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Quadratic equations

At the end of this tutorial you should know


1. What a quadratic equation is
2. Solve a quadratic equation
3. Apply quadratic equations to simple problem situations

A quadratic equation in standard form is written as ax 2  bx  c  0 where a, b, c  R and a  0 .


Quadratic equations have two solutions called “roots”, note that the highest power in the
equation is two. These solutions may be real numbers or in other cases complex numbers.
Quadratic equations have extensive applications in all types of industry.
Quadratic equations may be solved in many ways; the following examples will be grouped
according to how best they may be solved

Type ax 2  c  0 Generally when working with square roots we only use the
Example 1 positive square root but be reminded that there are two
possible numbers. Note that
x 2  25  0  5
2
 5  5   5    5    5   25
2

x 2  0  25
x 2  25 So 25  5 and 25  5 written as 5

x 2  25
x  5or  5  5

Example 2 We divide each side by 5 first and then proceed as in example 1


5 x 2  20  0
5 x 2  20 x2  1  0 Note that this equation has no
5 2 20
x   x2  4 x  0 1
2
real solutions. Your calculator
5 5
x  1
2
should give you an error when
x2  4
x  1  i
x 4 you execute 1 , that is because
x  2 1 gives a complex number

Example 3

 2 x  3  16 Note that after finding the square roots of


2

 2 x  3  16
2

 2 x  3  16
2

2 x  3  4 We form two equations one with the positive root


2x  3  4 and 2 x  3  4 and one with the negative root. The resulting
2x  4  3 and 2 x  4  3 equations are solved as simple linear equations
2x  7 and 2 x  1
7 1
x and x 
2 2
Type ax 2  bx  0
These equations are best solved using factorization
Example 4

ax 2  bx  0 Note that this type of equation has two solutions, one of


x  ax  b   0 which is always 0
x  0 or ax  b  0 Note also that if ab  0 then either a  0 , b  0 or both  0
x  0 or ax  b
b
x  0 or x 
a

Example 5

6 x  5x2  0
x  6  5x   0
x0
6  5x  0
6  5x
6 5x 6
 x
5 5 5

The quadratic formula


Using the process of completing the square on the general equation we come up with a formula
that can be used to solve any type of quadratic equation

ax 2  bx  c  0
 bx 
a  x 2    c
 a 
Note that for any quadratic equation the
 bx  b  
2
 b 
2

a  x 2       c    b  b 2  4ac
 a  2a    2a  formula x   may be used
 2a
4ac  b 2
2
 b 
a x   
 2a  4a
2
4ac  b 2 This formula is given on your formula sheet
 b 
 x    on the exam, that doesn’t mean you are
 2a  4a 2
not to memorize it. It’s always sweet to
 b  4ac  b 2 her student’s reel of a formula without
x 
 2a  4a 2 looking in a textbook.
b 4ac  b 2
x 
2a 4a 2
b b 2  4ac b  b 2  4ac
x  x
2a 2a 2a
Example 6

b  b 2  4ac
5 x 2  4 x  10  0 Note that a  5, b  4, c  10 , using the formula x   we have
2a

5 x 2  4 x  10  0
Using our formula we obtain two solutions
b  b 2  4ac   14.7 18.7
x   1.87
2a 10 10
   4   4  5  
2
And
x
25
  14.7 10.7
     216   14.7   1.07
x  10 10
10 10
  14.7 18.7
  1.87
10 10
  14.7 10.7
  1.07
10 10
Some simple applications
Example 7
The sum of the squares of two consecutive counting numbers is 25. Given that the first number
is given as x
I. Write down the second number in terms of x
II. Write down an equation to represent the information
III. By solving the equations determine the value of the two numbers

Solution
Since we are working with counting numbers, each is one unit apart from the other
the numbers are represented by x 2 and  x  1
2
I.
II. the equation is
x 2   x  1  25
2

x 2  x 2  2 x  1  25
2 x 2  2 x  24  0
III. Solving the equation we have
Note that we have two solutions
2 x 2  2 x  24  0 2  14 16
  4 and
2  22  4  2  24 4 4
2 2 2  14 12
2  196  3
4 4
4
2  14 16 But we are talking about counting numbers so we
  4 have to discard the – 4 and use x and 3
4 4
2  14 12 Then the numbers we need are 3 and 3+1=4
 3
4 4
So our numbers are 3 and 4
Example 8

2x 5
 3
5 x 1
2 x  x  1  25  3  5  x  1
2x 5
Solve   3 Modifying this equation gives 2 x 2  2 x  25  15 x  15
5 x 1
2 x 2  2 x  15 x  25  15  0
2 x 2  13 x  10  0
Then solve using the formula

Example 9
a. In the diagram below AKLM and ASTJ are both rectangles

I. Obtain an expression in x for the area of the rectangle AKLM

II. Given that the area of the rectangle is 60cm2 show that 2 x 2  7 x  15  0
III. Hence calculate the value of x and state the length of AM and AK

Solution

I. AK  AM   3x  3 2 x  5  6 x2  15x  6 x  15  6 x2  21x  15  0

6 x 2  21x  15  60
II. 6 x 2  21x  15  60  0
6 x 2  21x  45
6 x 2  21x  45  0   2 x 2  7 x  15  0
3

7  7 2  4  2  
2 2
7  169
III. Solving the equation gives 4
7  13 7  13 6
   1.5
4 4 4
7  13 20
  5
4 4

Since we are using a practical idea such as length we use the positive value x  1.5 .

AM  2 x  5  2 1.5  5  8

AK  3x  3  3 1.5  3  7.5
Practice questions

1. Solve the following

a. y 2  49  0

b. 2 x 2  98

2. Solve
5x  2  36
2
a.

2  4 x  1  18  0
2

b.

3. Solve by factoring
a. 5 x 2  10 x  0

b. 2 x  3x 2  0

4. Solve

a. 3x 2  7 x  2  0

b. 6 x 2  17 x  14  0

5. Simplify, organize, then solve

a. 3  x 2  3  28 x

b.  3x 1 x  5  4x  3
2p 5
c.  3
5 p

6. Show that

 2 x  3 2 x  3   x  4   3x 2  8 x  25
2
a.

b. Solve the resulting equation 3 x 2  8 x  25  0

7. The sum of the squares of two consecutive counting numbers is 61

a. Given that the first number is represented by x write an expression in x to represent the

sum of the squares of the numbers

b. By forming an equation and solving it determine the value of each number


8. The floor of a room is in the shape of a rectangle. The room is x meters long. The width of the room

is 2 meters less than its length.

a. State in terms of x

i. the width of the floor

ii. the area of the floor

b. If the area of the floor is 15m2 write down an equation in x to represent this information

c. By solving the equation determine the length and width of the floor

9. A strip of wire 32cm long is cut into two pieces. One piece is used to form a square and the other is

used to form a rectangle as shown below

(a) Write an expression in terms in terms of l and x to represent the length of the wire

(b) Show that l  13  2 x

(c) The sum of the area of the rectangle and the square is given by S

a. Show that S  x 2  6 x  39

b. Calculate the value of x for which S = 30.25


10.