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Polynomial Long Division and Factorization

November 21, 2023
written by Rida Mirza

Polynomials, a fundamental concept in algebra often require techniques such as long division and factorization to simplify and solve complex expressions.

Polynomials

Polynomials are expressions that consist of variables raised to various powers, multiplied by coefficients.

For example,

3x2 – 2x + 1

In this polynomial, ‘3,’ ‘-2,’ and ‘1’ are coefficients, and ‘x2,’ ‘x,’ and ‘1’ are variables raised to different powers.

Polynomial Long Division

Polynomial long division is a method used to divide one polynomial by another. It helps us find the quotient and remainder when dividing polynomials.

Example

Divide the polynomial (4x3 + 2x2 – 4x + 1) by (2x – 1).

Here’s how we do it step by step:

• Divide the dividend’s highest degree term by the divisor’s highest degree term. In this case, (4x3 / 2x) equals 2x2.
• Multiply the entire divisor (2x – 1) by the result from Step 1 (2x2) and subtract it from the dividend.
• Repeat the process with the result from Step 2. Divide (4x2 – 4x + 1) by (2x – 1), which gives us 2x.
• Multiply the divisor (2x – 1) by the result from Step 3 (2x) and subtract it from the previous remainder.
• Continue the process, dividing the new remainder (-2x + 1) by (2x – 1) to find the next term.
• Repeat until the degree of the remainder is less than the degree of the divisor.

In this example, the result of the polynomial long division is:

Quotient: 2x^2 + 2x + 1
Remainder: 0

Polynomial Factorization

Polynomial factorization is the process of expressing a polynomial as the product of simpler polynomials. It helps us simplify complex expressions and solve polynomial equations.

Example

Factor the polynomial 4x2– 9.

This polynomial can be factored as the difference of squares, where 4x2 is the square of 2x, and 9 is the square of 3.

The factored form of 4x2– 9 is:

4x2 – 9 = (2x – 3)(2x + 3)

FAQs

What is the purpose of polynomial long division?

The polynomial long division helps us divide one polynomial by another, finding the quotient and remainder, which is useful in simplifying and solving polynomial equations.

When should I use polynomial factorization?

Polynomial factorization is used to simplify complex polynomial expressions, making it easier to solve equations and understand the properties of polynomials.

Can I use polynomial long division and factorization for any polynomial?

Yes, you can use these techniques for most polynomials. They are essential tools in algebra.

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