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  • Chapter 1Linear Equations

    Chapter Overview

    In this chapter, you will learn to:

    1. Graph a linear equation.

    2. Find the slope of a line.

    3. Determine an equation of a line.

    4. Solve linear systems.

    5. Do application problems using linear equations.

    Graphing a Linear Equation

    Equations whose graphs are straight lines are called linear equations. The following are some examples of linear equations:

    2x−3y=6, 3x=4y−7, y=2x−5, 2y=3, and x−2=0.

    A line is completely determined by two points, therefore, to graph a linear equation, we need to find the coordinates of two points. This can be accomplished by choosing an arbitrary value for x or y and then solving for the other variable.

    Example 1.1

    Graph the line: y=3x+2

    We need to find the coordinates of at least two points.

    We arbitrarily choose x=−1, x=0, and x=1.

    If x=−1, then y=3(−1)+2 or −1. Therefore, (–1, –1) is a point on this line.

    If x=0, then y=3(0)+2 or y=2. Hence the point (0, 2).

    If x=1, then y=5, and we get the point (1, 5). Below, the results are summarized, and the line is graphed.

    Table 1.1.
    X -101
    Y -125

    graphics1.png
    Figure 1.0

    Example 1.2

    Graph the line: 2x+y=4

    Again, we need to find coordinates of at least two points.

    We arbitrarily choose x=−1, x=0 and y=2.

    If x=−1, then 2(−1)+y=4 which results in y=6. Therefore, (–1, 6) is a point on this line.

    If x=0, then 2(0)+y=4, which results in y=4. Hence the point (0, 4).

    If y=2, then 2x+2=4, which yields x=1, and gives the point (1, 2). The table below shows the points, and the line is graphed.

    Table 1.2.
    x -101
    y 642
    Picture 25.png
    Figure 1.0

    The points at which a line crosses the coordinate axes are called the intercepts. When graphing a line, intercepts are preferred because they are easy to find. In order to find the x-intercept, we let y=0, and to find the y-intercept, we let x=0.

    Example 1.3

    Find the intercepts of the line: 2x−3y=6, and graph.

    To find the x-intercept, we let y=0 in our equation, and solve for x.

    (1.1)2x−3(0)=6
    (1.2)2x−0=6
    (1.3)2x=6
    (1.4)x=3

    Therefore, the x-intercept is 3.

    Similarly by letting x=0, we obtain the y-intercept which is -2.

    If the x-intercept is 3, and the y-intercept is –2, then the corresponding points are (3, 0) and (0, –2), respectively.

    Picture 24.png
    Figure 1.0

    In higher math, equations of lines are sometimes written in parametric form. For example, x=3+2t, y=1+t. The letter t is called the parameter or the dummy variable. Parametric lines can be graphed by finding values for x and y by substituting numerical values for t.

    Example 1.4

    Graph the line given by the parametric equations: x=3+2t, y=1+t

    Let t=0, 1 and 2, and then for each value of t find the corresponding values for x and y.

    The results are given in the table below.

    Table 1.3.
    t 012
    x 357
    y 123

    Picture 23.png
    Figure 1.0

    Horizontal and Vertical Lines

    When an equation of a line has only one variable, the resulting graph is a horizontal or a vertical line.

    The graph of the line x=a, where a is a constant, is a vertical line that passes through the point ( a, 0). Every point on this line has the x-coordinate a, regardless of the y-coordinate.

    The graph of the line y=b, where b is a constant, is a horizontal line that passes through the point (0, b). Every point on this line has the y-coordinate b, regardless of the x-coordinate.

    Example 1.5

    Graph the lines: x=−2 , and y=3.

    The graph of the line x=−2 is a vertical line that has the x-coordinate –2 no matter what the y-coordinate is. Therefore, the graph is a vertical line passing through (–2, 0).

    The graph of the line y=3, is a horizontal line that has the y-coordinate 3 regardless of what the x-coordinate is. Therefore, the graph is a horizontal line that passes through (0, 3).

    Picture 22.png
    Figure 1.0

    Most students feel that the coordinates of points must always be integers. This is not true, and in real life situations, not always possible. Do not be intimidated if your points include numbers that are fractions or decimals.

