Watch
Watching this resources will notify you when proposed changes or new versions are created so you can keep track of improvements that have been made.
Favorite
Favoriting this resource allows you to save it in the “My Resources” tab of your account. There, you can easily access this resource later when you’re ready to customize it or assign it to your students.
Solving Equations with Rational Expressions; Problems Involving Proportions
Rational expressions, like proportions, are extremely useful applications of algebra, that can be solved using simple algebraic techniques.
Learning Objective

Solve equations with rational expressions (proportions) by finding the LCD or by crossmultipliation
Key Points
 A rational equation means that you are setting two rational expressions equal to each other. Proportions are perfect examples of a rational expression. Even if they look different, they can be simplified down into the same expression:
$(\frac 2 4)= (\frac 1 2)$ .  If you have a rational equation where the denominators are the same, then the numerators must be the same. This in turn suggests a strategy: find a common denominator, and then set the numerators equal using algebraic techniques.
 Remember, all normal algebraic rules apply to solving rational equations. Such as, you still can not divide by 0.
Term

rational expression
An expression that can be expressed as the quotient of two polynomials.
Example
 When given the rational equation:
$(\frac a b)=(\frac c d)$ This can be solved by either finding a common denominator, or by setting it up like:$ad=cb$ and then solving it algebraically.
Full Text
A rational equation means that you are setting two rational expressions equal to each other. The goal is to solve for x; that is, find the value(s) that make the equation true.
Suppose you are told that:
If you think about it, the x in this equation has to be a 3. That is to say, if
This leads us to a very general rule: If you have a rational equation where the denominators are the same, then the numerators must be the same.
This in turn suggests a strategy: find a common denominator, and then set the numerators equal.
For example, consider the rational equation
by factoring the denominators,we find that we must multiply the left side of the equation by
Based on the rule above—since the denominators are equal, we can now assume the numerators are equal, so we know that
What we're dealing with, in this case, is a quadratic equation. As always, move everything to one side, giving
and then factor. A common mistake in this kind of problem is to divide both sides by x; this loses one of the two solutions.
Two solutions to the quadratic equation. However, in this case,
Interactive Graph: Graphical Determination of x(x30)=0
To determine the solutions to the equation $x(x30)=0$, graph it and look for where the dependent variable crosses the xaxis. The graph crosses the xaxis at 0 and 30, the solution to the equation.
As always, it is vital to remember what we have found here. We started with the equation
Key Term Reference
 denominator
 Appears in these related concepts: Low Voter Turnout, Solving Problems with Rational Functions, and Complex Conjugates and Division
 domain
 Appears in these related concepts: Visualizing Domain and Range, Phenotypic Analysis, and Classification of Prokaryotes
 equation
 Appears in these related concepts: A General Approach, Equations and Inequalities, and Equations and Their Solutions
 expression
 Appears in these related concepts: Simplifying, Multiplying, and Dividing, Expressions and Sets of Numbers, and Bacterial Transformation
 factor
 Appears in these related concepts: Randomized Design: SingleFactor, Factorial Experiments: Two Factors, and The Perceptual Process
 fraction
 Appears in these related concepts: SI Unit Prefixes, Separable Equations, and Fractions
 numerator
 Appears in these related concepts: Rational Inequalities, Rational Equations, and Rationalizing Denominators or Numerators
 quadratic
 Appears in these related concepts: Solving Quadratic Equations by Factoring, The Discriminant, and Quadratic Functions of the Form f(x) = a(xh)^2 + k
 quadratic equation
 Appears in these related concepts: Standard Form and Completing the Square, Completing the Square, and Linear and Quadratic Equations
 set
 Appears in these related concepts: Sequences of Statements, Sequences, and Introduction to Sequences
 variable
 Appears in these related concepts: Related Rates, Math Review, and Psychology and the Scientific Method: From Theory to Conclusion
Sources
Boundless vets and curates highquality, openly licensed content from around the Internet. This particular resource used the following sources:
Cite This Source
Source: Boundless. “Solving Equations with Rational Expressions; Problems Involving Proportions.” Boundless Algebra. Boundless, 21 Jul. 2015. Retrieved 22 Jul. 2015 from https://www.boundless.com/algebra/textbooks/boundlessalgebratextbook/thebuildingblocksofalgebra1/rationalexpressions13/solvingequationswithrationalexpressionsproblemsinvolvingproportions805540/