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# CHAPTER 3

Exponents
Natural Number Exponents
Natural number exponents are defined by:
x n ! xx " " " x
EXAMPLE 3.1

(n factors of x)

(a) x 5 ! xxxxx; (b) 5x 4yz3 ! 5xxxxyzzz; (c) 5a3b # 3(2ab)3 ! 5aaab # 3(2ab)(2ab)(2ab)

Zero as an Exponent
x0 ! 1 for x any nonzero real number. 00 is not defined.

## Negative Integer Exponents

Negative integer exponents are defined by:
1
x \$n ! x n for x any nonzero real number.
0\$n is not defined for n any positive integer.
1
1
4
1
1
1
1
; (b) 4y\$3 ! 4 # 3 ! 3 ; (c) 5\$3 ! 3 !
; (d) \$4\$2 ! \$ 2 5 \$ ;
125
16
x5
y
y
5
4
3y4
2z2
(e) 3x\$2y4 # 2s3xd\$4y\$5z2 ! 3 # 12 y4 # 2 # 1 4 # 15 z2 ! 2 #
x
x
s3xd y
s3xd4y5
EXAMPLE 3.2

(a) x\$5 !

## Rational Number Exponents

x1/n, the principal nth root of x, is defined, for n an integer greater than 1, by:
If n is odd, x1/n is the unique real number y which, when raised to the nth power, gives x. If n is even,
then,
if x % 0, x1/n is the positive real number y which, when raised to the nth power, gives x.
if x ! 0, x1/n ! 0.
if x & 0, x1/n is not a real number.
Note: The principal nth root of a positive number is positive.
EXAMPLE 3.3 (a) 81/3 ! 2; (b) (\$8)1/3 ! \$2; (c) \$81/3 ! \$2; (d) 161/4 ! 2;
(e) (\$16)1/4 is not a real number; (f) \$161/4 ! \$2

x\$m/n !

1
xm/n

EXAMPLE 3.4

1
1
1
1
! 1/3 4 ! 4 ! ;
16
84/3
(8 )
2

## (c) (\$64)5/6 is not a real number.

15

16

CHAPTER 3 Exponents

Laws of Exponents
For a and b rational numbers and x and y real numbers (avoiding even roots of negative numbers and division by 0):
x ax b ! x a"b

(xy)a ! x ay a

(x a)b ! x ab

xa
! x a\$b
xb

xa
1
! b\$a
xb
x

x a
xa
Q y R ! ya

ym
x\$n
!
\$m
y
xn

y m
x \$m
QyR ! QxR

## In general, x m/n ! (x1/n)m ! (x m)1/n, provided x1/n is real.

Unless otherwise specified, it is generally assumed that variable bases represent positive numbers. With
this assumption, then, write (x n)1/n ! x. However, if this assumption does not hold, then:
(x n)1/n ! x
(x n)1/n ! |x|

## if n is odd, or if n is even and x is nonnegative

if n is even and x is negative

EXAMPLE 3.5

If x is known positive: (a) (x2)1/2 ! x; (b) (x3)1/3 ! x; (c) (x4)1/2 ! x2; (d) (x6)1/2 ! x3

EXAMPLE 3.6

For general x: (a) (x2)1/2 ! |x|; (b) (x3)1/3 ! x; (c) (x4)1/2 ! |x2| ! x2; (d) (x6)1/2 ! |x3|

Scientific Notation
In dealing with very large or very small numbers, scientific notation is often used. A number is written in scientific notation when it is expressed as a number between 1 and 10 multiplied by a power of 10.
EXAMPLE 3.7

(c)

(a) 51, 000, 000 ! 5.1 # 107; (b) 0.000 000 000 035 2 ! 3.52 # 10\$11;

## (50, 000, 000)(0.000 000 000 6)

(5 # 107)(6 # 10\$10)
30 # 10\$3
!
!
! 3.75 # 10\$15
3
(20, 000)
(2 # 104)3
8 # 1012

SOLVED PROBLEMS
In the following, bases are assumed to be positive unless otherwise specified:
3.1. Simplify (a) 2(3x2y)3 (x4y3)2; (b)

(4x5y3)2
2(xy4)3

## 3.2. Simplify and write with positive exponents: (a)

(d) (3x\$5)\$2(5y\$4)3; (e) (x\$2 " y\$2)2; (f) Q
(a)

(4x5y3)2
16x10y6
8x7
!
! 6
4
3
3
12
2(xy )
2x y
y

(x2y\$3)\$2
x2y\$3
; (b)
; (c) (x2 " y2)\$2;
3
3
xy
(x3y4)\$4

t3u4 \$3
R
4t5u3

(x2y\$3)\$2
x2y\$3
x\$4y6
1
! x2 \$ 3y\$3 \$ 3 ! x\$1y\$6 ! 6 ; (b)
! \$12 \$16 ! x\$4\$(\$12)y6\$(\$16) ! x8y22;
3
3
3
4
\$4
xy
xy
(x y )
x y

## (c) (x2 " y2)\$2 !

(x2

1
1
125x10
! 4
; (d) (3x\$5)\$2(5y\$4)3 ! 3\$2x1053y\$12 !
;
2
2
2
2
4
"y)
x " 2x y " y
9y12

## (e) (x\$2 " y\$2)2 ! x\$4 " 2x\$2y\$2 " y\$4 !

1
2
1
4t5u3 3
4t2 3
64t6
t3u4 \$3
" 2 2 " 4 ; (f) Q 5 3 R ! Q 3 4 R ! Q u R ! 3
x4
xy
y
4t u
tu
u

17

CHAPTER 3 Exponents
3.3. Simplify: (a) x1/2x1/3; (b) x2/3/x5/8; (c) (x4y4)!1/2; (d) (x4 " y4)!1/2
1
(a) x1/2x1/3 # x1/2 " 1/3 # x5/6; (b) x2/3/x5/8 # x2/3 ! 5/8 # x1/24; (c) (x4y4)!1>2 # x!2y!2 # 2 2 ;
xy
1
(d) (x4 " y4)!1/2 # 4
(x " y4)1/2
3.4. Simplify: (a) 3x2/3y3/4(2x5/3y1/2)3; (b)

(8x2y2/3)2/3
2(x3/4y)3

## (a) 3x2/3y3/4(2x5/3y1/2)3 # 3x2/3y3/4 \$ 8x5y3/2 # 24x17/3y9/4;

(b)

(8x2y2/3)2/3
82/3x4/3y4/9
4x4/3y4/9
2
2
#
#
# 9/4!4/3 3!4/9 # 11/12 23/9
3/4
3
9/4
3
2(x y)
2x y
2x9/4y3
x
y
x y

3.5. Simplify: (a) x2/3(x2 " x " 3); (b) (x1/2 " y1/2)2; (c) (x1/3 ! y1/3)2; (d) (x2 " y2)1/2
(a) x2/3(x2 " x " 3) # x2/3x2 " x2/3x " 3x2/3 # x8/3 " x5/3 " 3x2/3
(b) (x1/2 " y1/2)2 # (x1/2)2 " 2x1/2y1/2 " (y1/2)2 # x " 2x1/2y1/2 " y
(c) (x1/3 ! y1/3)2 # (x1/3)2 ! 2x1/3y1/3 " (y1/3)2 # x2/3 ! 2x1/3y1/3 " y2/3
(d) This expression cannot be simplified.
3.6. Factor: (a) x!4 " 3x!2 " 2; (b) x2/3 " x1/3 ! 6; (c) x11/3 " 7x8/3 " 12x5/3
(a) x!4 " 3x!2 " 2 # (x!2 " 1)(x!2 " 2) using reverse FOIL factoring.
(b) x2/3 " x1/3 ! 6 # (x1/3 " 3)(x1/3 ! 2) using reverse FOIL factoring.
(c) x11/3 " 7x8/3 " 12x5/3 # x5/3(x2 " 7x " 12) # x5/3(x " 3)(x " 4) removing the monomial common factor,
then using reverse FOIL factoring.
3.7. Remove common factors: (a) (x " 2)!2 " (x " 2)!3; (b) 6x5y!3 ! 3y!4x6;
(c) 4(3x " 2)33(x " 5)!3 ! 3(x " 5)!4(3x " 2)4; (d) 5x3(3x " 1)2/3 " 3x2(3x " 1)5/3
The common factor in such problems, just as in the analogous polynomial problems, consists of each base
raised to the smallest exponent present in each term.
(a) (x " 2)!2 " (x " 2)!3 # (x " 2)!3[(x " 2)!2 ! (!3) " 1] # (x " 2)!3(x " 2 " 1) # (x " 2)!3(x " 3)
(b) 6x5y!3 ! 3y!4x6 # 3x5y!4(2y!3 ! (!4) ! x6 ! 5) # 3x5y!4(2y ! x)
(c) 4(3x " 2)33(x " 5)!3 ! 3(x " 5)!4(3x " 2)4 # 3(3x " 2)3(x " 5)!4[4(x " 5) ! (3x " 2)]
# 3(3x " 2)3(x " 5)!4(x " 18)
(d) 5x3(3x " 1)2/3 " 3x2(3x " 1)5/3 # x2(3x " 1)2/3[5x " 3(3x " 1)5/3 ! 2/3]
# x2(3x " 1)2/3[5x " 3(3x " 1)]
# x2(3x " 1)2/3(14x " 3)

