Application of Distributive Property

What is the Distributive Property?

The distributive property (aka distributive law) is a property of real numbers which says that the product of a number say a and the sum (or difference) of two numbers say b and c, is equal to the sum (or difference) of the product of a and b and a and c. In symbol, we have:

Distributive Law
The Distributive Property of Real Numbers

I’m sure you have used this property to work with numbers. A typical question that involves the distributive property would be: Find the product of x and (x-7). Using the distributive property, you will get x(x-7)=x^2 - 7x. This means that if x = 10, one way to calculate the product of 10 and (10-7) is 10×3 or 10×10-70. Both of these will give you 30. This property is true for all real numbers.

Here’s a more interesting problem where you can apply the distributive property of real numbers.

Problem

Warning: You do not need your calculator for this.

Distributive Law

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solution

I’m not going to give the solution for each. Instead I’ll use a general form. I say general because it has the same structure as the three problems. The x represents any real numbers.

(1-x)(1+x+x^2+x^3+x^4+x^5)

= 1(1-x)+x(1-x)+x^2(1-x)+x^3(1-x)+x^4(1-x)+x^5(1-x)

= 1-x+x-x^2+x^2-x^3+x^3-x^4+x^4-x^5+x^5-x^6

= 1-x^6

This in fact works for n number of terms. You can try proving the statement below to show that it is true for n terms in any x.

Prove

distribute_terms

 

or

distributive law

 

 

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