Equations and Inequalities
Other Types of Equations
Learning Objectives
In this section you will:
 Solve equations involving rational exponents.
 Solve equations using factoring.
 Solve radical equations.
 Solve absolute value equations.
 Solve other types of equations.
We have solved linear equations, rational equations, and quadratic equations using several methods. However, there are many other types of equations, and we will investigate a few more types in this section. We will look at equations involving rational exponents, polynomial equations, radical equations, absolute value equations, equations in quadratic form, and some rational equations that can be transformed into quadratics. Solving any equation, however, employs the same basic algebraic rules. We will learn some new techniques as they apply to certain equations, but the algebra never changes.
Solving Equations Involving Rational Exponents
Rational exponents are exponents that are fractions, where the numerator is a power and the denominator is a root. For example,is another way of writing[latex]{8}^{\frac{1}{3}}\,[/latex]is another way of writingThe ability to work with rational exponents is a useful skill, as it is highly applicable in calculus.
We can solve equations in which a variable is raised to a rational exponent by raising both sides of the equation to the reciprocal of the exponent. The reason we raise the equation to the reciprocal of the exponent is because we want to eliminate the exponent on the variable term, and a number multiplied by its reciprocal equals 1. For example,[latex]3\left(\frac{1}{3}\right)=1,[/latex]and so on.
Rational Exponents
A rational exponent indicates a power in the numerator and a root in the denominator. There are multiple ways of writing an expression, a variable, or a number with a rational exponent:
Evaluating a Number Raised to a Rational Exponent
Evaluate
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Whether we take the root first or the power first depends on the number. It is easy to find the cube root of 8, so rewriteas
Try It
Evaluate
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[/hiddenanswer]
Solve the Equation Including a Variable Raised to a Rational Exponent
Solve the equation in which a variable is raised to a rational exponent:
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The way to remove the exponent on x is by raising both sides of the equation to a power that is the reciprocal ofwhich is
Try It
Solve the equation
[/hiddenanswer]
Solving an Equation Involving Rational Exponents and Factoring
Solve
[revealanswer q=”1522050″]Show Solution[/revealanswer][hiddenanswer a=”1522050″]
This equation involves rational exponents as well as factoring rational exponents. Let us take this one step at a time. First, put the variable terms on one side of the equal sign and set the equation equal to zero.
Now, it looks like we should factor the left side, but what do we factor out? We can always factor the term with the lowest exponent. RewriteasThen, factor outfrom both terms on the left.
Where didcome from? Remember, when we multiply two numbers with the same base, we add the exponents. Therefore, if we multiplyback in using the distributive property, we get the expression we had before the factoring, which is what should happen. We need an exponent such that when added toequalsThus, the exponent on x in the parentheses is
Let us continue. Now we have two factors and can use the zero factor theorem.
The two solutions are and [/hiddenanswer]
Try It
Solve:
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[/hiddenanswer]
Solving Equations Using Factoring
We have used factoring to solve quadratic equations, but it is a technique that we can use with many types of polynomial equations, which are equations that contain a string of terms including numerical coefficients and variables. When we are faced with an equation containing polynomials of degree higher than 2, we can often solve them by factoring.
Polynomial Equations
A polynomial of degree n is an expression of the type
where n is a positive integer andare real numbers and
Setting the polynomial equal to zero gives a polynomial equation. The total number of solutions (real and complex) to a polynomial equation is equal to the highest exponent n.
Solving a Polynomial by Factoring
Solve the polynomial by factoring:
[revealanswer q=”1517483″]Show Solution[/revealanswer][hiddenanswer a=”1517483″]
First, set the equation equal to zero. Then factor out what is common to both terms, the GCF.
Notice that we have the difference of squares in the factorwhich we will continue to factor and obtain two solutions. The first term,generates, technically, two solutions as the exponent is 2, but they are the same solution.
The solutions are [latex]4,[/latex] and [/hiddenanswer]
Analysis
We can see the solutions on the graph in (Figure). The xcoordinates of the points where the graph crosses the xaxis are the solutionsâ€”the xintercepts. Notice on the graph that at the solutionthe graph touches the xaxis and bounces back. It does not cross the xaxis. This is typical of double solutions.
