The zero product property, also called zero-product principle, states that for any real numbers a and b, if ab = 0, then either a equals zero, b equals zero, or both a and b equal zero. Since in many cases, there can be more than 2 factors, we can generalize the zero product property as shown below.
Example #1
If 6 × b = 0, then b must be zero since 6 is not equal to zero.
Example #2
If a × 10 = 0, then a must be zero since 10 is not equal to zero.
Example #3:
If a × b × 2 = 0, then we can have any of the following 3 situations:
0 × b × 2 = 0 ( a = 0 )
a × 0 × 2 = 0 ( b = 0 )
0 × 0 × 2 = 0 (a = 0 and b = 0)
The zero product property is often used when solving quadratic equations by factoring.
Example #4
Solve x^{2} + 8x - 20 = 0
x^{2} + 8x - 20 = 0 (Original equation)
(x - 2)(x + 10) = 0 (Factored form)
x - 2 = 0 or x + 10 = 0 (Zero product property)
x = 2 or x = -10
The solutions of the equation are 2 and -10.
Example #5
Using the zero product property, solve the following equation for x. In order to help you focus on learning how to use the zero product property, the factored form of the equation is provided.
40x^{4} - 760x^{2} - 1200x = 0
The factored form of 40x^{4} - 760x^{2} - 1200x is equal to 10x(x + 2)(x - 5)(4x + 12)
10x(x + 2)(x - 5)(4x + 12) = 0
According the zero product property, 10x, (x + 2), (x - 5), and 4x + 12 are all equal to zero.
a. 10x = 0
Since 10 times 0 = 0, x = 0.
b. x + 2 = 0
x + 2 - 2 = 0 - 2
x + 0 = -2
x = -2
c. x - 5 = 0
x - 5 + 5 = 0 + 5
x + 0 = 0 + 5
x = 5
d. 4x + 12 = 0
4x + 12 - 12 = 0 - 12
4x + 0 = -12
4x = -12
4x/4 = -12/4
x = -3
The solutions to the equation 40x^{4} - 760x^{2} - 1200x = 0 are -3, -2, 0, and 5.
Jul 03, 20 09:51 AM
factoring trinomials (ax^2 + bx + c ) when a is equal to 1 is the goal of this lesson.
Basic math formulas
Algebra word problems
New math lessons
Your email is safe with us. We will only use it to inform you about new math lessons.