# FACTORING ax 2 bx c. Factoring Trinomials with Leading Coefficient 1

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1 5.7 Factoring ax 2 bx c (5-49) FACTORING ax 2 bx c In this section In Section 5.5 you learned to factor certain special polynomials. In this section you will learn to factor general quadratic polynomials. We first factor ax 2 bx c with a 1, and then we consider the case a 1. Factoring Trinomials with Leading Coefficient 1 Factoring Trinomials with Leading Coefficient Not 1 Trial and Error Higher Degrees and Variable Exponents Factoring Trinomials with Leading Coefficient 1 Let s look closely at an example of finding the product of two binomials using the distributive property: (x 3)(x 4) (x 3)x (x 3)4 Distributive property x 2 3x 4x 12 Distributive property x 2 7x 12 To factor x 2 7x 12, we need to reverse these steps. First observe that the coefficient 7 is the sum of two numbers that have a product of 12. The only numbers that have a product of 12 and a sum of 7 are 3 and 4. So write 7x as 3x 4x: x 2 7x 12 x 2 3x 4x 12 Now factor the common factor x out of the first two terms and the common factor 4 out of the last two terms. This method is called factoring by grouping. Factor out x Factor out 4 x 2 7x 12 x 2 3x 4x 12 Rewrite 7x as 3x 4x. (x 3)x (x 3)4 Factor out common factors. (x 3)(x 4) Factor out the common factor x 3. E X A M P L E 1 Factoring a trinomial by grouping Factor each trinomial by grouping. a) x 2 9x 18 b) x 2 2x 24 a) We need to find two integers with a product of 18 and a sum of 9. For a product of 18 we could use 1 and 18, 2 and 9, or 3 and 6. Only 3 and 6 have a sum of 9. So we replace 9x with 3x 6x and factor by grouping: x 2 9x 18 x 2 3x 6x 18 Replace 9x by 3x 6x. (x 3)x (x 3)6 Factor out common factors. (x 3)(x 6) Check by using FOIL. b) We need to find two integers with a product of 24 and a sum of 2. For a product of 24 we have 1 and 24, 2 and 12, 3 and 8, or 4 and 6. To get a product of 24 and a sum of 2, we must use 4 and 6: x 2 2x 24 x 2 6x 4x 24 Replace 2x with 6x 4x. (x 6)x (x 6)4 Factor out common factors. (x 6)(x 4) Check by using FOIL. The method shown in Example 1 can be shortened greatly. Once we discover that 3 and 6 have a product of 18 and a sum of 9, we can simply write x 2 9x 18 (x 3)(x 6).

2 306 (5-50) Chapter 5 Exponents and Polynomials Once we discover that 4 and 6 have a product of 24 and a sum of 2, we can simply write x 2 2x 24 (x 6)(x 4). In the next example we use this shortcut. E X A M P L E 2 Factoring ax 2 bx c with a 1 Factor each quadratic polynomial. a) x 2 4x 3 b) x 2 3x 10 c) a 2 5a 6 study tip Set short-term goals and reward yourself for accomplishing them. When you have solved 10 problems, take a short break and listen to your favorite music. a) Two integers with a product of 3 and a sum of 4 are 1 and 3: x 2 4x 3 (x 1)(x 3) Check by using FOIL. b) Two integers with a product of 10 and a sum of 3 are 5 and 2: x 2 3x 10 (x 5)(x 2) Check by using FOIL. c) Two integers with a product of 6 and a sum of 5 are 3 and 2: a 2 5a 6 (a 3)(a 2) Check by using FOIL. Factoring Trinomials with Leading Coefficient Not 1 If the leading coefficient of a quadratic trinomial is not 1, we can again use grouping to factor the trinomial. However, the procedure is slightly different. Consider the trinomial 2x 2 11x 12, for which a 2, b 11, and c 12. First find ac, the product of the leading coefficient and the constant term. In this case ac Now find two integers with a product of 24 and a sum of 11. The pairs of integers with a product of 24 are 1 and 24, 2 and 12, 3 and 8, and 4 and 6. Only 3 and 8 have a product of 24 and a sum of 11. Now replace 11x by 3x 8x and factor by grouping: 2x 2 11x 12 2x 2 3x 8x 12 (2x 3)x (2x 3)4 (2x 3)(x 4) This strategy for factoring a quadratic trinomial, known as the ac method, is summarized in the following box. The ac method works also when a 1. Strategy for Factoring ax 2 bx c by the ac Method To factor the trinomial ax 2 bx c 1. find two integers that have a product equal to ac and a sum equal to b, 2. replace bx by two terms using the two new integers as coefficients, 3. then factor the resulting four-term polynomial by grouping.

