# 1.6 Rational expressions

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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 $\text{\hspace{0.17em}}\text{}280\text{\hspace{0.17em}}$ per week and variable costs of $\text{\hspace{0.17em}}\text{}9\text{\hspace{0.17em}}$ per box of pastries. The shop’s costs per week in terms of $\text{\hspace{0.17em}}x,$ the number of boxes made, is $\text{\hspace{0.17em}}280+9x.\text{\hspace{0.17em}}$ We can divide the costs per week by the number of boxes made to determine the cost per box of pastries.

$\frac{280+9x}{x}$

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.

$\frac{{x}^{2}+8x+16}{{x}^{2}+11x+28}$

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

$\frac{{\left(x+4\right)}^{2}}{\left(x+4\right)\left(x+7\right)}$

Then we can simplify that expression by canceling the common factor $\text{\hspace{0.17em}}\left(x+4\right).$

$\frac{x+4}{x+7}$

Given a rational expression, simplify it.

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

## Simplifying rational expressions

Simplify $\text{\hspace{0.17em}}\frac{{x}^{2}-9}{{x}^{2}+4x+3}.$

Can the $\text{\hspace{0.17em}}{x}^{2}\text{\hspace{0.17em}}$ term be cancelled in [link] ?

No. A factor is an expression that is multiplied by another expression. The $\text{\hspace{0.17em}}{x}^{2}\text{\hspace{0.17em}}$ term is not a factor of the numerator or the denominator.

Simplify $\text{\hspace{0.17em}}\frac{x-6}{{x}^{2}-36}.$

$\frac{1}{x+6}$

## 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:

$\frac{\left(x+5\right)\left(x-1\right)}{3\left(x+6\right)}\cdot \frac{\left(2x-1\right)}{\left(x+5\right)}$

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

$\frac{{x}^{2}+11x+30}{{x}^{2}+5x+6}\cdot \frac{{x}^{2}+7x+12}{{x}^{2}+8x+16}$

$\frac{\left(x+5\right)\left(x+6\right)}{\left(x+2\right)\left(x+4\right)}$

## 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 $\text{\hspace{0.17em}}\frac{1}{x}÷\frac{{x}^{2}}{3}\text{\hspace{0.17em}}$ as the product $\text{\hspace{0.17em}}\frac{1}{x}\cdot \frac{3}{{x}^{2}}.\text{\hspace{0.17em}}$ Once the division expression has been rewritten as a multiplication expression, we can multiply as we did before.

#### Questions & Answers

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
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
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
the polar co-ordinate of the point (-1, -1)
Sumit Reply

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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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