = 9 ! 7 ! ( 9 7 ) ! = 9 8 7 ! 7 ! 2 ! = 36
Got questions? Get instant answers now!
Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Find each binomial coefficient.

  1. ( 7 3 )
  2. ( 11 4 )

  1. 35
  2. 330

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Using the binomial theorem

When we expand ( x + y ) n by multiplying, the result is called a binomial expansion    , and it includes binomial coefficients. If we wanted to expand ( x + y ) 52 , we might multiply ( x + y ) by itself fifty-two times. This could take hours! If we examine some simple binomial expansions, we can find patterns that will lead us to a shortcut for finding more complicated binomial expansions.

( x + y ) 2 = x 2 + 2 x y + y 2 ( x + y ) 3 = x 3 + 3 x 2 y + 3 x y 2 + y 3 ( x + y ) 4 = x 4 + 4 x 3 y + 6 x 2 y 2 + 4 x y 3 + y 4

First, let’s examine the exponents. With each successive term, the exponent for x decreases and the exponent for y increases. The sum of the two exponents is n for each term.

Next, let’s examine the coefficients. Notice that the coefficients increase and then decrease in a symmetrical pattern. The coefficients follow a pattern:

( n 0 ) , ( n 1 ) , ( n 2 ) , ... , ( n n ) .

These patterns lead us to the Binomial Theorem , which can be used to expand any binomial.

( x + y ) n = k = 0 n ( n k ) x n k y k = x n + ( n 1 ) x n 1 y + ( n 2 ) x n 2 y 2 + ... + ( n n 1 ) x y n 1 + y n

Another way to see the coefficients is to examine the expansion of a binomial in general form, x + y , to successive powers 1, 2, 3, and 4.

( x + y ) 1 = x + y ( x + y ) 2 = x 2 + 2 x y + y 2 ( x + y ) 3 = x 3 + 3 x 2 y + 3 x y 2 + y 3 ( x + y ) 4 = x 4 + 4 x 3 y + 6 x 2 y 2 + 4 x y 3 + y 4

Can you guess the next expansion for the binomial ( x + y ) 5 ?

Graph of the function f_2.

See [link] , which illustrates the following:

  • There are n + 1 terms in the expansion of ( x + y ) n .
  • The degree (or sum of the exponents) for each term is n .
  • The powers on x begin with n and decrease to 0.
  • The powers on y begin with 0 and increase to n .
  • The coefficients are symmetric.

To determine the expansion on ( x + y ) 5 , we see n = 5 , thus, there will be 5+1 = 6 terms. Each term has a combined degree of 5. In descending order for powers of x , the pattern is as follows:

