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Quick question I'm having trouble with (partial fraction integration)

  1. Jan 13, 2010 #1
    Ok, so why do some answers contain an A/something + (Bx + C)/something and others contain just an A/something + B/something.

    I hope someone knows what I'm talking about!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 14, 2010 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Yes, I know what you're talking about. It depends whether the factors in the denominator are linear factors or irreducible quadratic factors.

    For example, with 3/[(x - 1)(x2 + 1)], the x - 1 factor in the denominator is a linear factor (x is to power 1) and x2 + 1 is an irreducible quadratic. The decomposition would look like this:
    3/[(x - 1)(x2 + 1)] = A/(x - 1) + (Bx + C)/(x2 + 1)

    To reduce 3/[(x - 1)(x - 2)], both factors in the denominator are linear factors, so the decomposition would look like this:
    3/[(x - 1)(x - 2)] = A/(x - 1) + B/(x - 2)

    If you have repeated linear factors, such as 5/[(x - 1)2, things are a little different and the decomposition would be this:
    5/[(x - 1)2 = A/(x - 1) + B/(x - 1)2

    Hope that helps.
  4. Jan 14, 2010 #3
    Thank's Mark, that makes complete sense. I was confused when the seemingly random x would tag onto an A or B term and i had no idea why. Thanks again for clarifying.
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