# Chapter 9. Systems of Linear Equations

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1 Chapter 9. Systems of Linear Equations 9.1. Solve Systems of Linear Equations by Graphing KYOTE Standards: CR 21; CA 13 In this section we discuss how to solve systems of two linear equations in two variables by graphing. We saw in Section 7.2 that the graph of a linear equation in two variables is a line in the plane consisting of all points that satisfy the linear equation. A solution to a system of two linear equations in two variables is a point that satisfies both linear equations and is therefore a point on both lines. For example, consider the following system of equations. x+4y=5 Equation of line 1 2x y= 8 Equation of line 2 The point ( 3, 2) satisfies the first equation since 3+ 4(2)= 5, and so ( 3, 2) is a point on line 1. The point ( 3, 2) also satisfies the second equation since 2( 3) 2= 8, and so ( 3, 2) is a point on line 2. Therefore ( 3, 2) is a solution to the system of equations because it satisfies both equations and is a point on both lines. The graphical method of solving a system of two equations in two variables involves graphing the line corresponding to each equation and finding a point that is on both these lines. Example 1 illustrates this process. Example 1. Solve the system by graphing. 2x+y= 7 First equation x+2y=2 Second equation Solution. We find the points corresponding to the x- and y-intercepts of both lines, together with an additional point on each line, and put them in the tables below. 2x+y= 7 x+2y=2 x y x y

2 We graph the two lines on the same axes below. y x 2x+y= 7 x+2y=2 We are looking for a pair of numbers (x,y) that satisfy both equations. Graphically, this means that we are looking for a point (x,y) that lies on both lines. There is clearly exactly one such point and it appears from the graph that this point has coordinates x=4 and y= 1. We substitute these values into both equations to verify that x=4 and y= 1 satisfy them both. Therefore x=4 and y= 1 is the unique solution to the system. Graphing is not an effective method for solving systems of linear equations. It is all but impossible, for example, to identify the exact solution of a system if the coordinates of that solution are not integers. However, graphing is an excellent way to help us visualize a solution to a system of equations. For a system of two linear equations in two variables, it enables us to see immediately that there are only three possibilities: 1. The lines defined by the two equations in the system are not parallel and hence must intersect in exactly one point. In this case, the system of equations has a unique (one and only one) solution. 2. The lines defined by the two equations in the system are parallel and distinct and hence cannot intersect. In this case, the system of equations has no solution. 3. The lines defined by the two equations in the system are same line. In this case, the system of equations has infinitely many solutions. (Any pair of numbers that satisfy one of the equations also satisfies the other equation and is therefore a solution to the system of equations.) 189

3 Exercise Set 9.1 Solve the given system of equations by graphing. Sketch the graph of each equation in the system on the same set of axes. Determine whether the system has a unique solution, no solution or infinitely many solutions. If it has a unique solution, estimate that solution from the graph and determine whether your estimate is correct. 1. x y=2 x+y=4 3. 3x+4y=12 3x+4y= x+y=6 x+2y=6 7. x y=3 x+ 3y=7 2. 2x+3y=10 x y=0 4. x+y=1 x+y= 3 6. x 2y=4 2x+4y= 8 8. y=2x+1 y=2x 1 9. y=x+1 y= 2x x+ 2y=6 x y= x+4y=12 9x+6y= x+y= 3 x 2y= 9 190

4 9.2. Solve Systems of Linear Equations Analytically KYOTE Standards: CR 21; CA 13 In this section we discuss how to solve systems of two linear equations in two variables analytically using two different methods: substitution and elimination. Substitution Method Use the following three steps as your guide when solving a system of two linear equations in two variables by substitution. Step 1. Choose one equation and solve for one of its variables in terms of the other variable. Step 2. Substitute the expression you found in Step 1 into the other equation to obtain an equation in one variable. Then solve for that variable. Step 3. Substitute the value of the variable found in Step 2 back into the expression found in Step 2 to solve for the remaining variable. Example 1. Solve the system by substitution. 3x+4y=2 First equation 2x y=5 Second equation Solution. The method of substitution requires that we solve for one of the variables in one of the equations. The best choice is to solve for y in the second equation because this approach is the only one that does not introduce any fractions. We obtain y=2x 5 Step 1 We substitute y=2x 5 into the first equation and solve for x to obtain 3x+4y=2 First equation 3x+4(2x 5)= 2 Substitute y=2x 5 3x+8x 20=2 Expand 11x= 22 Collect like terms x= 2 Divide by 11 Step 2 We substitute x= 2 into the equationy=2x 5 to obtain y=2(2) 5= 1 Step 3 Thus x= 2 and y= 1 is the unique solution to the system. It is a good idea to substitute these numbers in to the original equations to check your answer. 191

5 3(2)+ 4( 1)= 2 First equation 2(2) ( 1)= 5 Second equation Geometrically, this means that the point (2, 1) is on both the lines 3x+4y=2 and 2x y=5, and it is the only point on both these lines. Elimination Method Use the following three steps as your guide when solving a system of two linear equations in two variables by elimination. Step A. Multiply at least one of the equations by a number so that when the two equations are added, one of the variables is eliminated. Step B. Add the two equations to eliminate one variable, then solve for the remaining variable. Step C. Substitute the value of the variable found in Step B back into one of the original equations, and solve for the remaining variable. Example 2. Solve the system in Example 1 by elimination. 3x+4y=2 First equation 2x y=5 Second equation Solution. The method of elimination requires that we eliminate one of the variables by obtaining an equation involving only the other variable. The easiest approach in this case would be to eliminate y by multiplying the second equation by 4 and adding it to the first. We obtain 3x+4y=2 First equation 8x 4y=20 4 Second equation Step A We add these equations to eliminate y and solve for x. 11x= 22 First equation + 4 Second equation x= 2 Solve for x Step B We substitute x= 2 into the first equation and solve for y. We obtain 3(2)+ 4y=2 Substitute x= 2 into 3x+4y=2 4y= 4 Subtract 3(2)= 6 y= 1 Divide by 4 Step C Thus x= 2 and y= 1 is the unique solution to the system, confirming the solution we obtained in Example

6 Example 3. Solve the system. 7x+2y= 8 First equation 3x 5y=21 Second equation Solution. We can choose the method we wish to use in this case. We cannot solve for either variable in either equation without introducing fractions. So we rule out using substitution and choose elimination. If we use elimination and want to avoid fractions, then we need to change both equations by multiplying each one by an appropriate number. We multiply the first equation by 5 and the second equation by 2, and then add the two resulting equations to eliminate y. 35x+10y=40 5 First equation 6x 10y=42 2 Second equation Step A We add these equations to eliminate y and solve for x. 41x= 82 5 First equation+ 2 Second equation x= 2 Divide by 41 Step B We substitute x= 2 into the first equation and solve for y. We obtain 7(2)+ 2y= 8 Substitute x= 2 into 7x+2y= 8 2y= 6 Subtract 7(2)=14 y= 3 Divide by 2 Step C Thus x= 2 and y= 3 is the unique solution to the system. Example 4. Solve the system. 2x 3y=19 First equation y=2x 1 Second equation Solution. The substitution method is the logical choice in this case since the second equation y=2x 1 already has y written in terms of x and hence we can skip Step 1. We substitute y=2x 1 into the first equation and solve for x to obtain 2x 3y=19 First equation 2x 3(2x 1)=19 Substitute y=2x 1 2x 6x+3=19 Expand 4x=16 Collect like terms x= 4 Divide by 4 Step 2 193

