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Binomial expansion Maths HL IB

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will learn:

how to expand an

(a + b)n for positive

integer n

how to find individual

Introductory problem terms in the expansion

of (a + b)n for positive

Without using a calculator, find the value of (1.002)10 integer n

correct to 8 decimal places.

how to use partial

expansions of (a + bx)n

A binomial expression is one which contains two terms, for to find approximate

example, a + b. values.

performed by expanding brackets; for example (a b ) could be

7

The Ancient

(a b )(a b )(a b )(a b )(a b )(a b )(a b ) .

Babylonians made an

This is time-consuming, but happily there is a much faster unexpected use of

approach. expanding brackets

it helped them multiply numbers

in their base 60 number

system. This is explored

8A Introducing the binomial theorem in Supplementary sheet 7

Babylonian multiplication on

To see how to expand an expression of the form (a + b)n for

the CD-ROM.

integer n rapidly, consider the following expansions of (a + b)n,

done using the slow method of repeatedly multiplying

out brackets.

a famous mathematical

= 1a0b0

construction called

(a b) = a+b

1

Pascals triangle. Each value

= 1a1b0 + 1a0b1 not on the edge is formed

by adding up the value

(a b)

2

= a2 + ab + b2 directly above and the value

= 1a2b0 + 2a1b1 + 1a0b2 to its left. There are many

(a b) amazing patterns in Pascals

3

= a3 + 3a2b + 3ab + b3

triangle for example, if

= 1 3b0 + 3a2b1 + 3 1b2 + 1a b3 you highlight all the even

(a b)

4

= a 4 + 4a3b + 6a2b + ab + b 4 numbers you generate an

ever-repeating pattern called

= 1a 4b0 + 4a3b1 + 6a2b2 + 4a b3 +1a b 4

a fractal.

We can see several patterns in this structure.

See chapter 1,

Section D for more The powers of a and b always total n

n (in the 3rd row, 3 + 0 = 2 + 1 = 1 + 2 = 0 + 3 = 3).

combinations r . Each power of a from 0 up to n is present in one of the terms,

with the corresponding complementary power of b.

Each term has a coefficient (given in red), and the pattern of

coefficients in each line is symmetrical.

In this section we shall focus on the coefficients. The pattern of

See Calculator skills sheet numbers may seem familiar as they are all numbers which were

3 on the CD-ROM for a

found when calculating combinations . In this context,

n n

reminder of how to use your r r

n is called a binomial coefficient.

calculator to find r .

KEY POINT 8.1

Binomial coefficient

r

containing a br in the expansion of (a b ) .

n

8

8

The relevant term is 3 ( )5 ( )3

Write down the required term in the

n

form (a ) (b )r with a = x, b = y,

r

hint

n = 8, r = 3 exam sk

s ti o n s might a e

8 Que her th

= 56 give eit st the

Calculate the coefficient and apply 3 you to ju

term or e sure

whole a k

the powers to the bracketed terms ( x )5 x5 nt. M

coefficie nswer the

( y )3 y3 that yo

ua

n!

questio

The term is 56 x 5 y 3

Combine the elements to calculate

The coefficient is 56

the coefficient

Exercise 8A

1. (a) Find the coefficient of xy 3 in the expansion of ( x + y ) .

4

7

7

8

12

16

5

9

6

In Section 8A, you saw the general pattern for expanding powers

of a binomial expression ( b). When expanding powers of more

complicated expressions, you will still use this method, but may

substitute more complicated expressions for a and b.

8

8 6

Write down the required term in the form The relevant term is ( ) (3 )

2 2

2

n

r

(a ) (b )r with a = x, b = 3y2, n = 8, r = 2

8

Calculate the coefficient and apply the powers = 28

2

to the bracketed terms

( x )6 x6

(3 y 2 )2 9y 4

The term is 28 x 6 9 y 4 5 x6 y 4

252

but you should also be able to find the entire expansion. To

do this you repeat the process for each term for every possible

value of r (from 0 up to n) and add together the results. This

result is quoted in the Formula booklet.

KEY POINT 8.2

t

exam hin

Binomial theorem

apply the

Take care to

nly to the

power not o (a b)n = an + 1 a b + ++ r a

n n

bn

art but also

algebraic p

ient. In

to its coeffic

mple 8.2,

Worked exa y 4.

