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# The Binomial Expansion

## The Binomial Expansion

Powers of a + b
In this presentation we will develop a formula to
enable us to find the terms of the expansion of
n
b a ) ( +
where n is any positive integer.
We call the expansion binomial as the original
expression has 2 parts.
The Binomial Expansion
Powers of a + b
2 2
2 b ab a + + =
= +
2
) ( b a ) )( ( b a b a + +
We know that
so the coefficients of the terms are 1, 2 and 1
We can write this as
2 2
b ab a + + =
1 2 1
The Binomial Expansion
2
ab +
1
b a
2
+
2
) 2 )( (
2 2
b ab a b a + + + =
Powers of a + b
= +
3
) ( b a
2
) )( ( b a b a + +
3
a =
1
The Binomial Expansion
2
ab +
2
3
b +
1
2 2 3
ab b a a + + =
1 2 1
) 2 )( (
2 2
b ab a b a + + + =
Powers of a + b
= +
3
) ( b a
2
) )( ( b a b a + +
b a
2
1 +
The Binomial Expansion
2 2 3
ab b a a + + =
1 2 1
) 2 )( (
2 2
b ab a b a + + + =
Powers of a + b
= +
3
) ( b a
2
) )( ( b a b a + +
3 2 2
b ab b a + + +
1 2 1
3 2 2 3
b ab b a a + + + 3 3
1 1
The Binomial Expansion
2 2 3
ab b a a + + =
Powers of a + b
= +
3
) ( b a
2
) )( ( b a b a + +
) 2 )( (
2 2
b ab a b a + + + =
3 2 2
b ab b a + + +
3 2 2 3
b ab b a a + + +
so the coefficients of the expansion of
are 1, 3, 3 and 1
3
) ( b a+
1 2 1
1 2 1
3 3
1 1
The Binomial Expansion
Powers of a + b
= +
4
) ( b a
3
) )( ( b a b a + +
) 3 3 )( (
3 2 2 3
b ab b a a b a + + + + =
3 2 2 3 4
ab b a b a a + + + =
1 3 3 1
4 3 2 2 3
b ab b a b a + + + +
1 3 3 1
4 3 2 2 3 4
b ab b a b a a + + + + 6 4
1 4 1
The Binomial Expansion
3 2 2 3 4
ab b a b a a + + + =
Powers of a + b
= +
4
) ( b a
3
) )( ( b a b a + +
) 3 3 )( (
3 2 2 3
b ab b a a b a + + + + =
4 3 2 2 3
b ab b a b a + + + +
4 3 2 2 3 4
b ab b a b a a + + + +
1 3 3
1 3 3
6 4
1 4
1
1
1
This coefficient . . .
. . . is found by adding 3 and 1; the
coefficients that are in
3
) ( b a+
The Binomial Expansion
3
1
4
3 2 2 3 4
ab b a b a a + + + =
Powers of a + b
= +
4
) ( b a
3
) )( ( b a b a + +
) 3 3 )( (
3 2 2 3
b ab b a a b a + + + + =
4 3 2 2 3
b ab b a b a + + + +
4 3 2 2 3 4
b ab b a b a a + + + +
1 3
3 3
6
1 4
1
1
1
This coefficient . . .
. . . is found by adding 3 and 1; the
coefficients that are in
3
) ( b a+
The Binomial Expansion
Powers of a + b
So, we now have
3
) ( b a+
2
) ( b a+
Coefficients Expression
1 2 1
1 3 3 1
4
) ( b a+ 1 4 6 4 1
The Binomial Expansion
So, we now have
3
) ( b a+
2
) ( b a+
Coefficients Expression
1 2 1
1 3 3 1
4
) ( b a+
1 4 6 4 1
Each number in a row can be found by adding the 2
coefficients above it.
Powers of a + b
The Binomial Expansion
Powers of a + b
So, we now have
3
) ( b a+
2
) ( b a+
Coefficients Expression
1 2 1
1 3 3 1
4
) ( b a+ 1 4 6 4 1
The 1
st
and last numbers are always 1.
Each number in a row can be found by adding the 2
coefficients above it.
The Binomial Expansion
Powers of a + b
So, we now have
3
) ( b a+
2
) ( b a+
Coefficients Expression
1 2 1
1 3 3 1
1
) ( b a+ 1 1
0
) ( b a+
4
) ( b a+ 1 4 6 4 1
To make a triangle of coefficients, we can fill in
the obvious ones at the top.
1
The Binomial Expansion
Powers of a + b
The triangle of binomial coefficients is called
Pascals triangle, after the French mathematician.
. . . but its easy to know which row we want as,
for example,
3
) ( b a+
starts with 1 3 . . .
10
) ( b a+ will start 1 10 . . .
Notice that the 4
th
row gives the coefficients of
) ( b a+
3
The Binomial Expansion
Exercise
Find the coefficients in the expansion of
6
) ( b a+
Solution: We need 7 rows
1 2 1
1 3 3 1
1 1
1
1 4 6 4 1
1
5
10 1 10 5
1
6
15
1
20 15 6 Coefficients
The Binomial Expansion
We usually want to know the complete expansion not
just the coefficients.
Powers of a + b
5
) ( b a+
e.g. Find the expansion of
Pascals triangle gives the coefficients Solution:
1
5
10 1 10 5
The full expansion is
Tip: The powers in each term sum to 5
5 4 3 2 2 3 4 5
b ab b a b a b a a + + + + +
1 5 10
10
5 1
1
The Binomial Expansion
e.g. 2 Write out the expansion of in
ascending powers of x.
4
) 1 ( x
Powers of a + b
Solution: The coefficients are
a
4 3 2 2 3 4 4
4 6 4 ) ( + + + + = +
a a a a b b b b b
To get we need to replace a by 1