## 3.8. Simplify: (a)

(a)

x p"q
x mn 1/n
; (b) (x p " 1)2(x p ! 1)2; (c) Q n2 R
x p!q
x

xp " q
# x(p " q) ! (p ! q) # x p " q ! p " q # x2q
xp!q

(b) (x p " 1)2(x p ! 1)2 # x2(p " 1)x2(p ! 1) # x(2p " 2) " (2p ! 2) # x4p
(c) a

x mn 1/n
mn(1/n)
xm
b #x
2
# n # x m!n
2
xn
x
x n (1/n)

18

CHAPTER 3 Exponents

## 3.9. Simplify, without assuming that variable bases are positive:

(a) (x4)1/4; (b) (x2y4z6)1/2; (c) (x3y6z9)1/3; (d) [x(x ! h)2]1/2
(a) (x4)1/4 " |x|; (b) (x2y4z6)1/2 " (x2)1/2(y4)1/2(z6)1/2 " |x| |y2| |z3| " |x|y2|z3|; (c) (x3y6z9)1/3 " (x3)1/3(y6)1/3(z9)1/3 " xy2z3;
(d) [x(x ! h)2]1/2 " x1/2[(x ! h)2]1/2 " x1/2|x ! h|
3.10. (a) Write in scientific notation: The velocity of light is 186,000 mi/sec. (b) Find the number of seconds in a
year and write the answer in scientific notation. (c) Express the distance light travels in 1 year in scientific
notation.
(a) Moving the decimal point to the right of the first nonzero digit is a shift of 5 places: thus,
186,000 miles/sec " 1.86 # 105 mi/sec.
(b) 1 year " 365 days # 24 hours/day # 60 minutes/hour # 60 seconds/minute
" 31,536,000 seconds " 3.15 # 107 seconds.
(c) Since distance " velocity # time, the distance light travels in 1 year
" (1.86 # 105 mi/sec) # (3.15 # 107 sec) " 5.87 # 1012 mi.

SUPPLEMENTARY PROBLEMS
3.11. Simplify:(a) (xy3)4(3x2y)3; (b)
Ans. (a) 27x10y15; (b)

(x2y3)3
(2x3y4)2

y
4

## 3.12. Simplify: (a) 2(xy\$3)\$2(4x\$3y2)\$1; (b) a

Ans. (a)

xy4
4
; (b) 4 6
2
9x y

3x3y\$2 \$2
b
2xy\$5

3.13. Simplify, assuming all variable bases are positive: (a) (8y3z4)2/3; (b) (100x8y3)\$1/2; (c) a
Ans. (a) 4y2z8/3; (b)

9y4
1
125x9
; (c) 8/3 ; (d) 3/2
4
3/2
10x y
4x
z

a0z \$3/2
8x4 \$2/3
b ; (d) a
b
6
27y
25x6

## 3.14. Simplify, assuming all variable bases are positive:

(a) (x 4y 3)1/2(8 x 6y)2/3; (b) (9x 8y)\$1/2 (16x\$4y 3)3/2
Ans. (a) 4 x 6y 13/6; (b)

64 y 4
3x 10

3.15. Calculate: (a) 25\$1/2 \$ 16\$1/2; (b) (25 \$ 16)\$1/2; (c) 163/4 ! 16\$3/4
Ans.

(a) \$

65
1
1
; (b) ; (c)
20
3
8

Ans.

(a) 3; (b)

## 3.17. Derive the laws

operations.