2 )2 = 9y , not 3

4

(3y

5

The expansion is

Write down each term in the

1( ) 5 ( 2 x ) ( 3 y ) 2 x ) ( 3 y )

10 ( 2x

5 4 1 3 2

n

form (a ) (b )r with + 10 ( 2 )2 ( 3 y )3 + 5 ( )1 ( y )4 + 1( 3 y )5

r

a = 2x, b = 3y, n = 5

Coefficients: 1, 5, 10, 10, 5, 1

0 4

y + 720x

20 3 y 2 1080 x 2 y 3 + 810 y 4 243

243 y 5

bracketed terms and multiply

through

t

exam hin

mistake

A common A question may ask for a binomial expansion where both of the

that

is to assume terms in the binomial expression contain the same variable. You

o f each

the powers

rrespond can use the rules of exponents to determine which term of the

variable co

of r in the expansion is needed.

to the value

expansion.

7

1

Find the coefficient of x5 in the expansion of 2 x 2 .

x

Each term will be of the form

Start with the form of a general term and 7

simplify using the rules of exponents r

(2 ) ( 1 )r

2 7 r

7 7 r 14 2

= ( ) x ( )r x r

r

7 7 r

= ( ) ( )r x 14 3r

r

continued . . .

We need the term in x5, so equate that to Require that 14 3 5

the power of x in the general term 3 9

r=3

7

Write down the required term in the The relevant term is

3

(2 ) ( 1 )3

2 4

n

form r (a ) (b )r with a = 2x2, b = x 1,

n = 7, r = 3

= 35

3

powers to the bracketed terms

( 2 x 2 )4 16 x 8

( )3 = x 3

Combine the elements to calculate the The term is 35 16 x 8 ( 3

) = 560 x 5

coefficient The coefficient is 560

exam hint

Dont forget that if there is a negative sign it must stay part of the coefficient of the term it is acting

upon. Lots of people fall into this trap!

Applying this process in reverse is always quite tricky, since in Remind yourself

of Key point 1.6 in

general you cannot undo the operation. So, you must use

n chapter 1.

r

n

the formula for , seen in chapter 1, to rewrite it as a polynomial r =

n n!

.

r r !(n r )!

n

Required term is

Write down the required term in n n 2

(1) (3 )2

2

n

the form

r

(a ) (b )r with a = 1,

b = 3x, r = 2

continued . . .

n n! n (n 1)

Simplify the coefficient algebraically and = =

2 (n 2) ! 2 ! 2

apply the powers to the bracketed terms

(1)n 2 1

(3 )2 9x2

9 ( 1)

Combine these and equate to the x 2 189

9x2

2

given information

Compare coefficients 9 ( 1)

= 189

2

9n29n = 378

n n 42 = 0

2

(n )()(n + ) = 0

n = 7 or n = 6

but n > 0 n = 7

This general binomial expansion results in an infinite polynomial.

Exercise 8B

1. (a) Find the coefficient of xy3 in:

(2 x 3y) ( 5 x + y )4

4

(i) (ii)

(b) Find the term in x 3 y 4 in:

(x 2y) (y 2x )

7 7

(i) (ii)

(c) Find the coefficient of a b3 in:

5

1

(17a 3b )

5

(i) 2a b (ii)

2

8 5

t 1

exam hin

(i) x +

1

(ii) 2 x +

t coefficient x

The constan 0 . It may x

x

is the term in (b) Find the constant coefficient in the expansion of:

e sc ri bed as

also be d

the term ind

ependent (i) (x x )9 (ii) (x3 x )

1 4

of x.

3. (a) Fully expand and simplify:

(i) (2 x )5 (ii) (3 + x )6

(b) (i) Find the first three terms in descending

powers of x of (3x + y ) .

5

of d of (2c d ) .

4

(2 x 2 3x ) (2 x 5y)

3 1 3

(i) (ii)

3

5x

4

3

(i) 2z 2 + (ii) 3xy +

z y

n n n

(a) (b) (c)

1 2 3

5

5

[5 marks]

7

3

7. Find the term in x 5 in x 2 . [6 marks]

x

8. Find the term that is independent of x in the

12

5

expansion of 2 x . [6 marks]

x2

9. The expansion of (1 3x ) starts with 1 + 42 Find

n

10. The coefficient of x 2 in (1 2 x ) is 264. Find the value

n

11. The coefficient of x 3 in (1 5x ) is 10 500. Find the

n

12. The coefficient of x 2in (3 2 x ) is 20 412. Find the

n

We may need to work with a product of a binomial and another

expression. It is possible to do this by working with the entire

expansion.

