<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Writing rational functions

Now that we have analyzed the equations for rational functions and how they relate to a graph of the function, we can use information given by a graph to write the function. A rational function written in factored form will have an x -intercept where each factor of the numerator is equal to zero. (An exception occurs in the case of a removable discontinuity.) As a result, we can form a numerator of a function whose graph will pass through a set of x -intercepts by introducing a corresponding set of factors. Likewise, because the function will have a vertical asymptote where each factor of the denominator is equal to zero, we can form a denominator that will produce the vertical asymptotes by introducing a corresponding set of factors.

Writing rational functions from intercepts and asymptotes

If a rational function    has x -intercepts at x = x 1 ,   x 2 ,   ... ,   x n , vertical asymptotes at x = v 1 , v 2 , , v m , and no x i = any  v j , then the function can be written in the form:

f ( x ) = a ( x x 1 ) p 1 ( x x 2 ) p 2 ( x x n ) p n ( x v 1 ) q 1 ( x v 2 ) q 2 ( x v m ) q n

where the powers p i or q i on each factor can be determined by the behavior of the graph at the corresponding intercept or asymptote, and the stretch factor a can be determined given a value of the function other than the x -intercept or by the horizontal asymptote if it is nonzero.

Given a graph of a rational function, write the function.

  1. Determine the factors of the numerator. Examine the behavior of the graph at the x -intercepts to determine the zeroes and their multiplicities. (This is easy to do when finding the “simplest” function with small multiplicities—such as 1 or 3—but may be difficult for larger multiplicities—such as 5 or 7, for example.)
  2. Determine the factors of the denominator. Examine the behavior on both sides of each vertical asymptote to determine the factors and their powers.
  3. Use any clear point on the graph to find the stretch factor.

Writing a rational function from intercepts and asymptotes

Write an equation for the rational function shown in [link] .

Graph of a rational function.

The graph appears to have x -intercepts at x = 2 and x = 3. At both, the graph passes through the intercept, suggesting linear factors. The graph has two vertical asymptotes. The one at x = 1 seems to exhibit the basic behavior similar to 1 x , with the graph heading toward positive infinity on one side and heading toward negative infinity on the other. The asymptote at x = 2 is exhibiting a behavior similar to 1 x 2 , with the graph heading toward negative infinity on both sides of the asymptote. See [link] .

Graph of a rational function denoting its vertical asymptotes and x-intercepts.

We can use this information to write a function of the form

f ( x ) = a ( x + 2 ) ( x 3 ) ( x + 1 ) ( x 2 ) 2 .

To find the stretch factor, we can use another clear point on the graph, such as the y -intercept ( 0 , –2 ) .

2 = a ( 0 + 2 ) ( 0 3 ) ( 0 + 1 ) ( 0 2 ) 2 2 = a 6 4     a = 8 6 = 4 3

This gives us a final function of f ( x ) = 4 ( x + 2 ) ( x 3 ) 3 ( x + 1 ) ( x 2 ) 2 .

Got questions? Get instant answers now!
Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Questions & Answers

how fast can i understand functions without much difficulty
Joe Reply
what is set?
Kelvin Reply
a colony of bacteria is growing exponentially doubling in size every 100 minutes. how much minutes will it take for the colony of bacteria to triple in size
Divya Reply
I got 300 minutes. is it right?
Patience
no. should be about 150 minutes.
Jason
It should be 158.5 minutes.
Mr
ok, thanks
Patience
100•3=300 300=50•2^x 6=2^x x=log_2(6) =2.5849625 so, 300=50•2^2.5849625 and, so, the # of bacteria will double every (100•2.5849625) = 258.49625 minutes
Thomas
what is the importance knowing the graph of circular functions?
Arabella Reply
can get some help basic precalculus
ismail Reply
What do you need help with?
Andrew
how to convert general to standard form with not perfect trinomial
Camalia Reply
can get some help inverse function
ismail
Rectangle coordinate
Asma Reply
how to find for x
Jhon Reply
it depends on the equation
Robert
yeah, it does. why do we attempt to gain all of them one side or the other?
Melissa
whats a domain
mike Reply
The domain of a function is the set of all input on which the function is defined. For example all real numbers are the Domain of any Polynomial function.
Spiro
Spiro; thanks for putting it out there like that, 😁
Melissa
foci (–7,–17) and (–7,17), the absolute value of the differenceof the distances of any point from the foci is 24.
Churlene Reply
difference between calculus and pre calculus?
Asma Reply
give me an example of a problem so that I can practice answering
Jenefa Reply
x³+y³+z³=42
Robert
dont forget the cube in each variable ;)
Robert
of she solves that, well ... then she has a lot of computational force under her command ....
Walter
what is a function?
CJ Reply
I want to learn about the law of exponent
Quera Reply
explain this
Hinderson Reply
Practice Key Terms 5

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store Now




Source:  OpenStax, Precalculus. OpenStax CNX. Jan 19, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11667/1.6
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Precalculus' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask