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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Solve equations with fraction coefficients
  • Solve equations with decimal coefficients

Before you get started, take this readiness quiz.

  1. Multiply: 8 · 3 8 .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .
  2. Find the LCD of 5 6 and 1 4 .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .
  3. Multiply 4.78 by 100.
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .

Solve equations with fraction coefficients

Let’s use the general strategy for solving linear equations introduced earlier to solve the equation, 1 8 x + 1 2 = 1 4 .

.
To isolate the x term, subtract 1 2 from both sides. .
Simplify the left side. .
Change the constants to equivalent fractions with the LCD. .
Subtract. .
Multiply both sides by the reciprocal of 1 8 . .
Simplify. .

This method worked fine, but many students do not feel very confident when they see all those fractions. So, we are going to show an alternate method to solve equations with fractions. This alternate method eliminates the fractions.

We will apply the Multiplication Property of Equality and multiply both sides of an equation by the least common denominator of all the fractions in the equation. The result of this operation will be a new equation, equivalent to the first, but without fractions. This process is called “clearing” the equation of fractions.

Let’s solve a similar equation, but this time use the method that eliminates the fractions.

How to solve equations with fraction coefficients

Solve: 1 6 y 1 3 = 5 6 .

Solution

This figure is a table that has three columns and three rows. The first column is a header column, and it contains the names and numbers of each step. The second column contains further written instructions. The third column contains math. On the top row of the table, the first cell on the left reads: “Step 1. Find the least common denominator of all the fractions in the equation.” The text in the second cell reads: “What is the LCD of 1/6, 1/3, and 5/6?” The third cell contains the equation one-sixth y minus 1/3 equals 5/6, with LCD equals 6 written next to it. In the second row of the table, the first cell says: “Step 2. Multiply both sides of the equation by that LCD. This clears the fractions.” In the second cell, the instructions say: “Multiply both sides of the equation by the LCD 6. Use the Distributive Property. Simplify—and notice, no more fractions!” The third cell contains the equation 6 times one-sixth y minus 1/3, with one-sixth y minus 1/3 in brackets, equals 6 times 5/6, with “6 times” written in red on both sides. Below this is the same equation with the 6 distributed on both sides: 6 times one-sixth y minus 6 times 1/3 equals 6 times 5/6. Below this is the equation y minus 2 equals 5. In the third row of the table, the first cell says: “Step 3. Solve using the General Strategy for Solving Linear Equations.” In the second cell, the instructions say: “Isolate the x term, add 2. Simplify.” The third cell contains the equation with 2 added to both sides: y minus 2 plus 2 equals 5 plus 2, with “plus 2” written in red on both sides. Below this is the equation y equals 7.
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Solve: 1 4 x + 1 2 = 5 8 .

x = 1 2

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Solve: 1 8 x + 1 2 = 1 4 .

x = −2

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Notice in [link] , once we cleared the equation of fractions, the equation was like those we solved earlier in this chapter. We changed the problem to one we already knew how to solve! We then used the General Strategy for Solving Linear Equations.

Strategy to solve equations with fraction coefficients.

  1. Find the least common denominator of all the fractions in the equation.
  2. Multiply both sides of the equation by that LCD. This clears the fractions.
  3. Solve using the General Strategy for Solving Linear Equations.

Solve: 6 = 1 2 v + 2 5 v 3 4 v .

Solution

We want to clear the fractions by multiplying both sides of the equation by the LCD of all the fractions in the equation.

Find the LCD of all fractions in the equation. .
The LCD is 20.
Multiply both sides of the equation by 20. .
Distribute. .
Simplify—notice, no more fractions! .
Combine like terms. .
Divide by 3. .
Simplify. .
Check: .
Let v = 40 . .
.
.
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Solve: 7 = 1 2 x + 3 4 x 2 3 x .

x = 12

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Solve: −1 = 1 2 u + 1 4 u 2 3 u .

u = −12

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In the next example, we again have variables on both sides of the equation.

Solve: a + 3 4 = 3 8 a 1 2 .

Solution

.
Find the LCD of all fractions in the equation.
The LCD is 8.
Multiply both sides by the LCD. .
Distribute. .
Simplify—no more fractions. .
Subtract 3 a from both sides. .
Simplify. .
Subtract 6 from both sides. .
Simplify. .
Divide by 5. .
Simplify. .
Check: .
Let a = −2 . .
.
.
.
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Solve: x + 1 3 = 1 6 x 1 2 .

x = −1

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Solve: c + 3 4 = 1 2 c 1 4 .

c = −2

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In the next example, we start by using the Distributive Property. This step clears the fractions right away.

Solve: −5 = 1 4 ( 8 x + 4 ) .

Solution

.
Distribute. .
Simplify.
Now there are no fractions.
.
Subtract 1 from both sides. .
Simplify. .
Divide by 2. .
Simplify. .
Check: .
Let x = −3 . .
.
.
.
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Questions & Answers