3 5.7 Factoring ax 2 bx c (5-51) 307 E X A M P L E 3 Factoring ax 2 bx c with a 1 Factor each trinomial. a) 2x 2 9x 4 b) 2x 2 5x 12 a) Because 2 4 8, we need two numbers with a product of 8 and a sum of 9. The numbers are 1 and 8. Replace 9x by x 8x and factor by grouping: 2x 2 9x 4 2x 2 x 8x 4 (2x 1)x (2x 1)4 (2x 1)(x 4) Check by FOIL. Note that if you start with 2x 2 8x x 4, and factor by grouping, you get the same result. b) Because 2( 12) 24, we need two numbers with a product of 24 and a sum of 5. The pairs of numbers with a product of 24 are 1 and 24, 2 and 12, 3 and 8, and 4 and 6. To get a product of 24, one of the numbers must be negative and the other positive. To get a sum of positive 5, we need 3 and 8: 2x 2 5x 12 2x 2 3x 8x 12 (2x 3)x (2x 3)4 (2x 3)(x 4) Check by FOIL. helpful hint The ac method has more written work and less guesswork than trial and error. However, many students enjoy the challenge of trying to write only the answer without any other written work. Trial and Error After we have gained some experience at factoring by grouping, we can often find the factors without going through the steps of grouping. Consider the polynomial 2x 2 7x 6. The factors of 2x 2 can only be 2x and x. The factors of 6 could be 2 and 3 or 1 and 6. We can list all of the possibilities that give the correct first and last terms without putting in the signs: (2x 2)(x 3) (2x 6)(x 1) (2x 3)(x 2) (2x 1)(x 6) Before actually trying these out, we make an important observation. If (2x 2) or (2x 6) were one of the factors, then there would be a common factor 2 in the original trinomial, but there is not. If the original trinomial has no common factor, there can be no common factor in either of its linear factors. Since 6 is positive and the middle term is 7x, both of the missing signs must be negative. So the only possibilities are (2x 1)(x 6) and (2x 3)(x 2). The middle term of the first product is 13x, and the middle term of the second product is 7x. So we have found the factors: 2x 2 7x 6 (2x 3)(x 2) Even though there may be many possibilities in some factoring problems, often we find the correct factors without writing down every possibility. We can use a bit of guesswork in factoring trinomials. Try whichever possibility you think might work. Check it by multiplying. If it is not right, then try again. That is why this method is called trial and error.

4 308 (5-52) Chapter 5 Exponents and Polynomials E X A M P L E 4 E X A M P L E 5 Trial and error Factor each quadratic trinomial using trial and error. a) 2x 2 5x 3 b) 3x 2 11x 6 a) Because 2x 2 factors only as 2x x and 3 factors only as 1 3, there are only two possible ways to factor this trinomial to get the correct first and last terms: (2x 1)(x 3) and (2x 3)(x 1) Because the last term of the trinomial is negative, one of the missing signs must be, and the other must be. Now we try the various possibilities until we get the correct middle term: (2x 1)(x 3) 2x 2 5x 3 (2x 3)(x 1) 2x 2 x 3 (2x 1)(x 3) 2x 2 5x 3 Since the last product has the correct middle term, the trinomial is factored as 2x 2 5x 3 (2x 1)(x 3). b) There are four possible ways to factor 3x 2 11x 6: (3x 1)(x 6) (3x 2)(x 3) (3x 6)(x 1) (3x 3)(x 2) Because the last term is positive and the middle term is negative, both signs must be negative. Now try possible factors until we get the correct middle term: (3x 1)(x 6) 3x 2 19x 6 (3x 2)(x 3) 3x 2 11x 6 The trinomial is factored correctly as 3x 2 11x 6 (3x 2)(x 3). Higher Degrees and Variable Exponents It is not necessary always to use substitution to factor polynomials with higher degrees or variable exponents as we did in Section 5.6. In the next example we use trial and error to factor two polynomials of higher degree and one with variable exponents. Remember that if there is a common factor to all terms, factor it out first. Higher-degree and variable exponent trinomials Factor each polynomial completely. Variables used as exponents represent positive integers. a) x 8 2x 4 15 b) 18y 7 21y 4 15y c) 2u 2m 5u m 3 a) To factor by trial and error, notice that x 8 x 4 x 4. Now 15 is 3 5 or Using 1 and 15 will not give the required 2 for the coefficient of the middle term. So choose 3 and 5 to get the 2 in the middle term: x 8 2x 4 15 (x 4 5)(x 4 3) b) 18y 7 21y 4 15y 3y(6y 6 7y 3 5) Factor out the common factor 3y first. 3y(2y 3 1)(3y 3 5) Factor the trinomial by trial and error. c) Notice that 2u 2m 2u m u m and Using trial and error, we get 2u 2m 5u m 3 (2u m 1)(u m 3).