Try It
Solve by factoring:
[hiddenanswer a=”fsid1244467″]
[latex]x=\frac{1}{2},[/latex]
[/hiddenanswer]
Solve a Polynomial by Grouping
Solve a polynomial by grouping:
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This polynomial consists of 4 terms, which we can solve by grouping. Grouping procedures require factoring the first two terms and then factoring the last two terms. If the factors in the parentheses are identical, we can continue the process and solve, unless more factoring is suggested.
The grouping process ends here, as we can factor
using the difference of squares formula.
The solutions are [latex]3,[/latex] and Note that the highest exponent is 3 and we obtained 3 solutions. We can see the solutions, the xintercepts, on the graph in (Figure).[/hiddenanswer]
Analysis
We looked at solving quadratic equations by factoring when the leading coefficient is 1. When the leading coefficient is not 1, we solved by grouping. Grouping requires four terms, which we obtained by splitting the linear term of quadratic equations. We can also use grouping for some polynomials of degree higher than 2, as we saw here, since there were already four terms.
Solving Radical Equations
Radical equations are equations that contain variables in the radicand (the expression under a radical symbol), such as
Radical equations may have one or more radical terms, and are solved by eliminating each radical, one at a time. We have to be careful when solving radical equations, as it is not unusual to find extraneous solutions, roots that are not, in fact, solutions to the equation. These solutions are not due to a mistake in the solving method, but result from the process of raising both sides of an equation to a power. However, checking each answer in the original equation will confirm the true solutions.
Radical Equations
An equation containing terms with a variable in the radicand is called a radical equation.
How To
Given a radical equation, solve it.
 Isolate the radical expression on one side of the equal sign. Put all remaining terms on the other side.
 If the radical is a square root, then square both sides of the equation. If it is a cube root, then raise both sides of the equation to the third power. In other words, for an nth root radical, raise both sides to the nth power. Doing so eliminates the radical symbol.
 Solve the remaining equation.
 If a radical term still remains, repeat steps 1â€“2.
 Confirm solutions by substituting them into the original equation.
Solving an Equation with One Radical
Solve
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The radical is already isolated on the left side of the equal side, so proceed to square both sides.
We see that the remaining equation is a quadratic. Set it equal to zero and solve.
The proposed solutions are and Let us check each solution back in the original equation. First, check
This is an extraneous solution. While no mistake was made solving the equation, we found a solution that does not satisfy the original equation.
Check
The solution is [/hiddenanswer]
Try It
Solve the radical equation:
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extraneous solution
[/hiddenanswer]
Solving a Radical Equation Containing Two Radicals
Solve
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As this equation contains two radicals, we isolate one radical, eliminate it, and then isolate the second radical.
Use the perfect square formula to expand the right side:
Now that both radicals have been eliminated, set the quadratic equal to zero and solve.
The proposed solutions are and Check each solution in the original equation.
One solution is
Check
The only solution is We see thatis an extraneous solution.[/hiddenanswer]
Try It
Solve the equation with two radicals:
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extraneous solution
[/hiddenanswer]
Solving an Absolute Value Equation
Next, we will learn how to solve an absolute value equation. To solve an equation such aswe notice that the absolute value will be equal to 8 if the quantity inside the absolute value bars isorThis leads to two different equations we can solve independently.
Knowing how to solve problems involving absolute value functions is useful. For example, we may need to identify numbers or points on a line that are at a specified distance from a given reference point.
Absolute Value Equations
The absolute value of x is written asIt has the following properties:
For real numbersandan equation of the formwithwill have solutions whenorIfthe equationhas no solution.
An absolute value equation in the formhas the following properties:
How To
Given an absolute value equation, solve it.
 Isolate the absolute value expression on one side of the equal sign.
