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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Simplify a complex rational expression by writing it as division
  • Simplify a complex rational expression by using the LCD

Before you get started, take this readiness quiz.

If you miss a problem, go back to the section listed and review the material.

  1. Simplify: 3 5 9 10 .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .
  2. Simplify: 1 1 3 4 2 + 4 · 5 .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .

Complex fractions are fractions in which the numerator or denominator contains a fraction. In Chapter 1 we simplified complex fractions like these:

3 4 5 8 x 2 x y 6

In this section we will simplify complex rational expressions , which are rational expressions with rational expressions in the numerator or denominator.

Complex rational expression

A complex rational expression    is a rational expression in which the numerator or denominator contains a rational expression.

Here are a few complex rational expressions:

4 y 3 8 y 2 9 1 x + 1 y x y y x 2 x + 6 4 x 6 4 x 2 36

Remember, we always exclude values that would make any denominator zero.

We will use two methods to simplify complex rational expressions.

Simplify a complex rational expression by writing it as division

We have already seen this complex rational expression earlier in this chapter.

6 x 2 7 x + 2 4 x 8 2 x 2 8 x + 3 x 2 5 x + 6

We noted that fraction bars tell us to divide, so rewrote it as the division problem

( 6 x 2 7 x + 2 4 x 8 ) ÷ ( 2 x 2 8 x + 3 x 2 5 x + 6 )

Then we multiplied the first rational expression by the reciprocal of the second, just like we do when we divide two fractions.

This is one method to simplify rational expressions. We write it as if we were dividing two fractions.

Simplify: 4 y 3 8 y 2 9 .

Solution

4 y 3 8 y 2 9 Rewrite the complex fraction as division. 4 y 3 ÷ 8 y 2 9 Rewrite as the product of first times the reciprocal of the second. 4 y 3 · y 2 9 8 Multiply. 4 ( y 2 9 ) 8 ( y 3 ) Factor to look for common factors. 4 ( y 3 ) ( y + 3 ) 4 · 2 ( y 3 ) Remove common factors. 4 ( y 3 ) ( y + 3 ) 4 · 2 ( y 3 ) Simplify. y + 3 2

Are there any value(s) of y that should not be allowed? The simplified rational expression has just a constant in the denominator. But the original complex rational expression    had denominators of y 3 and y 2 9 . This expression would be undefined if y = 3 or y = −3 .

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Simplify: 2 x 2 1 3 x + 1 .

2 3 ( x 1 )

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Simplify: 1 x 2 7 x + 12 2 x 4 .

1 2 ( x 3 )

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Fraction bars act as grouping symbols. So to follow the Order of Operations, we simplify the numerator and denominator as much as possible before we can do the division.

Simplify: 1 3 + 1 6 1 2 1 3 .

Solution

.
Simplify the numerator and denominator.
Find the LCD and add the fractions in the numerator.
Find the LCD and add the fractions in the denominator.
.
Simplify the numerator and denominator. .
Simplify the numerator and denominator, again. .
Rewrite the complex rational expression as a division problem. .
Multiply the first times by the reciprocal of the second. .
Simplify. .

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Simplify: 1 2 + 2 3 5 6 + 1 12 .

14 11

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Simplify: 3 4 1 3 1 8 + 5 6 .

10 23

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How to simplify a complex rational expression by writing it as division

Simplify: 1 x + 1 y x y y x .

Solution

The above image has three columns. The image shows steps on how to divide complex rational expressions in three steps. Step one is to simplify the numerator and denominator. We will simplify the sum in the numerator and difference in the denominator for the example 1 divided by x plus 1 divided by y divided by x divided by y minus y divided by x. Find a common denominator and add the fractions in the numerator and find a common denominator and subtract the fractions in the numerator to get 1 times y divided by x times y plus 1 times x divided by y times x divided by x times x divided by y times x minus y times y divided by x times y. Then, we get y divided by x y plus x plus x y divided by x squared divided by x y minus y squared divided by x y. We now have just one rational expression in the numerator and one in the denominator, y plus x divided by x y divided by x squared minus y squared divided by x y. Step two is to rewrite the complex rational expression as a division problem. We write the numerator divided by the denominator. Step three is to divide the expressions. Multiply the first by the reciprocal of the second to get y plus x divided by x y times x y divided by x squared minus y squared. Factor any expressions if possible. We now have x y times y plus x divided by x y times x minus y times x plus y. Remove common factors. Cross out x, y and y plus x from the numerator. Cross out x, y and x plus y from the denominator. Simplify to get 1 divided by x minus y.
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Simplify: 1 x + 1 y 1 x 1 y .

y + x y x

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Simplify: 1 a + 1 b 1 a 2 1 b 2 .

a b b a

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Simplify a complex rational expression by writing it as division.

  1. Simplify the numerator and denominator.
  2. Rewrite the complex rational expression as a division problem.
  3. Divide the expressions.

Questions & Answers

Nancy took a 3 hour drive. She went 50 miles before she got caught in a storm. Then she drove 68 miles at 9 mph less than she had driven when the weather was good. What was her speed driving in the storm?
Reiley Reply
Mr Hernaez runs his car at a regular speed of 50 kph and Mr Ranola at 36 kph. They started at the same place at 5:30 am and took opposite directions. At what time were they 129 km apart?
hamzzi Reply
90 minutes
muhammad
Melody wants to sell bags of mixed candy at her lemonade stand. She will mix chocolate pieces that cost $4.89 per bag with peanut butter pieces that cost $3.79 per bag to get a total of twenty-five bags of mixed candy. Melody wants the bags of mixed candy to cost her $4.23 a bag to make. How many bags of chocolate pieces and how many bags of peanut butter pieces should she use?
Jake Reply
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
Nakiya Reply
13.5
Pervaiz
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?
Bridget Reply
The equation P=28+2.54w models the relation between the amount of Randy’s monthly water bill payment, P, in dollars, and the number of units of water, w, used. Find the payment for a month when Randy used 15 units of water.
Bridget
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
State the question clearly please
Rich
write in this form a/b answer should be in the simplest form 5%
August Reply
convert to decimal 9/11
August
0.81818
Rich
5/100 = .05 but Rich is right that 9/11 = .81818
Melissa
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
Practice Key Terms 1

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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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