Exponential Functions
Linera Equations
Simple Trinomials as Products of Binomials
Laws of Exponents and Dividing Monomials
Solving Equations
Multiplying Polynomials
Multiplying and Dividing Rational Expressions
Solving Systems of Linear Inequalities
Mixed-Number Notation
Linear Equations and Inequalities in One Variable
The Quadratic Formula
Fractions and Decimals
Graphing Logarithmic Functions
Multiplication by 111
Solving Systems of Equations - Two Lines
Solving Nonlinear Equations by Factoring
Solving Linear Systems of Equations by Elimination
Rationalizing the Denominator
Simplifying Complex Fractions
Factoring Trinomials
Linear Relations and Functions
Axis of Symmetry and Vertices
Equations Quadratic in Form
The Appearance of a Polynomial Equation
Subtracting Reverses
Non-Linear Equations
Exponents and Order of Operations
Factoring Trinomials by Grouping
Factoring Trinomials of the Type ax 2 + bx + c
The Distance Formula
Invariants Under Rotation
Multiplying and Dividing Monomials
Solving a System of Three Linear Equations by Elimination
Multiplication by 25
Powers of i
Solving Quadratic and Polynomial Equations
Slope-intercept Form for the Equation of a Line
Equations of Lines
Square Roots
Integral Exponents
Product Rule for Radicals
Solving Compound Linear Inequalities
Axis of Symmetry and Vertices
Multiplying Rational Expressions
Reducing Rational Expressions
Properties of Negative Exponents
Numbers, Factors, and Reducing Fractions to Lowest Terms
Solving Quadratic Equations
Factoring Completely General Quadratic Trinomials
Solving a Formula for a Given Variable
Factoring Polynomials
Decimal Numbers and Fractions
Multiplication Properties of Exponents
Multiplying Fractions
Multiplication by 50

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A. What It Means to Rationalize the Denominator

In order that all of us doing math can compare answers, we agree upon a common conversation, or set of rules, concerning the form of the answers.

For instance, we could easily agree that we would not leave an answer in the form of 3 + 4, but would write 7 instead.

When the topic switches to that of radicals, those doing math have agreed that a RADICAL IN SIMPLE FORM will not (among other things) have a radical in the denominator of a fraction. We will all change the form so there is no radical in the denominator.

Now a radical in the denominator will not be something as simple as . Instead, it will have a radicand which will not come out from under the radical sign like .

Since is an irrational number, and we need to make it NOT irrational, the process of changing its form so it is no longer irrational is called RATIONALIZING THE DENOMINATOR.

B. There are 3 Cases of Rationalizing the Denominator

1. Case I : There is ONE TERM in the denominator and it is a SQUARE ROOT.

2. Case II : There is ONE TERM in the denominator, however, THE INDEX IS GREATER THAN TWO. It might be a cube root or a fourth root.

3. Case III : There are TWO TERMS in the denominator.

Let's study Case II:

2. Case II : There is ONE TERM in the denominator, however, THE INDEX IS GREATER THAN TWO. It might be a cube root or a fourth root.


For the first part of this discussion, we will ignore the top and\par concentrate on the denominator.

Procedure: Multiply top and bottom by whatever works in order to create a perfect cube in the denominator.

We need to multiply the bottom by something that will make the result a cube...

So we can take the cube root of it here...

Which would cause the radical to be gone down here.


But we also need to multiply it by an x so that we get x 3 (which is also a cube).

So there, we've gotten rid of the radical in the denominator. We've, therefore, rationalized the denominator. Now we'll look at the entire problem with the numerator included this time.

Remember, whatever we do to the bottom, we must also do to the top.

Original problem:

Here is our adjustment --- what we needed to multiply top and bottom by so the bottom would become a perfect square.

And here we see the result of our multiplication on the bottom. We've created something of which we can take the cube root.

Notice we can cancel the Xs since they are factors and represent the same number.