4
) 1 ( x
( Ascending powers just means that the 1
st
term
must have the lowest power of x and then the
powers must increase. )
1 4 6 1 4
We know that
The Binomial Expansion
1
4 3 2 2 3 4 4
4 6 4 ) ( + + + + = +
1 (1) (1) (1) b b b b b
e.g. 2 Write out the expansion of in
ascending powers of x.
1 4 6 1 4
We know that
Powers of a + b
Solution: The coefficients are
To get we need to replace a by 1

4
) 1 ( x
4
) 1 ( x
The Binomial Expansion
4 3 2 2 3 4 4
4 6 4 ) ( + + + + = +
Be careful! The minus sign . . . is squared as well as the x.
The brackets are vital, otherwise the signs will be wrong!
e.g. 2 Write out the expansion of in
ascending powers of x.
1 4 6 1 4
We know that
Powers of a + b
Solution: The coefficients are
To get we need to replace a by 1 and
b by (- x)
4
) 1 ( x
1 (1)
1 (1) (1)
(-x) (-x) (-x) (-x) (-x)
Simplifying gives
=
4
) 1 ( x 1 x 4
2
6x +
3
4x
4
x +
4
) 1 ( x
The Binomial Expansion
4
) 1 ( x
To get we need to replace a by 1 and
b by (- x)
Since we know that any power of 1 equals 1, we
could have written 1 here . . .
e.g. 2 Write out the expansion of in
ascending powers of x.
1 4 6 1 4
We know that
Powers of a + b
Solution: The coefficients are
4 3 2 2 3 4 4
4 6 4 ) ( + + + + = + 1
1 (1) (1) (1) (-x) (-x) (-x) (-x) (-x)
Simplifying gives
=
4
) 1 ( x 1 x 4
2
6x +
3
4x
4
x +
4
) 1 ( x
The Binomial Expansion
4
) 1 ( x
To get we need to replace a by 1 and
b by (- x)
e.g. 2 Write out the expansion of in
ascending powers of x.
1 4 6 1 4
We know that
Powers of a + b
Solution: The coefficients are
4 3 2 2 3 4
4 6 4 ) ( + + + + = + 1
1 (1) (1) (1) (-x) (-x) (-x) (-x) (-x)
Simplifying gives
=
4
) 1 ( x 1 x 4
2
6x +
3
4x
4
x +
Since we know that any power of 1 equals 1, we
could have written 1 here . . .
4
) 1 ( x
The Binomial Expansion
4
) 1 ( x
To get we need to replace a by 1 and
b by (- x)
e.g. 2 Write out the expansion of in
ascending powers of x.
1 4 6 1 4
We know that
Powers of a + b
Solution: The coefficients are
4 3 2 2 3 4
4 6 4 ) ( + + + + = + 1
1 (1) (1) (1) (-x) (-x) (-x) (-x) (-x)
Simplifying gives
=
4
) 1 ( x 1 x 4
2
6x +
3
4x
4
x +
. . . and missed these 1s out.
4
) 1 ( x
The Binomial Expansion
e.g. 2 Write out the expansion of in
ascending powers of x.
1 4 6 1 4
We could go straight to
Powers of a + b
Solution: The coefficients are
4 3 2 4
4 6 4 ) ( + + + + = + 1
1 (-x)
(-x) (-x) (-x) (-x)
Simplifying gives
=
4
) 1 ( x 1 x 4
2
6x +
3
4x
4
x +
4
) 1 ( x
The Binomial Expansion
Exercise
1. Find the expansion of in ascending
powers of x.
5
) 2 1 ( x +
Solution:
The coefficients are
1 5 10 1 10 5
5 4 3 2
) 2 ( ) 2 ( 5 ) 2 ( 10 ) 2 ( 10 ) 2 ( 5 1 x x x x x + + + + +
5 4 3 2
32 80 80 40 10 1 x x x x x + + + + + =
So,
= +
5
) 2 1 ( x
The Binomial Expansion
Powers of a + b
20
) ( b a+
If we want the first few terms of the expansion
of, for example, , Pascals triangle is not
We will now develop a method of getting the
coefficients without needing the triangle.
The Binomial Expansion
Each coefficient can be found by multiplying the
previous one by a fraction. The fractions form an
easy sequence to spot.
Powers of a + b
6
) ( b a+
Lets consider
We know from Pascals triangle that the coefficients
are
1 6 15 1 15 6 20
1
6

