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Roots and Radicals

Solve Radical Equations

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

Before you get started, take this readiness quiz.

In this section we will solve equations that have a variable in the radicand of a radical expression. An equation of this type is called a radical equation .

An equation in which a variable is in the radicand of a radical expression is called a radical equation .

As usual, when solving these equations, what we do to one side of an equation we must do to the other side as well. Once we isolate the radical, our strategy will be to raise both sides of the equation to the power of the index. This will eliminate the radical.

Solving radical equations containing an even index by raising both sides to the power of the index may introduce an algebraic solution that would not be a solution to the original radical equation. Again, we call this an extraneous solution as we did when we solved rational equations.

In the next example, we will see how to solve a radical equation. Our strategy is based on raising a radical with index n to the n th power. This will eliminate the radical.

When we use a radical sign, it indicates the principal or positive root. If an equation has a radical with an even index equal to a negative number, that equation will have no solution.

Because the square root is equal to a negative number, the equation has no solution.

If one side of an equation with a square root is a binomial, we use the Product of Binomial Squares Pattern when we square it.

Don’t forget the middle term!

When the index of the radical is 3, we cube both sides to remove the radical.

Sometimes the solution of a radical equation results in two algebraic solutions, but one of them may be an extraneous solution !

When there is a coefficient in front of the radical, we must raise it to the power of the index, too.

Solve Radical Equations with Two Radicals

If the radical equation has two radicals, we start out by isolating one of them. It often works out easiest to isolate the more complicated radical first.

In the next example, when one radical is isolated, the second radical is also isolated.

Sometimes after raising both sides of an equation to a power, we still have a variable inside a radical. When that happens, we repeat Step 1 and Step 2 of our procedure. We isolate the radical and raise both sides of the equation to the power of the index again.

We summarize the steps here. We have adjusted our previous steps to include more than one radical in the equation This procedure will now work for any radical equations.

If yes, repeat Step 1 and Step 2 again.

Use Radicals in Applications

As you progress through your college courses, you’ll encounter formulas that include radicals in many disciplines. We will modify our Problem Solving Strategy for Geometry Applications slightly to give us a plan for solving applications with formulas from any discipline.

One application of radicals has to do with the effect of gravity on falling objects. The formula allows us to determine how long it will take a fallen object to hit the gound.

On Earth, if an object is dropped from a height of h feet, the time in seconds it will take to reach the ground is found by using the formula

It would take 2 seconds for an object dropped from a height of 64 feet to reach the ground.

Police officers investigating car accidents measure the length of the skid marks on the pavement. Then they use square roots to determine the speed , in miles per hour, a car was going before applying the brakes.

If the length of the skid marks is d feet, then the speed, s , of the car before the brakes were applied can be found by using the formula

Access these online resources for additional instruction and practice with solving radical equations.

In the following exercises, solve.

no solution

In the following exercises, solve. Round approximations to one decimal place.

Answers will vary.

ⓐ After completing the exercises, use this checklist to evaluate your mastery of the objectives of this section.

ⓑ After reviewing this checklist, what will you do to become confident for all objectives?

Intermediate Algebra by OSCRiceUniversity is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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03 11 Word problem involving radical equations: Basic. 5.2K views 8 years ago Module 3 · Math by Caroline. Math by Caroline. 247 subscribers.

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