<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
In this section students will:
  • Evaluate square roots.
  • Use the product rule to simplify square roots.
  • Use the quotient rule to simplify square roots.
  • Add and subtract square roots.
  • Rationalize denominators.
  • Use rational roots.

A hardware store sells 16-ft ladders and 24-ft ladders. A window is located 12 feet above the ground. A ladder needs to be purchased that will reach the window from a point on the ground 5 feet from the building. To find out the length of ladder needed, we can draw a right triangle as shown in [link] , and use the Pythagorean Theorem.

A right triangle with a base of 5 feet, a height of 12 feet, and a hypotenuse labeled c
a 2 + b 2 = c 2 5 2 + 12 2 = c 2 169 = c 2

Now, we need to find out the length that, when squared, is 169, to determine which ladder to choose. In other words, we need to find a square root. In this section, we will investigate methods of finding solutions to problems such as this one.

Evaluating square roots

When the square root of a number is squared, the result is the original number. Since 4 2 = 16 , the square root of 16 is 4. The square root function is the inverse of the squaring function just as subtraction is the inverse of addition. To undo squaring, we take the square root.

In general terms, if a is a positive real number, then the square root of a is a number that, when multiplied by itself, gives a . The square root could be positive or negative because multiplying two negative numbers gives a positive number. The principal square root    is the nonnegative number that when multiplied by itself equals a . The square root obtained using a calculator is the principal square root.

The principal square root of a is written as a . The symbol is called a radical    , the term under the symbol is called the radicand    , and the entire expression is called a radical expression    .

The expression: square root of twenty-five is enclosed in a circle. The circle has an arrow pointing to it labeled: Radical expression. The square root symbol has an arrow pointing to it labeled: Radical. The number twenty-five has an arrow pointing to it labeled: Radicand.

Principal square root

The principal square root    of a is the nonnegative number that, when multiplied by itself, equals a . It is written as a radical expression     , with a symbol called a radical    over the term called the radicand    : a .

Does 25 = ± 5 ?

No. Although both 5 2 and ( −5 ) 2 are 25 , the radical symbol implies only a nonnegative root, the principal square root. The principal square root of 25 is 25 = 5.

Evaluating square roots

Evaluate each expression.

  1. 100
  2. 16
  3. 25 + 144
  4. 49 81
  1. 100 = 10 because 10 2 = 100
  2. 16 = 4 = 2 because 4 2 = 16 and 2 2 = 4
  3. 25 + 144 = 169 = 13 because 13 2 = 169
  4. 49 81 = 7 9 = −2 because 7 2 = 49 and 9 2 = 81
Got questions? Get instant answers now!
Got questions? Get instant answers now!

For 25 + 144 , can we find the square roots before adding?

No. 25 + 144 = 5 + 12 = 17. This is not equivalent to 25 + 144 = 13. The order of operations requires us to add the terms in the radicand before finding the square root.

Evaluate each expression.

  1. 225
  2. 81
  3. 25 9
  4. 36 + 121
  1. 15
  2. 3
  3. 4
  4. 17
Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Using the product rule to simplify square roots

To simplify a square root, we rewrite it such that there are no perfect squares in the radicand. There are several properties of square roots that allow us to simplify complicated radical expressions. The first rule we will look at is the product rule for simplifying square roots, which allows us to separate the square root of a product of two numbers into the product of two separate rational expressions. For instance, we can rewrite 15 as 3 5 . We can also use the product rule to express the product of multiple radical expressions as a single radical expression.

Questions & Answers

the gradient function of a curve is 2x+4 and the curve passes through point (1,4) find the equation of the curve
Kc Reply
Ramesh Reply
test for convergence the series 1+x/2+2!/9x3
success Reply
a man walks up 200 meters along a straight road whose inclination is 30 degree.How high above the starting level is he?
Lhorren Reply
100 meters
Find that number sum and product of all the divisors of 360
jancy Reply
exponential series
what is subgroup
Purshotam Reply
Prove that: (2cos&+1)(2cos&-1)(2cos2&-1)=2cos4&+1
Macmillan Reply
e power cos hyperbolic (x+iy)
Vinay Reply
tan hyperbolic inverse (x+iy)=alpha +i bita
Payal Reply
prove that cos(π/6-a)*cos(π/3+b)-sin(π/6-a)*sin(π/3+b)=sin(a-b)
Tejas Reply
why {2kπ} union {kπ}={kπ}?
Huy Reply
why is {2kπ} union {kπ}={kπ}? when k belong to integer
if 9 sin theta + 40 cos theta = 41,prove that:41 cos theta = 41
Trilochan Reply
what is complex numbers
Ayushi Reply
Please you teach
Thank you
give me treganamentry question
Anshuman Reply
Solve 2cos x + 3sin x = 0.5
shobana Reply
Practice Key Terms 6

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Algebra and trigonometry. OpenStax CNX. Nov 14, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11758/1.6
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Algebra and trigonometry' conversation and receive update notifications?