Worked example 8.6

) (2 x ) .

4

Use the Binomial theorem to expand and simplify (

) 1( 2) (2)3 ( x ) + 6 (2)2 ( )2 4 ( 2 ) ( x ) + 1( x )

4 1 3 4

are: 1, 4, 6, 4, 1 (

second bracket by 5 and 3 [ + + ]

then by 3x = 80 208 x + 216 x 112 x + 29 x 4 3 x 5

2 3

usually only be asked to find a small number of terms from such

an expression.

b) (a b ) .

6

Find the coefficient of a b3 in the expansion of (

a ( a + b ) 5b ( a + b )

6 6

Split the product into two parts, and

treat each separately

Decide which term from each For a 4 b 3 , we need a3b 3 from the first bracket

expansion is needed to make a4b3 ( 3 3 4 3

) and a 4 b 2 from the second

( 4 2 4 3

)

n 6 3 3 6 4 2

form (a ) (b)r a ( a) ( ) 5b ( a) ( )

r 3 2

6 6

Calculate the coefficient and apply = 20 = 15

3 2

the powers to the bracketed terms

( a)3 a3 ( a )4 a4

(b )3 b3 (b )2 b2

the coefficient The coefficient is 55

As you get more practised, you may not need to split the

problem into several parts explicitly; always consider all possible

ways that you can multiply to get the required term.

)(2 + x )5.

and treat each separately

expansion is needed to make x4

n 5 1 4 5 2 5 3 2

form (a ) (b)r 1 (2) 3x (2) 3

x2 (2) x

r 4 3 2

5 5 5

the powers to the bracketed terms =5 = 10 = 10

4 3 2

(2)1 2 (2)2 4 (2)3 8

the coefficient 1 5 2 4 3 x 10 4 x 3 x2 10 8 x 2

= 10 x 4 + 120

0 4 80 x 4

= 50 x 4

The coefficient is 50

Exercise 8C

1. (a) (i) Find the coefficient of x 2 y 5 in the expansion of

( x y )( x + y )6.

(ii) Find the coefficient of x 5 in the expansion of

(1 3x )(

)(1 + x )7.

(b) (i) Find the coefficient of x 6 in the expansion of

(1 2 )(1 + x )5.

(ii) Find the coefficient of x 6 in the expansion of

(1 2 )(1 + x )7.

(1 x )3 (1 + y ) .

5

(ii) Find the coefficient of xy 3 in the expansion of

(1 x )4 (1 + y ) .

5

d ) (c d ) .

14

(

(ii) Find the coefficient of a b15 in the expansion of

(3a b)(a b)17.

4. (a) (i) Find the first three terms in descending powers of x

of (3x 7 ) ( x 2 2 x ) .

4

of ( x x ) ( x 3) .

5

of ( x 1) ( x + 1) .

4 5

of ( x + 2) (2 x ) .

4 3

6

6. Find the first three non-zero terms of the expansion of

(1 x )10 (1 + x )10 in ascending powers of x . [6 marks]

7. Find the first 4 terms in the expansion of (1 2 + 2 10

)

in ascending powers of x. [6 marks]

8. Given that (1 x ) (1 + mx ) 1

3 4

93x + + m x , find

2 4 7

9. Given that (1 ) (1 + ) 1 + 13x 7744 x 2 + + k 4 x n+ 4 , find

4 n

8D Binomial expansions as

approximations

One of the main applications of the binomial expansion is in

Calculators and calculating approximate values of powers and roots. When x is

computers use a very small value, high powers of x become increasingly small,

binomial expansions and so they have little impact on the value of the total sum, even

to work out powers when multiplied by the binomial coefficient. For this reason,

and roots. using only the first few terms gives a good approximation to the

total value of the sum.

will be extremely small.

Worked example 8.9

5

Write down each term in the form The first 3 terms are

n 1( 2) + 5 ( 2) ( x ) + 10 ( 2) ( x )

5 4 1 3 2

r

(a ) (b)r

with a , b = x , n = 5

terms and multiply through

appropriate value of x and x 1 = 0 01 80x

80 x 1 = 0 8

thus the value of each term x 2 = 0.0001 80 x 2 = 0.008

Exercise 8D

1. (a) Find the first 4 terms in the expansion of (1 5x ) .

7

your answer correct to 6 significant figures.

6

leaving your answer correct to 6 significant figures.