Questions & Answers

can I get some pretty basic questions
Ama Reply
In what way does set notation relate to function notation
Ama
is precalculus needed to take caculus
Amara Reply
It depends on what you already know. Just test yourself with some precalculus questions. If you find them easy, you're good to go.
Spiro
the solution doesn't seem right for this problem
Mars Reply
what is the domain of f(x)=x-4/x^2-2x-15 then
Conney Reply
x is different from -5&3
Seid
how to prroved cos⁴x-sin⁴x= cos²x-sin²x are equal
jeric Reply
Don't think that you can.
Elliott
how do you provided cos⁴x-sin⁴x = cos²x-sin²x are equal
jeric Reply
What are the question marks for?
Elliott
Someone should please solve it for me Add 2over ×+3 +y-4 over 5 simplify (×+a)with square root of two -×root 2 all over a multiply 1over ×-y{(×-y)(×+y)} over ×y
Abena Reply
For the first question, I got (3y-2)/15 Second one, I got Root 2 Third one, I got 1/(y to the fourth power) I dont if it's right cause I can barely understand the question.
Is under distribute property, inverse function, algebra and addition and multiplication function; so is a combined question
Abena
find the equation of the line if m=3, and b=-2
Ashley Reply
graph the following linear equation using intercepts method. 2x+y=4
Ashley
how
Wargod
what?
John
ok, one moment
UriEl
how do I post your graph for you?
UriEl
it won't let me send an image?
UriEl
also for the first one... y=mx+b so.... y=3x-2
UriEl
y=mx+b you were already given the 'm' and 'b'. so.. y=3x-2
Tommy
Please were did you get y=mx+b from
Abena
y=mx+b is the formula of a straight line. where m = the slope & b = where the line crosses the y-axis. In this case, being that the "m" and "b", are given, all you have to do is plug them into the formula to complete the equation.
Tommy
thanks Tommy
Nimo
0=3x-2 2=3x x=3/2 then . y=3/2X-2 I think
Given
co ordinates for x x=0,(-2,0) x=1,(1,1) x=2,(2,4)
neil
"7"has an open circle and "10"has a filled in circle who can I have a set builder notation
Fiston Reply
x=-b+_Гb2-(4ac) ______________ 2a
Ahlicia Reply
I've run into this: x = r*cos(angle1 + angle2) Which expands to: x = r(cos(angle1)*cos(angle2) - sin(angle1)*sin(angle2)) The r value confuses me here, because distributing it makes: (r*cos(angle2))(cos(angle1) - (r*sin(angle2))(sin(angle1)) How does this make sense? Why does the r distribute once
Carlos Reply
so good
abdikarin
this is an identity when 2 adding two angles within a cosine. it's called the cosine sum formula. there is also a different formula when cosine has an angle minus another angle it's called the sum and difference formulas and they are under any list of trig identities
Brad
strategies to form the general term
carlmark
consider r(a+b) = ra + rb. The a and b are the trig identity.
Mike
How can you tell what type of parent function a graph is ?
Mary Reply
generally by how the graph looks and understanding what the base parent functions look like and perform on a graph
William
if you have a graphed line, you can have an idea by how the directions of the line turns, i.e. negative, positive, zero
William
y=x will obviously be a straight line with a zero slope
William
y=x^2 will have a parabolic line opening to positive infinity on both sides of the y axis vice versa with y=-x^2 you'll have both ends of the parabolic line pointing downward heading to negative infinity on both sides of the y axis
William
y=x will be a straight line, but it will have a slope of one. Remember, if y=1 then x=1, so for every unit you rise you move over positively one unit. To get a straight line with a slope of 0, set y=1 or any integer.
Aaron
yes, correction on my end, I meant slope of 1 instead of slope of 0
William
what is f(x)=
Karim Reply
I don't understand
Joe
Typically a function 'f' will take 'x' as input, and produce 'y' as output. As 'f(x)=y'. According to Google, "The range of a function is the complete set of all possible resulting values of the dependent variable (y, usually), after we have substituted the domain."
Thomas
Sorry, I don't know where the "Â"s came from. They shouldn't be there. Just ignore them. :-)
Thomas
GREAT ANSWER THOUGH!!!
Darius
Thanks.
Thomas
Â
Thomas
It is the  that should not be there. It doesn't seem to show if encloses in quotation marks. "Â" or 'Â' ... Â
Thomas
Now it shows, go figure?
Thomas
what is this?
unknown Reply
i do not understand anything
unknown
lol...it gets better
Darius
I've been struggling so much through all of this. my final is in four weeks 😭
Tiffany
this book is an excellent resource! have you guys ever looked at the online tutoring? there's one that is called "That Tutor Guy" and he goes over a lot of the concepts
Darius
thank you I have heard of him. I should check him out.
Tiffany
is there any question in particular?
Joe
I have always struggled with math. I get lost really easy, if you have any advice for that, it would help tremendously.
Tiffany
Sure, are you in high school or college?
Darius
Hi, apologies for the delayed response. I'm in college.
Tiffany
how to solve polynomial using a calculator
Ef Reply
Practice Key Terms 3

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Source:  OpenStax, Precalculus. OpenStax CNX. Jan 19, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11667/1.6
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