 Ifwrite and solve two equations:and
Solving Absolute Value Equations
Solve the following absolute value equations:
 (a)
 (b)
 (c)
 (d)
[revealanswer q=”2683627″]Show Solution[/revealanswer][hiddenanswer a=”2683627″]

(a)
Write two equations and solve each:
The two solutions are and

(b)
There is no solution as an absolute value cannot be negative.

(c)
Isolate the absolute value expression and then write two equations.
There are two solutions: and

(d)
The equation is set equal to zero, so we have to write only one equation.
There is one solution: [/hiddenanswer]
Try It
Solve the absolute value equation:
[hiddenanswer a=”fsid2385860″]
[latex]x=\frac{3}{2}[/latex]
[/hiddenanswer]
Solving Other Types of Equations
There are many other types of equations in addition to the ones we have discussed so far. We will see more of them throughout the text. Here, we will discuss equations that are in quadratic form, and rational equations that result in a quadratic.
Solving Equations in Quadratic Form
Equations in quadratic form are equations with three terms. The first term has a power other than 2. The middle term has an exponent that is onehalf the exponent of the leading term. The third term is a constant. We can solve equations in this form as if they were quadratic. A few examples of these equations includeandIn each one, doubling the exponent of the middle term equals the exponent on the leading term. We can solve these equations by substituting a variable for the middle term.
Quadratic Form
If the exponent on the middle term is onehalf of the exponent on the leading term, we have an equation in quadratic form, which we can solve as if it were a quadratic. We substitute a variable for the middle term to solve equations in quadratic form.
How To
Given an equation quadratic in form, solve it.
 Identify the exponent on the leading term and determine whether it is double the exponent on the middle term.
 If it is, substitute a variable, such as u, for the variable portion of the middle term.
 Rewrite the equation so that it takes on the standard form of a quadratic.
 Solve using one of the usual methods for solving a quadratic.
 Replace the substitution variable with the original term.
 Solve the remaining equation.
Solving a Fourthdegree Equation in Quadratic Form
Solve this fourthdegree equation:
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This equation fits the main criteria, that the power on the leading term is double the power on the middle term. Next, we will make a substitution for the variable term in the middle. LetRewrite the equation in u.
Now solve the quadratic.
Solve each factor and replace the original term for u.
The solutions are and [/hiddenanswer]
Try It
Solve using substitution:
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[/hiddenanswer]
Solving an Equation in Quadratic Form Containing a Binomial
Solve the equation in quadratic form:
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This equation contains a binomial in place of the single variable. The tendency is to expand what is presented. However, recognizing that it fits the criteria for being in quadratic form makes all the difference in the solving process. First, make a substitution, lettingThen rewrite the equation in u.
Solve using the zerofactor property and then replace u with the original expression.
The second factor results in
We have two solutions: and [/hiddenanswer]
Try It
Solve:
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[/hiddenanswer]
Solving Rational Equations Resulting in a Quadratic
Earlier, we solved rational equations. Sometimes, solving a rational equation results in a quadratic. When this happens, we continue the solution by simplifying the quadratic equation by one of the methods we have seen. It may turn out that there is no solution.
Solving a Rational Equation Leading to a Quadratic
Solve the following rational equation:
[hiddenanswer a=”fsid2797287″]
We want all denominators in factored form to find the LCD. Two of the denominators cannot be factored further. However,Then, the LCD isNext, we multiply the whole equation by the LCD.
In this case, either solution produces a zero in the denominator in the original equation. Thus, there is no solution.[/hiddenanswer]
Try It
Solve
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[latex]x=0[/latex]is not a solution.
[/hiddenanswer]
Access these online resources for additional instruction and practice with different types of equations.
Key Concepts
 Rational exponents can be rewritten several ways depending on what is most convenient for the problem. To solve, both sides of the equation are raised to a power that will render the exponent on the variable equal to 1. See (Figure), (Figure), and (Figure).
 Factoring extends to higherorder polynomials when it involves factoring out the GCF or factoring by grouping. See (Figure) and (Figure).
 We can solve radical equations by isolating the radical and raising both sides of the equation to a power that matches the index. See (Figure) and (Figure).
 To solve absolute value equations, we need to write two equations, one for the positive value and one for the negative value. See (Figure).
