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Simplifying rational exponents

Simplify:

  1. 5 ( 2 x 3 4 ) ( 3 x 1 5 )
  2. ( 16 9 ) 1 2

  1. 30 x 3 4 x 1 5 Multiply the coefficients . 30 x 3 4 + 1 5 Use properties of exponents . 30 x 19 20 Simplify .

  2. ( 9 16 ) 1 2    Use definition of negative exponents . 9 16    Rewrite as a radical . 9 16    Use the quotient rule . 3 4    Simplify .
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Simplify ( 8 x ) 1 3 ( 14 x 6 5 ) .

28 x 23 15

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Access these online resources for additional instruction and practice with radicals and rational exponents.

Key concepts

  • The principal square root of a number a is the nonnegative number that when multiplied by itself equals a . See [link] .
  • If a and b are nonnegative, the square root of the product a b is equal to the product of the square roots of a and b See [link] and [link] .
  • If a and b are nonnegative, the square root of the quotient a b is equal to the quotient of the square roots of a and b See [link] and [link] .
  • We can add and subtract radical expressions if they have the same radicand and the same index. See [link] and [link] .
  • Radical expressions written in simplest form do not contain a radical in the denominator. To eliminate the square root radical from the denominator, multiply both the numerator and the denominator by the conjugate of the denominator. See [link] and [link] .
  • The principal n th root of a is the number with the same sign as a that when raised to the n th power equals a . These roots have the same properties as square roots. See [link] .
  • Radicals can be rewritten as rational exponents and rational exponents can be rewritten as radicals. See [link] and [link] .
  • The properties of exponents apply to rational exponents. See [link] .

Section exercises

Verbal

What does it mean when a radical does not have an index? Is the expression equal to the radicand? Explain.

When there is no index, it is assumed to be 2 or the square root. The expression would only be equal to the radicand if the index were 1.

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Where would radicals come in the order of operations? Explain why.

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Every number will have two square roots. What is the principal square root?

The principal square root is the nonnegative root of the number.

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Can a radical with a negative radicand have a real square root? Why or why not?

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Numeric

For the following exercises, simplify each expression.

Algebraic

For the following exercises, simplify each expression.

8 1 3 x

2 2 + 2 6 x 1 −3 x

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w 3 2 32 w 3 2 50

w 2 w

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12 x 2 + 2 3

3 x 3 x 2

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162 x 6 16 x 4 4

3 2 x 2 4 2

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128 z 3 3 −16 z 3 3

6 z 2 3

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Real-world applications

A guy wire for a suspension bridge runs from the ground diagonally to the top of the closest pylon to make a triangle. We can use the Pythagorean Theorem to find the length of guy wire needed. The square of the distance between the wire on the ground and the pylon on the ground is 90,000 feet. The square of the height of the pylon is 160,000 feet. So the length of the guy wire can be found by evaluating 90,000 + 160,000 . What is the length of the guy wire?

500 feet

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A car accelerates at a rate of 6 4 t  m/s 2 where t is the time in seconds after the car moves from rest. Simplify the expression.

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Extensions

For the following exercises, simplify each expression.

8 16 4 2 2 1 2

−5 2 −6 7

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m n 3 a 2 c −3 a −7 n −2 m 2 c 4

m n c a 9 c m n

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x 64 y + 4 y 128 y

2 2 x + 2 4

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( 250 x 2 100 b 3 ) ( 7 b 125 x )

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64 3 + 256 4 64 + 256

3 3

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Questions & Answers

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
Eseka
Please prove it
Eseka
hi
Joel
June needs 45 gallons of punch. 2 different coolers. Bigger cooler is 5 times as large as smaller cooler. How many gallons in each cooler?
Arleathia Reply
7.5 and 37.5
Nando
find the sum of 28th term of the AP 3+10+17+---------
Prince Reply
I think you should say "28 terms" instead of "28th term"
Vedant
the 28th term is 175
Nando
192
Kenneth
if sequence sn is a such that sn>0 for all n and lim sn=0than prove that lim (s1 s2............ sn) ke hole power n =n
SANDESH Reply
write down the polynomial function with root 1/3,2,-3 with solution
Gift Reply
if A and B are subspaces of V prove that (A+B)/B=A/(A-B)
Pream Reply
write down the value of each of the following in surd form a)cos(-65°) b)sin(-180°)c)tan(225°)d)tan(135°)
Oroke Reply
Prove that (sinA/1-cosA - 1-cosA/sinA) (cosA/1-sinA - 1-sinA/cosA) = 4
kiruba Reply
what is the answer to dividing negative index
Morosi Reply
In a triangle ABC prove that. (b+c)cosA+(c+a)cosB+(a+b)cisC=a+b+c.
Shivam Reply
give me the waec 2019 questions
Aaron Reply
Practice Key Terms 6

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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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