4

significant figure approximation for 2.9954 . [7 marks]

(b) Using a suitable value of x, use your answer to find a 6

significant figure approximation for 2.0057. [7 marks]

4. (a) Find the first 3 terms in the expansion of (2 3x ) .

7

(i) 2 37 (ii) 2 037

(c) Which of your answers in part (b) provides a more

accurate approximation? Justify your answer. [6 marks]

Summary

A binomial expression is one that contains two terms, e.g., a + b.

The binomial coefficient, n , is the coefficient of the term containing a br in the expansion

r

of (a b ) .

n

n

(a b)n = an + 1 a b + ++ r a br + + bn

n n

The coefficient of individual terms of a binomial expansion can be found by considering the

powers of the algebraic components and using the formula for the rth term:

n n r r

(a ) (b)

r

n n!

By reversing this process and using the polynomial form of r , you can also find

r !(n r )!

the value of n if you have a term of the binomial expansion.

Approximations for powers and roots can be made using the first few terms of a binomial

expansion (a bx ) , valid when bx is very much less than one, meaning that terms with higher

n

Introductory problem revisited

Without using a calculator, find the value of (1.002)10 correct to 8 decimal places.

(1 + 2x)10 with x = 0.001.

To ensure accuracy to 8 decimal places, we need to include terms at least to x3, but can safely

disregard terms in x4 and greater powers, since the magnitudes of the coefficients mean these

are too small to affect the first 8 decimal places.

Write down each term in the form The first 4 terms are

n 1( 1) + 10 ( 1) ( 2 x ) + 45 ( 1) ( 2 x ) + 120 (1) ( 2 x )

10 9 1 8 2 7 3

r (a ) (b )

r

with a , b = 2x , n = 10

Apply the powers to the bracketed The first 4 terms are

terms and multiply through 1 20 180 x 2 + 960 x 3

appropriate value of x and thus x 1 = 0.001 20 x 1 = 0 02

the value of each term x 2 = 0.000 001 180 2

0.000 18

x 3 = 0.000 000 001 960 3

0.000 000 96

Hence 1.002

From calculator, 1.002

So approximation error is 3.30 10 9 0.000 000 33%.

Mixed examination practice 8

Short questions

1. Find the coefficient of x5 in the expansion of (2 x ) .

12

[5 marks]

2. a = 2 2 . Using the binomial theorem or otherwise, express a in the 5

form m + n 2 . [5 marks]

3. (a) Find the expansion of (2 + x)5, giving your answer in ascending

powers of x.

(b) By letting x = 0.01 or otherwise, find the exact value of 2.015. [7 marks]

( IB Organization 2000)

3 5

4

2 2

5. Fully expand and simplify x . [6 marks]

x 7

6. The coefficient of x in the expansion of x + 2 is . Find the possible

1 7

ax 3

values of a. [3 marks]

( IB Organization 2004)

values of m and n. [8 marks]

Long questions

1. (a) Sketch the graph of ( x + 2) . 3

3

(d) Solve the equation x 3 6 x 2 12 x + 16

16 0. [12 marks]

2. f ( x ) = (1 + x ) and g ( x ) = (2 + x ) .

5 4

(a) Write down the vertical asymptote and axes intercepts of the

f (x)

graph y = .

g (x)

(b) Write down binomial expansions for f x) x and g (x ).

f (x) ax 3 + 50 x 2 + 85x + 49

(c) (i) Show that =x k+ , where k and a

g (x ) g (x )

are constants to be found.

f (x)

(ii) Hence explain why the graph of y = approaches a straight

g (x)

line when x is large, and write down the equation of this straight line.

f (x)

(d) Sketch the curve y = for 10 x 10 . [12 marks]

g (x)

( )

3

3. (a) Write 1 2 in the form p + q 2 where p q Z .

( )

n

(b) Write down the general term in the binomial expansion of 1 2 .

( ) ( )

n n

(c) Hence show that 1 2 + 1 2 is always an integer.

( )

n

(d) What is the smallest value of n such that 1 2 is within 109 of a

whole number? [12 marks]

n

an x r + x r +1 xx r + 2 + + x n

r +1

(a) Show that the ratio of is a.

n r

(b) If a = 1 show that the expansion will contain two consecutive terms

with the same coefficient as long as n is odd.

(c) Using the result of part (a) deduce an expression for

Prove that there are no values for a such that in the expansion of (a + x ) ,

n

(d)

n N, three consecutive terms have the same coefficient. [16 marks]

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