5 5.7 Factoring ax 2 bx c (5-53) 309 WARM-UPS True or false? Answer true if the polynomial is factored correctly and false otherwise. 1. x 2 9x 18 (x 3)(x 6) True 2. y 2 2y 35 (y 5)(y 7) False 3. x 2 4 (x 2)(x 2) False 4. x 2 5x 6 (x 3)(x 2) False 5. x 2 4x 12 (x 6)(x 2) True 6. x 2 15x 36 (x 4)(x 9) False 7. 3x 2 4x 15 (3x 5)(x 3) False 8. 4x 2 4x 3 (4x 1)(x 3) False 9. 4x 2 4x 3 (2x 1)(2x 3) True 10. 4x 2 8x 3 (2x 1)(2x 3) True 5.7 EXERCISES Reading and Writing After reading this section, write out the answers to these questions. Use complete sentences. 1. How do we factor trinomials that have a leading coefficient of 1? To factor x 2 bx c, find two integers whose sum is b and whose product is c. 2. How do we factor trinomials in which the leading coefficient is not 1? To factor ax 2 bx c, find two integers whose product is ac and whose sum is b and then use grouping. 3. What is trial-and-error factoring? Trial and error means simply to write down possible factors and then to use FOIL to check until you get the correct factors. 4. What should you always first look for when factoring a polynomial? When factoring a polynomial, first factor out the greatest common factor. Factor each polynomial. See Examples 1 and x 2 4x 3 6. y 2 5y 6 (x 1)(x 3) (y 2)(y 3) 7. a 2 15a t 2 11t 24 (a 10)(a 5) (t 8)(t 3) 9. y 2 5y x 2 3x 18 (y 7)(y 2) (x 6)(x 3) 11. x 2 6x y 2 13y 30 (x 2)(x 4) (y 10)(y 3) 13. a 2 12a x 2 x 30 (a 9)(a 3) (x 6)(x 5) 15. a 2 7a w 2 29w 30 (a 10)(a 3) (w 30)(w 1) Factor each polynomial using the ac method. See Example w 2 5w x 2 11x 6 (3w 1)(2w 1) (4x 3)(x 2) 19. 2x 2 5x a 2 3a 2 (2x 1)(x 3) (2a 1)(a 2) 21. 4x 2 16x y 2 17y 12 (2x 5)(2x 3) (2y 3)(3y 4) 23. 6x 2 5x m 2 m 12 (2x 1)(3x 1) (3m 4)(2m 3) y 2 y x 2 5x 2 (3y 1)(4y 1) (4x 1)(3x 2) 27. 6a 2 a b 2 b 3 (6a 5)(a 1) (10b 3)(3b 1) Factor each polynomial using trial and error. See Example x 2 15x a 2 20a 12 (2x 1)(x 8) (3a 2)(a 6) 31. 3b 2 16b y 2 17y 21 (3b 5)(b 7) (2y 3)(y 7) 33. 6w 2 35w x 2 x 6 (3w 4)(2w 9) (3x 2)(5x 3) 35. 4x 2 5x x 2 7x 3 (4x 1)(x 1) (4x 3)(x 1) 37. 5m 2 13m t 2 9t 2 (5m 2)(m 3) (5t 1)(t 2) 39. 6y 2 7y u 2 11u 6 (3y 4)(2y 5) (7u 3)(u 2) Factor each polynomial completely. See Example 5. The variables used in exponents represent positive integers. 41. x 6 2x x 4 7x 2 30 (x 3 5)(x 3 7) (x 2 10)(x 2 3) 43. a 20 20a b 16 22b (a 10 10) 2 (b 8 11) 2