help me understand graphs
Marlene Reply
what kind of graphs?
bruce
function f(x) to find each value
Marlene
I am in algebra 1. Can anyone give me any ideas to help me learn this stuff. Teacher and tutor not helping much.
Marlene
Given f(x)=2x+2, find f(2) so you replace the x with the 2, f(2)=2(2)+2, which is f(2)=6
Melissa
if they say find f(5) then the answer would be f(5)=12
Melissa
I need you to help me Melissa. Wish I can show you my homework
Marlene
How is f(1) =0 I am really confused
Marlene
what's the formula given? f(x)=?
Melissa
It shows a graph that I wish I could send photo of to you on here
Marlene
Which problem specifically?
Melissa
which problem?
Melissa
I don't know any to be honest. But whatever you can help me with for I can practice will help
Marlene
I got it. sorry, was out and about. I'll look at it now.
Melissa
Thank you. I appreciate it because my teacher assumes I know this. My teacher before him never went over this and several other things.
Marlene
I just responded.
Melissa
Thank you
Marlene
-65r to the 4th power-50r cubed-15r squared+8r+23 ÷ 5r
WENDY Reply
write in this form a/b answer should be in the simplest form 5%
August Reply
convert to decimal 9/11
August
Equation in the form of a pending point y+2=1/6(×-4)
Jose Reply
write in simplest form 3 4/2
August
definition of quadratic formula
Ahmed Reply
From Google: The quadratic formula, , is used in algebra to solve quadratic equations (polynomial equations of the second degree). The general form of a quadratic equation is , where x represents a variable, and a, b, and c are constants, with . A quadratic equation has two solutions, called roots.
Melissa
what is the answer of w-2.6=7.55
What Reply
10.15
Michael
w = 10.15 You add 2.6 to both sides and then solve for w (-2.6 zeros out on the left and leaves you with w= 7.55 + 2.6)
Korin
Nataly is considering two job offers. The first job would pay her $83,000 per year. The second would pay her $66,500 plus 15% of her total sales. What would her total sales need to be for her salary on the second offer be higher than the first?
Mckenzie Reply
x > $110,000
bruce
greater than $110,000
Michael
Estelle is making 30 pounds of fruit salad from strawberries and blueberries. Strawberries cost $1.80 per pound, and blueberries cost $4.50 per pound. If Estelle wants the fruit salad to cost her $2.52 per pound, how many pounds of each berry should she use?
nawal Reply
$1.38 worth of strawberries + $1.14 worth of blueberries which= $2.52
Leitha
how
Zaione
is it right😊
Leitha
lol maybe
Robinson
8 pound of blueberries and 22 pounds of strawberries
Melissa
8 pounds x 4.5 = 36 22 pounds x 1.80 = 39.60 36 + 39.60 = 75.60 75.60 / 30 = average 2.52 per pound
Melissa
8 pounds x 4.5 equal 36 22 pounds x 1.80 equal 39.60 36 + 39.60 equal 75.60 75.60 / 30 equal average 2.52 per pound
Melissa
hmmmm...... ?
Robinson
8 pounds x 4.5 = 36 22 pounds x 1.80 = 39.60 36 + 39.60 = 75.60 75.60 / 30 = average 2.52 per pound
Melissa
The question asks how many pounds of each in order for her to have an average cost of $2.52. She needs 30 lb in all so 30 pounds times $2.52 equals $75.60. that's how much money she is spending on the fruit. That means she would need 8 pounds of blueberries and 22 lbs of strawberries to equal 75.60
Melissa
good
Robinson
👍
Leitha
thanks Melissa.
Leitha
nawal let's do another😊
Leitha
we can't use emojis...I see now
Leitha
Sorry for the multi post. My phone glitches.
Melissa
Vina has $4.70 in quarters, dimes and nickels in her purse. She has eight more dimes than quarters and six more nickels than quarters. How many of each coin does she have?
Mckenzie Reply
10 quarters 16 dimes 12 nickels
Leitha
A private jet can fly 1,210 miles against a 25 mph headwind in the same amount of time it can fly 1,694 miles with a 25 mph tailwind. Find the speed of the jet.
Crispy Reply
wtf. is a tail wind or headwind?
Robert
48 miles per hour with headwind and 68 miles per hour with tailwind
Leitha
average speed is 58 mph
Leitha
Into the wind (headwind), 125 mph; with wind (tailwind), 175 mph. Use time (t) = distance (d) ÷ rate (r). since t is equal both problems, then 1210/(x-25) = 1694/(×+25). solve for x gives x=150.
bruce
the jet will fly 9.68 hours to cover either distance
bruce
Riley is planning to plant a lawn in his yard. He will need 9 pounds of grass seed. He wants to mix Bermuda seed that costs $4.80 per pound with Fescue seed that costs $3.50 per pound. How much of each seed should he buy so that the overall cost will be $4.02 per pound?
Vonna Reply
33.336
Robinson
Amber wants to put tiles on the backsplash of her kitchen counters. She will need 36 square feet of tiles. She will use basic tiles that cost $8 per square foot and decorator tiles that cost $20 per square foot. How many square feet of each tile should she use so that the overall cost of the backsplash will be $10 per square foot?
Imaan Reply
Ivan has $8.75 in nickels and quarters in his desk drawer. The number of nickels is twice the number of quarters. How many coins of each type does he have?
mikayla Reply
2q=n ((2q).05) + ((q).25) = 8.75 .1q + .25q = 8.75 .35q = 8.75 q = 25 quarters 2(q) 2 (25) = 50 nickles Answer check 25 x .25 = 6.25 50 x .05 = 2.50 6.25 + 2.50 = 8.75
Melissa
John has $175 in $5 and $10 bills in his drawer. The number of $5 bills is three times the number of $10 bills. How many of each are in the drawer?
mikayla Reply
7-$10 21-$5
Robert
Enrique borrowed $23,500 to buy a car. He pays his uncle 2% interest on the $4,500 he borrowed from him, and he pays the bank 11.5% interest on the rest. What average interest rate does he pay on the total $23,500? (Round your answer to the nearest tenth of a percent.)
Parker Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Elementary algebra. OpenStax CNX. Jan 18, 2017 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12116/1.2
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