8x0y5 \$2
32x2y\$4 3/5
px p \$ 1
b ; (c) a 7 6 b ; (d)
5
\$3
3x y
xy
q(x p/q)q \$ 1

px p/q \$ 1
9x10
8
;
(c)
;
(d)
q
64y16
x3y6

yn
y m
x\$m
x \$m
" m and Q y R " Q x R from the definition of negative exponents and standard fraction
\$n
y
x

19

CHAPTER 3 Exponents
3.18. Perform indicated operations: (a) (x1/2 ! y1/2)(x1/2 " y1/2); (b) (x1/3 ! y1/3)(x1/3 " y1/3);
(c) (x1/3 ! y1/3)(x2/3 " x1/3y1/3 ! y2/3); (d) (x1/3 ! y1/3)(x2/3 ! x1/3y1/3 ! y2/3); (e) (x2/3 " y2/3)3
Ans.

(a) x " y; (b) x2/3 " y2/3; (c) x ! y; (d) x ! 2x2/3y1/3 ! 2x1/3y2/3 ! y; (e) x2 " 3x4/3y2/3 ! 3x2/3y4/3 " y2

3.19. Remove common factors: (a) x"8y"7 ! x"7y"8; (b) x"5/3y3 " x"2/3y2; (c) x p ! q ! x p;
(d) 4(x2 ! 4)3/2(3x ! 5)1/3 ! (3x ! 5)4/3(x2 ! 4)1/23x
Ans.

(a) x"8y"8(y ! x); (b) x"5/3y2(y " x); (c) x p(x q ! 1); (d) (3x ! 5)1/3(x2 ! 4)1/2(13x2 ! 15x ! 16)

3.20. Remove common factors: (a) x"5 ! 2x"4 ! 2x"3; (b) 6x2(x2 " 1)3/2 ! x3(x2 " 1)1/2(6x);
(c) "4x"5(1 " x2)3 ! x"4(6x)(1 " x2)2; (d) x"4(1 " 2x)"3/2 " 4x"5(1 " 2x)"1/2
Ans. (a) x"5(1 ! 2x ! 2x2); (b) 6x2(x2 " 1)1/2(2x2 " 1); (c) 2x"5(1 " x2)2(5x2 " 2); (d) x"5(1 " 2x)"3/2(9x " 4)
3.21. Remove common factors:
(a) "(x " 2)"2(3x " 7)"3 " 3(x " 2)"1(3x " 7)"4(3);
(b) "4(x2 " 4)"5(2x)(x2 ! 4)3 ! 3(x2 " 4)"4(x2 ! 4)2(2x)
Ans. (a) "(x " 2)"2(3x " 7)"4(12x " 25); (b) (x2 " 4)"5(x2 ! 4)2(2x)("x2 " 28)
3.22. Remove common factors:
1
(a) 3(x ! 3)2(3x " 1)1/2 ! (x ! 3)3 Q R(3x " 1)"1/2(3);
2
(b)

3
4
(2x ! 3)1/2(3x ! 4)4/3(2) ! (2x ! 3)3/2 Q R(3x ! 4)1/3(3);
2
3

3
2
(c) " (4x2 " 1)"5/2(8x)(1 ! x2)2/3 ! (4x2 " 1)"3/2 Q R(1 ! x2)"1/3(2x)
2
3

3
(x ! 3)2(3x " 1)"1/2(7x ! 1); (b) (2x ! 3)1/2(3x ! 4)1/3(17x ! 24);
2
4
(c) x(4x2 " 1)"5/2(1 ! x2)"1/3("5x2 " 10)
3

Ans. (a)

3.23. Simplify and write in scientific notation: (a) (7.2 # 10"3)(5 # 1012);
(b) (7.2 # 10"3) \$ (5 # 1012); (c)
Ans.

(3 # 10"5)(6 # 10"3)3
(9 # 10"12)2

## (a) 3.6 # 1010; (b) 1.44 # 10"15; (c) 8 # 1010

3.24. There are approximately 6.01 # 1023 atoms of hydrogen in one gram. Calculate the approximate mass in grams
of one hydrogen atom.
Ans.

## 1.67 # 10"24 grams

3.25. According to the United States Department of Commerce, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2006
was \$13,509,000,000,000. According to the United States Bureau of the Census, the U.S. population was
300,000,000 (October 2006). Write these figures in scientific notation and use the result to estimate the GDP
per person as of 2006.
Ans.

## 1.3509 # 1013, 3 # 108, 4.503 # 104 or \$45,030

3.26. In 2007, the federal debt limit was raised to \$8,965,000,000,000. Meanwhile, the U.S. population had increased
to 301,000,000. Write these figures in scientific notation and use the result to estimate each U.S. inhabitants
share of the debt.
Ans.