2
5

3
4

4
3

5
2

6
1

## There is a pattern here:

So if we want the 4
th
coefficient without finding
the others, we would need
3
4
2
5
1
6

( 3 fractions )
The Binomial Expansion
Powers of a + b
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

The 9
th
coefficient of is
20
) ( b a+
For we get
20
) ( b a+
1 20 190
1140
2
19

3
18

etc.
Even using a calculator, this is tedious to simplify.
However, there is a shorthand notation that is
available as a function on the calculator.
1
20

## The Binomial Expansion

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
13 14 . . . 18 19 20

=
1 2 3 . . . 12
1 2 3 . . . 12

Powers of a + b
1 2 3 . . . 18 19 20
We write 20 !
is called 20 factorial.
( 20 followed by an exclamation mark )
We can write
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

! !
!
12 8
20
=
The 9
th
term of is
20
) ( b a+
8 12
12 8
20
b a
! !
!
The Binomial Expansion
Powers of a + b
! !
!
12 8
20
can also be written as
8
20
C
or
|
|
.
|

\
|
8
20
This notation. . .
. . . gives the number of ways that 8 items can
be chosen from 20.

is read as 20 C 8 or 20 choose 8 and
can be evaluated on our calculators.
8
20
C
The 9
th
term of is then
20
) ( b a+
8 12
8
20
b a C
In the expansion, we are choosing the letter b 8
times from the 20 sets of brackets that make up
. ( a is chosen 12 times ).
20
) ( b a+
The Binomial Expansion
Powers of a + b
The binomial expansion of is
20
) ( b a+
+ = +
20 20
) ( a b a +
2 18
2
20
b a C
20 3 17
3
20
. . . b b a C + + +
We know from Pascals triangle that the 1
st
two
coefficients are 1 and 20, but, to complete the
pattern, we can write these using the C notation:
0
20
1 C =
and
1
20
20 C =
+ b a
19
20
Since we must define 0! as
equal to 1.
1
! 20 ! 0
! 20
0
20
= = C
The Binomial Expansion
Powers of a + b
! !
!
! !
!
8 12
20
12 8
20
=
Tip: When finding binomial expansions, it can be useful
to notice the following:
8
20
C
So, is equal to
12
20
C
Any term of can then be written as
r r
r
b a C
20 20
20
) ( b a+
where r is any integer from 0 to 20.
The Binomial Expansion
The expansion of is
n
x) 1 ( +
Any term of can be written in the form
n
b a ) ( +
where r is any integer from 0 to n.
r r n
r
n
b a C

Generalizations
The binomial expansion of in ascending
powers of x is given by
n
b a ) ( +
n n n n n n n
n
b b a C b a C a C
b a
+ + + +
= +

. . .
) (
2 2
2
1
1 0
n n n n n
x x C x C C x + + + + = + . . . ) 1 (
2
2 1 0
The Binomial Expansion
e.g.3 Find the first 4 terms in the expansion of
in ascending powers of x.
18
) 1 ( x
+
2
2
18
) ( x C
Powers of a + b
Solution:
=
18
) 1 ( x +
0
18
C + ) (
1
18
x C
. . . ) (
3
3
18
+ x C
1 =
x 18
2
153 x + . . . 816
3
+ x
The Binomial Expansion
e.g.4 Find the 5
th
term of the expansion of
in ascending powers of x.
12
) 2 ( x +
4 8
4
) 2 (
12
x C
Solution: The 5th term contains
4
x
Powers of a + b
It is
4 8
) 2 ( 495 x =
4
126720x =
These numbers
will always be
the same.
The Binomial Expansion
The binomial expansion of in ascending
powers of x is given by
n
b a ) ( +
n n n n n n n
n
b b a C b a C a C
b a
+ + + +
= +