6 310 (5-54) Chapter 5 Exponents and Polynomials a 5 10a 3 2a 46. 4b 7 4b 4 3b 2a(3a 2 1)(2a 2 1) b(2b 3 3)(2b 3 1) 47. x 2a 2x a y 2b y b 20 (x a 5)(x a 3) (y b 5)(y b 4) 49. x 2a y 2b 50. w 4m a 2 (x a y b )(x a y b ) (w 2m a)(w 2m a) 51. x 8 x m 10 5m 5 6 (x 4 3)(x 4 2) (m 5 6)(m 5 1) 53. x a 2 x a 54. y 2a 1 y x a (x 1)(x 1) y(y a 1)(y a 1) 55. x 2a 6x a x 2a 2x a y b y 2b (x a 3) 2 (x a y b ) y 3 z 6 5z 3 y 2 6y 58. 2u 6 v 6 5u 4 v 3 12u 2 y(4yz 3 3)(yz 3 2) u 2 (2u 2 v 3 3)(u 2 v 3 4) Factor each polynomial completely x 2 20x a 2 6a 3 2(x 5) 2 3(a 1) a 3 36a 62. x 3 5x 2 6x a(a 6)(a 6) x(x 6)(x 1) 63. 5a 2 25a a 2 2a 84 5(a 6)(a 1) 2(a 7)(a 6) 65. 2x 2 128y a 3 6a 2 9a 2(x 8y)(x 8y) a(a 3) x 2 3x xy 2 3xy 70x 3(x 3)(x 4) x(y 10)(y 7) 69. m 5 20m 4 100m a 2 16a 16 m 3 (m 10) 2 4(a 2) x 2 23x y 2 13y 6 (3x 4)(2x 5) (2y 1)(y 6) 73. y 2 12y m 2 2m 1 (y 6) 2 (m 1) m 2 25n m 2 n 2 2mn 3 n 4 (3m 5n)(3m 5n) n 2 (m n) a 2 20a y 2 9y 30 5(a 6)(a 2) 3(y 5)(y 2) 79. 2w 2 18w x 2 z 2xyz y 2 z 2(w 10)(w 1) z(x y) w 2 x 2 100x x 2 30x 25 x 2 (w 10)(w 10) (3x 5) x w 2 19w 36 (3x 1)(3x 1) (3w 4)(2w 9) 85. 8x 2 2x w 2 12w 9 (4x 5)(2x 3) (2w 3) x 2 20x m (2x 5) 2 (3m 11)(3m 11) 89. 9a 2 60a w 2 20w 80 (3a 10) 2 10(w 4)(w 2) 91. 4a 2 24a x 2 23x 6 4(a 2)(a 4) (5x 2)(4x 3) 93. 3m 4 24m 94. 6w 3 z 6z 3m(m 2)(m 2 2m 4) 6z(w 1)(w 2 w 1) GETTING MORE INVOLVED 95. Discussion. Which of the following is not a perfect square trinomial? Explain. a) 4a 6 6a 3 b 4 9b 8 b) 1000x 2 200ax a 2 c) 900y 4 60y 2 1 d) 36 36z 7 9z 14 a and b 96. Discussion. Which of the following is not a difference of two squares? Explain. a) 16a 8 y 4 25c 12 b) a 9 b 4 c) t 90 1 d) x b 5.8 FACTORING STRATEGY In this section Prime Polynomials Factoring Polynomials Completely Factoring Polynomials with Four Terms Summary In previous sections we established the general idea of factoring and many special cases. In this section we will see that a polynomial can have as many factors as its degree, and we will factor higher-degree polynomials completely. We will also see a general strategy for factoring polynomials. Prime Polynomials A polynomial that cannot be factored is a prime polynomial. Binomials with no common factors, such as 2x 1 and a 3, are prime polynomials. To determine whether a polynomial such as x 2 1 is a prime polynomial, we must try all possibilities for factoring it. If x 2 1 could be factored as a product of two binomials, the only possibilities that would give a first term of x 2 and a last term of 1 are (x 1)(x 1) and (x 1)(x 1). However, (x 1)(x 1) x 2 2x 1 and (x 1)(x 1) x 2 2x 1.

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