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This module is from Elementary Algebra by Denny Burzynski and Wade Ellis, Jr. The symbols, notations, and properties of numbers that form the basis of algebra, as well as exponents and the rules of exponents, are introduced in this chapter. Each property of real numbers and the rules of exponents are expressed both symbolically and literally. Literal explanations are included because symbolic explanations alone may be difficult for a student to interpret.Objectives of this module: understand exponential notation, be able to read exponential notation, understand how to use exponential notation with the order of operations.


  • Exponential Notation
  • Reading Exponential Notation
  • The Order of Operations

Exponential notation

In Section [link] we were reminded that multiplication is a description for repeated addition. A natural question is “Is there a description for repeated multiplication?” The answer is yes. The notation that describes repeated multiplication is exponential notation .


In multiplication, the numbers being multiplied together are called factors . In repeated multiplication, all the factors are the same. In nonrepeated multiplication, none of the factors are the same. For example,

18 18 18 18 Repeated multiplication of 18. All four factors , 18 , are the same . x x x x x Repeated multiplication of x . All five factors , x , are the same . 3 7 a Nonrepeated multiplication . None of the factors are the same .

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Exponential notation is used to show repeated multiplication of the same factor. The notation consists of using a superscript on the factor that is repeated . The superscript is called an exponent .

Exponential notation

If x is any real number and n is a natural number, then

x n = x x x ... x n factors of x

An exponent records the number of identical factors in a multiplication.

Note that the definition for exponential notation only has meaning for natural number exponents. We will extend this notation to include other numbers as exponents later.

Sample set a

7 7 7 7 7 7 = 7 6 .

The repeated factor is 7. The exponent 6 records the fact that 7 appears 6 times in the multiplication.

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x x x x = x 4 .

The repeated factor is x . The exponent 4 records the fact that x appears 4 times in the multiplication.

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( 2 y ) ( 2 y ) ( 2 y ) = ( 2 y ) 3 .

The repeated factor is 2 y . The exponent 3 records the fact that the factor 2 y appears 3 times in the multiplication.

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2 y y y = 2 y 3 .

The repeated factor is y . The exponent 3 records the fact that the factor y appears 3 times in the multiplication.

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( a + b ) ( a + b ) ( a b ) ( a b ) ( a b ) = ( a + b ) 2 ( a b ) 3 .

The repeated factors are ( a + b ) and ( a b ) , ( a + b ) appearing 2 times and ( a b ) appearing 3 times.

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Practice set a

Write each of the following using exponents.

( 3 b ) ( 3 b ) ( 5 c ) ( 5 c ) ( 5 c ) ( 5 c )

( 3 b ) 2 ( 5 c ) 4

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2 2 7 7 7 ( a 4 ) ( a 4 )

2 2 7 3 ( a 4 ) 2

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8 x x x y z z z z z

8 x 3 y z 5

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It is extremely important to realize and remember that an exponent applies only to the factor to which it is directly connected.

Sample set b

8 x 3 means 8 x x x and not 8 x 8 x 8 x . The exponent 3 applies only to the factor x since it is only to the factor x that the 3 is connected.

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Questions & Answers

how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Elementary algebra. OpenStax CNX. May 08, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10614/1.3
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