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TOPIC 1.

5 : BINOMIAL EXPANSION OF (a + b)n, where n < 0 or n = fractions

Formula for binomial series:

n  n  n
(a  b) n  a n   a n1b   a n 2b 2  ...   a n r b r  ...  b n ,
1  2 r

n n!
where n is a positive integer and    n Cr =
r r !(n  r )!

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Example 1: Expand (a) (1  x) 6 (b) 1  2 x (c) in ascending power of x as far as
(1  2 x) 3
the term in x3.

1.5.1 Binomial expansion for power n is negative integer or fraction

If n is a fraction or negative integer, then

n b 
n
b n   bx  n(n  1)  bx 
2

(a + bx) = a (1  x) = a (1  x) = a 1  n  
n n
   ...
 a  a   a 2!  a  
, provided |bx| < |a|.

n(n  1) 2 n(n  1)(n  2) 3 n(n  1)(n  2)...( n  r ) r


(1 + x)n = 1 + nx + x  x  ... + x +…
2! 3! r!
,where n is a real number, and |x| < 1.

Example 2: Find the binomial expansion of 4  3 x 2  1


up to and including the term in x4.

1.5.2 Approximations
We can use binomial expansion to find numerical approximations to square roots and other
calculations, provided x is much smaller than 1.

Example 3:
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Expand (8  3 x) 3 in ascending power of x as far as the term in x3, stating the values of x for
3
which the expansion is valid. Hence obtain an approximate value for 8.72 .

1.5.3 Further binomial expansions

Example 4
Assuming that x is so small that terms in x3 and higher may be neglected, find a quadratic approximation to
1  x ,stating the values of x for which your answer is valid.
1  2x

Example 5
Given the function f(x), 4 x  3 x  2 .
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( x  1)( x 2  2)
(i) Express f(x) in partial functions.
(ii) Hence show that when x is sufficiently small that terms in x4 and higher powers of x to be neglected,
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f ( x )  1  x  x 2  x 3 .
2 4
Ex 5: Binomial Expansions

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1. Expand (1  2 x) in ascending powers of x as far as the term in x3, stating the values of x for
4

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which the expansion is valid. Hence obtain approximate value for: (a) 4 1.4 , (b) 1.08 4 .

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2. Expand 1  3 x  2 in ascending powers of x, up to and including the term in x3, simplifying

the coefficients. [Nov 2004 – 4 marks]

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3. Expand in ascending powers of x, up to and including the term in x2, simplifying
2  x  3

the coefficients. [June 2002 – 4 marks]

4. Expand the given function in ascending powers of x up to the term in x3.


(a) 1  2 x (b) 1  x (c) 1  2 x (d) 1 (e) 1
1  2x 2  x  2
1  4x 1 x  x 2
1 x  x2

5. Assuming that x is so small that terms in x3 and higher may be neglected, find a quadratic approximation to
the given function, stating the values of x for which your answer is valid.
(a) 1  x (b) 3 8  x (c) 1
1 x 1  3x (1  x)(3  x)

6. Given the function f(x),


6  7x .
(2  x)(1  x 2 )
(i) Express f(x) in partial functions.
(ii) Hence show that when x is sufficiently small for x4 and higher powers of x to be neglected, f(x) ≈
1 15
3  5x  x 2  x 3 . (Nov 2002 P3)
2 4

7.

(Nov 2005 P3)

8.

(Jun 2006 P3)

9.

(Jun 2004 P3)


10.