7 We substitute x= 4 into the equationy=2x 1 to obtain y=2( 4) 1= 9 Step 3 Thus x= 4 and y= 9 is the unique solution to the system. Example 5. Solve the given system by graphing. Confirm your answer by solving the system analytically using either substitution or elimination. x+y=7 First equation x=2y 2 Second equation Solution. We find the points corresponding to the x- and y-intercepts of both lines, together with an additional point on each line, and put them in the tables below. x+y=7 x=2y 2 x y x y We graph the two lines on the same axes below. y 5 x=2y x+y=7 x It appears from the graph that the two lines intersect at the point (4,3) so that x=4 and y= 3 is the unique solution to the system. We check this result by solving the system analytically. We choose the substitution method because the second equation x=2y 2 has x written in terms of y and so we can skip Step 1. We substitute x=2y 2 into the first equation and solve for y to obtain x+y=7 First equation 2y 2+y= 7 Substitute x=2y 2 3y=9 Collect like terms 194

8 y= 3 Divide by 3 Step 2 We substitute y= 3 into the equationx=2y 2 to obtain x=2(3) 2= 4 Step 3 Thus x=4 and y= 3 is the unique solution to the system and confirms what we obtained from the graph. Example 6. Solve the given system. (a) x 2y= 4 (b) x 2y= 4 First equation 3x+6y=17 3x+6y=12 Second equation Solution. (a) We use the method of elimination to solve this system. We multiply the first equation by 3. 3x 6y= 12 3 First equation 3x+6y=17 Second equation Step A When we add these equations we discover that both x and y variables are eliminated and we obtain 0=5 What does this say about a solution to the original system? It says that if (x,y) is a solution to the system, then 0=5, a statement that is false. We conclude that the system has no solution. This conclusion is confirmed by noticing that the graphs of x 2y= 4 and 3x+6y=17 are distinct parallel lines with slope 1 2 and thus do not intersect. (b) The system in part (b) is nearly the same as the system in part (a), but the solutions are much different. We again use the method of elimination and multiply the first equation by 3. 3x 6y= 12 3 First equation 3x+6y=12 Second equation Step A We add these equations and discover once again that both x and y variables are eliminated and we can write 0=0 195

9 This is a true statement but tells us nothing about the solution of the system. But if we examine the two equations x 2y= 4 and 3x+6y=12, we see that multiplying the first equation by 3 yields the second equation. In other words, these are two different equations for the same line. Thus any pair of numbers (x,y) that satisfies one of these equations satisfies the other and is therefore a solution to the system. Consequently, this system has infinitely many solutions. Solve the given system by substitution. Exercise Set x+2y=5 y=2x x+ 2y=0 x=y 5 3. x= 3y 7 x= y+1 4. y=2x 3 y= 3x x y=3 3x+y=5 7. 2x+y=5 x+ 3y= x+3y=10 2x+y= x+4y= 9 x 3y= 8 6. x+y= 8 3x 2y= x+4y=1 2x y= x+2y=5 x+y= x 4y= 3 6x y=13 Solve the given system by elimination. 13. x+ 2y=11 3x 2y= x y=4 2x+ 3y= x+y= 7 2x y= x 3y=4 5x+7y=

10 17. 2x+3y= 1 4x+ 2y= x 4y=6 9x+5y= x 3y=0 3x+y= x+ 5y=1 x 3y= x 2y=4 5x 3y= 7 4x 3y=5 2x+6y= x+3y=12 7x 5y= x 10y= 1 8x+ 5y= 8 Solve the given system using either substitution or elimination x 3y=5 x= x 2y=15 y= x 3y=27 x 8y= x+ 5y 11= 0 x 3y+6=0 29. x+y 9=0 4x 5y=0 31. x=7y+10 x= 2y y= 3x+12 y=2x x 4y=5 3x+5y= x 8y+ 4=0 6x+4y 7= x=2y 5 5x+6y+1= y= 5x+1 10x 3y= x+y=1 2x y= x 3y=6 4x+6y= x 5y=0 y= 3 5 x x 4y=5 9x+12y= 15 3x+2y=6 40. y= 3 2 x

11 Solve the given system by graphing. Confirm your answer by solving the system analytically using either substitution or elimination. 41. x+y=3 2x y= x 3y=9 x+2y=1 43. y=x+ 3 y=2x x+y= 1 x 2y= 8 198

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