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Math investigation Infinite surds

This investigation is based on what we call infinite surds, and its definition from E-How.com is: A surd is a sum with one or more irrational number expressed with a radical sign as addends. Examples are 1+3, 2+3.Therefore, an infinite surd has an infinite number of such addends. Since the example given by the task sheet is:

Why dont we use the same sequence to find out what is the formula for The sequence will look this way:

in terms of

etc. From the sequences above, it can be observed that every term is consist of the term :

From the two formulas we found: and term equals to the square root of 1 plus the formula for every term:

, we can conclude that every term, and therefore we can obtain the

Before finding the exact value of this infinite surd, lets look at the values of the first ten terms of the sequence (all following values in this investigation are rounded to 9th decimal places):
Term Expression 1.598053183 1.611847754 1.616121206 1.617442798 1.617851290 1.617977531 1.618016542 Value 1.414213562 1.553773974

1.618028597

By using Microsoft Excel, I was able to plot the graph of the values I got for the first 10 terms of the sequence:

Without even calculating, but by just observing the graph we can notice a significant decreasing trend of the differences between the terms and . The difference between the first and second term is several hundred times bigger than the difference between the ninth and tenth term. This suggests that as n gets very large (approaches to infinity ), the difference of will become very small (approach but will never equal to 0):

From this limit we can draw a conclusion that, the difference between the term and term will be so small (0) that can be negligible. Therefore, in order to find the exact value of this infinite surd, we can assume that the two terms mentioned above equal to each other, use x to symbolize them, and substitute the terms and in the formula we found at the beginning of the investigation with them.

Now we can solve this equation by simply using the formula:

Since > 1, we cannot use

because its value will be less than 0

Hence we have found the approximate value of this infinite surd. We cannot find the exact value of the sequence, as this value is an irrational number that has infinite un-repeating decimal.

Now lets repeat this process with a similar sequence, to prove our previous method:

Where the first term is


Term

Value 1.847759065 1.961570561 1.990369453 1.997590912 1.999397637 1.999849404 1.999962351 1.999990588 1.999997647

Expression

1.999999412

The graph based on the second sequence using Microsoft Excel:

Similar to the first graph, we can see the trend of decreasing differences between the terms

and

. This suggests the same limit as the first sequence, that is:

Also we can clearly see this time that the value of this infinite surd is larger than the previous one. Lets repeat the process of use x to symbolize term and term, and substitute the terms and in the formula we found at the beginning of the investigation with them.

Now we can solve this equation by using the formula:

Since

> 1, we cannot use

because its value will be less than 0

This time we have found the exact value of the sequence

Now if we consider the general infinite surd

Where the first term is , what should be the expression for the exact value of this general infinite surd in the terms of k? Although we are lack of values and support of graph this time, but from the knowledge and trend we obtained from the previous two infinite surds, we can draw the conclusion that the limit of this general infinite surd will be:

This suggest that the difference between the term and term must be negligible too, so again we can use x to symbolize term and term, and substitute the terms and in the formula we found at the beginning of the investigation with them.

Now we can solve this equation by using the formula:

Now, if 0 < 4k < 1, or in other words 0 < k < 0.25, both expression will work. If 4k = 1, both expression will reach the same value, which is zero If 4k > 1, then we can use only the first expression, as the value can only be greater or equal to zero.

Now, if we look at the values of the first and the second infinite surds, we can see that the value of an infinite surd will not always be an integer:

Why is this so? Lets look at some other infinite surd values: Infinite surd Value 2.232050808

2.561552813

2.791287847

=3

According to my observations, in order to make the values of the infinite surds integers, then the part of the

formula inside the roots, that is 1+ 4k, must be equal to a square number.

Infinite surd

1+4k 4 9

Value 1.5

16 2.5

25 3

Now we can come to the formula: