# Partial Fraction Decompostion of (x^4 - 1) / (x^3 + x^2 + x)

1. Aug 8, 2013

### WK95

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
Find Partial Fraction Decomposition of
$(x^4 - 1) / (x^3 + x^2 + x)$

2. Relevant equations

3. The attempt at a solution
$(x^4 - 1) / (x^3 + x^2 + x) = (x^4 - 1) / (x)(x^2 + x + 1) = A/x + B/(x^2 + x + 1)$
$(x^4 - 1) = A(x^2 + x + 1) + B(x)$
$(x^4 - 1) = Ax^2 + Ax + A + Bx$
$(x^2 - 1)(x^2 + 1) = Ax^2 + A + Ax + Bx$
$(x^2 - 1)(x^2 + 1) = A(x^2 + 1) + x(A + B)$

2. Aug 8, 2013

### Zondrina

Looks pretty messy. You could try doing a polynomial long division which would get it all over with in one go rather than trying to equate all those coefficients.

3. Aug 8, 2013

### WK95

That would be preferred but I specifically need to approach the problem in this manner as part of teh assignment.

Through long division, I got
$(x-1) + (x-1)/(x^3 + x^2 + x)$

4. Aug 8, 2013

### Zondrina

Alright then. You made a small error jumping to your second equal sign. Remember your numerator is going to look different if you have a quadratic in the denominator.

5. Aug 8, 2013

### WK95

I'm not seeing what you mean.

6. Aug 8, 2013

### Zondrina

If your quotient, lets call it $Q(x)$, contains factors which are irreducible over the given field, then the numerator $N(x)$ of each partial fraction with such a factor $F(x)$ in the denominator must be found as a polynomial with $deg(N) < deg(F)$, rather than as a constant.

The meat of that basically states :

$\frac{x^4-1}{x(x^2 + x + 1)} = \frac{A}{x} + \frac{Bx + C}{x^2 + x + 1}$

In the second partial fraction notice that since $x^2 + x + 1$ is irreducible over $ℝ$, we must find $N(x)$ such that $deg(N) < deg(x^2 + x + 1) = 2$.

In this case that amounts to finding an arbitrary linear polynomial since $deg(Bx + C) = 1 < 2$.

7. Aug 8, 2013

### WK95

What does deg( mean?

8. Aug 8, 2013

### Zondrina

$deg(f(x))$ is used to denote the degree of the polynomial $f(x)$.

$deg(x) = 1$
$deg(x^2) = 2$

9. Aug 8, 2013

### SteamKing

Staff Emeritus
Partial fraction decomposition is recommended when the degree of numerator is less than the degree of the denominator. Using WK95's approach, you would first divide the original polynomials and then use partial fractions on the remainder.

10. Aug 8, 2013

### WK95

$(x-1) + (x-1)/(x^3 + x^2 + x)$

$(x-1)/(x^3 + x^2 + x)=(x-1)/(x)(x^2 + x + 1)$
$(x-1)/(x)(x^2 + x + 1) = A/x + B/(x^2 + x + 1)$
$(x-1) = A(x^2 + x + 1) + B(x)$

$x=0$
$(x-1) = A(x^2 + x + 1) + (Bx + C)(x)$
$A = -1$

And then I'm stuck with finding B since I can't find x for (x^2 + x + 1) = 0

Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
11. Aug 8, 2013

### HallsofIvy

Staff Emeritus
You really need to review "partial fractions". You need
$\frac{x- 1}{x(x^2+ x+ 1)}= \frac{A}{x}+ \frac{Bx+ C}{x^2+ x+ 1}$
That's because there is NO such x!

After multiplying through by $x(x^2+ x+ 1)$ you have
$x- 1= A(x^2+ x+ 1)+ (Bx+ C)x= Ax^2+ Ax+ A+ Bx^2+ Cx= (A+ B)x^2+ (A+ C)x+ A$
For those to be true for all x, you must have A+ B= 0, A+ C= 1, A= -1.

12. Aug 8, 2013

### WK95

Really sorry about that. Is there any particular textbook that you recommend I study from to review this sort of stuff as well as Calc I, II and III.

Thanks a lot. I get it now