. . .
) (
2 2
2
1
1 0
SUMMARY
The ( r + 1 )
th
term is
r r n
r
n
b a C

The expansion of is
n
x) 1 ( +
n n n n n
x x C x C C x + + + + = + . . . ) 1 (
2
2 1 0
The Binomial Expansion
Exercise
1. Find the 1
st
4 terms of the expansion of
in ascending powers of x.
8
) 3 2 ( x +
Solution:
3 5
3
8 2 6
2
8 7
1
8 8
0
8
) 3 ( 2 ) 3 ( 2 ) 3 ( 2 2 x C x C x C C + + +
2. Find the 6
th
term of the expansion of
in ascending powers of x.
13
) 1 ( x
3 2
48384 16128 3072 256 x x x + + + =
5
5
13
) ( x C
Solution:
5
1287 x =
The Binomial Expansion
The Binomial Expansion
The following slides contain repeats of
information on earlier slides, shown without
colour, so that they can be printed and
photocopied.
For most purposes the slides can be printed
as Handouts with up to 6 slides per sheet.
The Binomial Expansion
Powers of a + b
Pascals Triangle
3
) ( b a+
2
) ( b a+
Coefficients Expression
1 2 1
1 3 3 1
1
) ( b a+ 1 1
0
) ( b a+
4
) ( b a+ 1 4 6 4 1
1
The Binomial Expansion
We usually want to know the complete expansion not
just the coefficients.
Powers of a + b
5
) ( b a+
e.g. Find the expansion of
Pascals triangle gives the coefficients Solution:
1
5
10 1 10 5
The full expansion is
Tip: The powers in each term sum to 5
5 4 3 2 2 3 4 5
b ab b a b a b a a + + + + +
1 5 10
10
5 1
1
The Binomial Expansion
e.g. 2 Write out the expansion of in
ascending powers of x.
1 4 6 1 4
So,
Powers of a + b
Solution: The coefficients are
4 3 2 4
4 6 4 ) ( + + + + = + 1
1 (-x)
(-x) (-x) (-x) (-x)
Simplifying gives
=
4
) 1 ( x 1 x 4
2
6x +
3
4x
4
x +
4
) 1 ( x
The Binomial Expansion
Powers of a + b
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

The 9
th
coefficient of is
20
) ( b a+
For we get
20
) ( b a+
1 20 190
1140
2
19

3
18

etc.
Even using a calculator, this is tedious to simplify.
However, there is a shorthand notation that is
available as a function on the calculator.
1
20

## The Binomial Expansion

1 2 3 . . . 12
1 2 3 . . . 12

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
13 14 . . . 18 19 20

=
Powers of a + b
1 2 3 . . . 18 19 20
We write 20 !
is called 20 factorial.
( 20 followed by an exclamation mark )
We can write
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

! !
!
12 8
20
=
The 9
th
term of is
20
) ( b a+
8 12
12 8
20
b a
! !
!
The Binomial Expansion
Powers of a + b
! !
!
12 8
20
can also be written as
8
20
C
or
|
|
.
|

\
|
8
20
This notation. . .
. . . gives the number of ways that 8 items can
be chosen from 20.

is read as 20 C 8 or 20 choose 8 and
can be evaluated on our calculators.
8
20
C
The 9
th
term of is then
20
) ( b a+
8 12
8
20
b a C
In the expansion, we are choosing the letter b 8
times from the 20 sets of brackets that make up
.
20
) ( b a+
The Binomial Expansion
Powers of a + b
! !
!
! !
!
8 12
20
12 8
20
=
Tip: When finding binomial expansions, it can be useful
to notice the following:
8
20
C
So, is equal to
12
20
C
Any term of can then be written as
r r
r
b a C
20 20
20
) ( b a+
where r is any integer from 0 to 20.
The Binomial Expansion
e.g.3 Find the first 4 terms in the expansion of
in ascending powers of x.
18
) 1 ( x
+
2
2
18
) ( x C
Powers of a + b
Solution:
=
18
) 1 ( x +
0
18
C + ) (
1
18
x C
. . . ) (
3
3
18
+ x C
1 =
x 18
2
153 x + . . . 816
3
+ x
The Binomial Expansion
The binomial expansion of in ascending
powers of x is given by
n
b a ) ( +
n n n n n n n
n
b b a C b a C a C
b a
+ + + +
= +

. . .
) (
2 2
2
1
1 0
SUMMARY
The ( r + 1 )
th
term is
r r n
r
n
b a C

The expansion of is
n
x) 1 ( +
n n n n n
x x C x C C x + + + + = + . . . ) 1 (
2
2 1 0