9.6: Factoring Special Products
When we learned how to multiply binomials, we talked about two special products: the Sum and Difference Formula and the Square of a Binomial Formula. In this lesson, we will learn how to recognize and factor these special products.
Factoring the Difference of Two Squares
We use the Sum and Difference Formula to factor a difference of two squares. A difference of two squares can be a quadratic polynomial in this form:
In these problems, the key is figuring out what the
Example 1: Factor the difference of squares.
(a)
(b)
Solution:
(a) Rewrite as
We substitute the values of
The answer is
(b) Rewrite as
Factoring Perfect Square Trinomials
A perfect square trinomial has the form
The factored form of a perfect square trinomial has the form
In these problems, the key is figuring out what the
Example:
Solution: Check that the first term and the last term are perfect squares.
Check that the middle term is twice the product of the square roots of the first and the last terms. This is true also since we can rewrite them.
This means we can factor
Example 2: Factor
Solution: Rewrite
We notice that this is a perfect square trinomial and we can factor it as:
Solving Polynomial Equations Involving Special Products
We have learned how to factor quadratic polynomials that are helpful in solving polynomial equations like
Step 1: Rewrite the equation in standard form such that: Polynomial expression = 0.
Step 2: Factor the polynomial completely.
Step 3: Use the Zero Product Property to set each factor equal to zero.
Step 4: Solve each equation from step 3.
Step 5: Check your answers by substituting your solutions into the original equation.
Example 3: Solve the following polynomial equations.
Solution: No need to rewrite because it is already in the correct form.
Factor: We write 6 as a product of the following numbers:
Set each factor equal to zero:
Solve:
Check: Substitute each solution back into the original equation.
Practice Set
Sample explanations for some of the practice exercises below are available by viewing the following video. Note that there is not always a match between the number of the practice exercise in the video and the number of the practice exercise listed in the following exercise set. However, the practice exercise is the same in both.
CK12 Basic Algebra: Factoring Special Products (10:08)
Factor the following perfect square trinomials.

x2+8x+16 
x2−18x+81 
−x2+24x−144 
x2+14x+49 
4x2−4x+1 
25x2+60x+36 
4x2−12xy+9y2 
x4+22x2+121
Factor the following difference of squares.

x2−4 
x2−36 
−x2+100 
x2−400 
9x2−4 
25x2−49 
−36x2+25 
16x2−81y2
Solve the following quadratic equations using factoring.
 \begin{align*}x^211x+30=0\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}x^2+4x=21\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}x^2+49=14x\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}x^264=0\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}x^224x+144=0\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}4x^225=0\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}x^2+26x=169\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}x^216x60=0\end{align*}
Mixed Review
 Find the value for \begin{align*}k\end{align*} that creates an infinite number of solutions to the system \begin{align*}\begin{cases} 3x+7y=1\\ kx14y=2 \end{cases}\end{align*}.
 A restaurant has two kinds of rice, three choices of mein, and four kinds of sauce. How many plate combinations can be created if you choose one of each?
 Graph \begin{align*}y5= \frac{1}{3}(x+4)\end{align*}. Identify its slope.
 $600 was deposited into an account earning 8% interest compounded annually.
 Write the exponential model to represent this situation.
 How much money will be in the account after six years?
 Divide \begin{align*}4 \frac{8}{9} \div 3\frac{1}{5}\end{align*}.
 Identify an integer than is even and not a natural number.