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Solving Logarithmic Equations

Use technology to solve equations with logs

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Practice Solving Logarithmic Equations
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Solving Logarithmic Equations

"I'm thinking of another number," you tell your best friend. "The number I'm thinking of satisfies the equation log10x2logx=3 ." What number are you thinking of?


A logarithmic equation has the variable within the log. To solve a logarithmic equation, you will need to use the inverse property, blogbx=x , to cancel out the log.

Example A

Solve log2(x+5)=9 .

Solution: There are two different ways to solve this equation. The first is to use the definition of a logarithm.


The second way to solve this equation is to put everything into the exponent of a 2, and then use the inverse property.


Make sure to check your answers for logarithmic equations. There can be times when you get an extraneous solution. log2(507+5)=9log2512=9

Example B

Solve 3ln(x)5=10 .

Solution: First, add 5 to both sides and then divide by 3 to isolate the natural log.


Recall that the inverse of the natural log is the natural number. Therefore, everything needs to be put into the exponent of e in order to get rid of the log.


Checking the answer, we have 3ln((e5))5=103lne55=10355=10

Example C

Solve log5x+log(x1)=2

Solution: Condense the left-hand side using the Product Property.


Now, put everything in the exponent of 10 and solve for x .


Now, check both answers.

log5(5)+log(51)log25+log4log100=2log5(4)+log((4)1)=2=2 log(20)+log(5)=2=2

-4 is an extraneous solution. In the step log(20)+log(5)=2 , we cannot take the log of a negative number, therefore -4 is not a solution. 5 is the only solution.

Intro Problem Revisit We can rewrite log10x2logx=3 as log10x2x=3 and solve for x .


Therefore, the number you are thinking of is 100.

Guided Practice

Solve the following logarithmic equations.

1. 9+2log3x=23

2. ln(x1)ln(x+1)=8

3. 12log5(2x+5)=5


1. Isolate the log and put everything in the exponent of 3.


2. Condense the left-hand side using the Quotient Rule and put everything in the exponent of e .


Checking our answer, we get ln(2.851)ln(2.85+1)=8 , which does not work because the first natural log is of a negative number. Therefore, there is no solution for this equation.

3. Multiply both sides by 2 and put everything in the exponent of a 5.


Explore More

Use properties of logarithms and a calculator to solve the following equations for x . Round answers to three decimal places and check for extraneous solutions.

  1. log2x=15
  2. log12x=2.5
  3. log9(x5)=2
  4. log7(2x+3)=3
  5. 8ln(3x)=5
  6. 4log33xlog3x=5
  7. log(x+5)+logx=log14
  8. 2lnxlnx=0
  9. 3log3(x5)=3
  10. 23log3x=2
  11. 5logx23log1x=log8
  12. 2lnxe+2lnx=10
  13. 2log6x+1=log6(5x+4)
  14. 2log12x+2=log12(x+10)
  15. 3log23xlog2327=log238

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