 Equations in quadratic form are easy to spot, as the exponent on the first term is double the exponent on the second term and the third term is a constant. We may also see a binomial in place of the single variable. We use substitution to solve. See (Figure) and (Figure).
 Solving a rational equation may also lead to a quadratic equation or an equation in quadratic form. See (Figure).
Section Exercises
Verbal
In a radical equation, what does it mean if a number is an extraneous solution?
[hiddenanswer a=”fsid2028962″]
This is not a solution to the radical equation, it is a value obtained from squaring both sides and thus changing the signs of an equation which has caused it not to be a solution in the original equation.
[/hiddenanswer]
Explain why possible solutions must be checked in radical equations.
Your friend tries to calculate the valueand keeps getting an ERROR message. What mistake is he or she probably making?
[hiddenanswer a=”fsid1690245″]
He or she is probably trying to enter negative 9, but taking the square root ofis not a real number. The negative sign is in front of this, so your friend should be taking the square root of 9, cubing it, and then putting the negative sign in front, resulting in
[/hiddenanswer]
Explain whyhas no solutions.
Explain how to change a rational exponent into the correct radical expression.
[hiddenanswer a=”fsid3018943″]
A rational exponent is a fraction: the denominator of the fraction is the root or index number and the numerator is the power to which it is raised.
[/hiddenanswer]
Algebraic
For the following exercises, solve the rational exponent equation. Use factoring where necessary.
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[/hiddenanswer]
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[/hiddenanswer]
For the following exercises, solve the following polynomial equations by grouping and factoring.
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[/hiddenanswer]
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[/hiddenanswer]
[hiddenanswer a=”fsid2645204″]
[/hiddenanswer]
[hiddenanswer a=”fsid1337966″]
[/hiddenanswer]
For the following exercises, solve the radical equation. Be sure to check all solutions to eliminate extraneous solutions.
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[/hiddenanswer]
[hiddenanswer a=”fsid2385196″]
[/hiddenanswer]
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[/hiddenanswer]
[hiddenanswer a=”fsid2383872″]
[/hiddenanswer]
For the following exercises, solve the equation involving absolute value.
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[/hiddenanswer]
[hiddenanswer a=”fsid2818662″]
[/hiddenanswer]
[hiddenanswer a=”fsid1780317″]
[/hiddenanswer]
[hiddenanswer a=”fsid2390987″]
[/hiddenanswer]
For the following exercises, solve the equation by identifying the quadratic form. Use a substitute variable and find all real solutions by factoring.
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[/hiddenanswer]
[hiddenanswer a=”fsid1518893″]
[/hiddenanswer]
Extensions
For the following exercises, solve for the unknown variable.
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All real numbers
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[/hiddenanswer]
RealWorld Applications
For the following exercises, use the model for the period of a pendulum,such thatwhere the length of the pendulum is L and the acceleration due to gravity is
If the acceleration due to gravity is 9.8 m/s^{2} and the period equals 1 s, find the length to the nearest cm (100 cm = 1 m).
If the gravity is 32 ft/s^{2} and the period equals 1 s, find the length to the nearest in. (12 in. = 1 ft). Round your answer to the nearest in.
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10 in.
[/hiddenanswer]
For the following exercises, use a model for body surface area, BSA, such thatwhere w = weight in kg and h = height in cm.
Find the height of a 72kg female to the nearest cm whose
Find the weight of a 177cm male to the nearest kg whose
[hiddenanswer a=”fsid2290740″]
90 kg
[/hiddenanswer]
Glossary
 absolute value equation
 an equation in which the variable appears in absolute value bars, typically with two solutions, one accounting for the positive expression and one for the negative expression
 equations in quadratic form
 equations with a power other than 2 but with a middle term with an exponent that is onehalf the exponent of the leading term
 extraneous solutions
 any solutions obtained that are not valid in the original equation
 polynomial equation
 an equation containing a string of terms including numerical coefficients and variables raised to wholenumber exponents
 radical equation
 an equation containing at least one radical term where the variable is part of the radicand