    Slope of a Line

    Section Overview

    In this section, you will learn to:

    1. Find the slope of a line if two points are given.

    2. Graph the line if a point and the slope are given.

    3. Find the slope of the line that is written in the form _autogen-svg2png-0074.png.

    4. Find the slope of the line that is written in the form _autogen-svg2png-0075.png.

    In the last section, we learned to graph a line by choosing two points on the line. A graph of a line can also be determined if one point and the "steepness" of the line is known. The precise number that refers to the steepness or inclination of a line is called the slope of the line.

    From previous math courses, many of you remember slope as the "rise over run," or "the vertical change over the horizontal change" and have often seen it expressed as:

    (1.5)
    _autogen-svg2png-0076.png

    We give a precise definition.

    Definition:

    If ( x1, y1) and ( x2, y2) are two different points on a line, then the slope of the line is

    _autogen-svg2png-0081.png

    Example 1.6

    Find the slope of the line that passes through the points (-2, 3) and (4, -1), and graph the line.

    Let (x1,y1)=(−2,3) and (x2,y2)=(4,−1) then the slope

    (1.6)
    _autogen-svg2png-0084.png

    Picture 21.png
    Figure 1.0

    To give the reader a better understanding, both the vertical change, –4, and the horizontal change, 6, are shown in the above figure.

    When two points are given, it does not matter which point is denoted as (x1,y1) and which (x2,y2). The value for the slope will be the same. For example, if we choose (x1,y2)=(4,−1) and (x2,y2)=(−2,3), we will get the same value for the slope as we obtained earlier. The steps involved are as follows.

    (1.7)
    _autogen-svg2png-0089.png

    The student should further observe that if a line rises when going from left to right, then it has a positive slope; and if it falls going from left to right, it has a negative slope.

    Example 1.7

    Find the slope of the line that passes through the points (2, 3) and (2, -1), and graph.

    Let (x1,y1)=(2,3) and (x2,y2)=(2,−1) then the slope

    (1.8)
    _autogen-svg2png-0092.png

    Picture 20.png
    Figure 1.0

    The slope of a vertical line is undefined.

    Example 1.8

    Graph the line that passes through the point (1, 2) and has slope _autogen-svg2png-0093.png .

    Slope equals _autogen-svg2png-0094.png. The fact that the slope is _autogen-svg2png-0095.png , means that for every rise of –3 units (fall of 3 units) there is a run of 4. So if from the given point (1, 2) we go down 3 units and go right 4 units, we reach the point (5, –1). The following graph is obtained by connecting these two points.

    Picture 19.png
    Figure 1.0

    Alternatively, since _autogen-svg2png-0096.png represents the same number, the line can be drawn by starting at the point (1,2) and choosing a rise of 3 units followed by a run of –4 units. So from the point (1, 2), we go up 3 units, and to the left 4, thus reaching the point (–3, 5) which is also on the same line. See figure below.

    Picture 18.png
    Figure 1.0

    Example 1.9

    Find the slope of the line 2x+3y=6.

    In order to find the slope of this line, we will choose any two points on this line.

    Again, the selection of x and y intercepts seems to be a good choice. The x-intercept is (3, 0), and the y-intercept is (0, 2). Therefore, the slope is

    (1.9)
    _autogen-svg2png-0098.png

    The graph below shows the line and the intercepts: x and y.

    Picture 17.png
    Figure 1.0

    Example 1.10

    Find the slope of the line y=3x+2.

    We again find two points on the line. Say (0, 2) and (1, 5).

    Therefore, the slope is _autogen-svg2png-0102.png.

    Look at the slopes and the y-intercepts of the following lines.

    Table 1.4.
    The lineSlopey-intercept
    y = 3x + 2 32
    y = − 2x + 5 -25
    y = 3 / 2x − 4 3/2-4

    It is no coincidence that when an equation of the line is solved for y, the coefficient of the x term represents the slope, and the constant term represents the y-intercept.

    In other words, for the line _autogen-svg2png-0108.png, m is the slope, and b is the y-intercept.

    Example 1.11

    Determine the slope and y-intercept of the line 2x+3y=6.

    We solve for y.

    (1.10)2x+3y=6
    (1.11)3y=−2x+6
    (1.12)y=−2/3x+2

    The slope = the coefficient of the   x   term=−2/3

    The y-intercept=the constant term=2.

    Determining the Equation of a Line

    Section Overview

    In this section, you will learn to:

    1. Find an equation of a line if a point and the slope are given.

    2. Find an equation of a line if two points are given.

    So far, we were given an equation of a line and were asked to give information about it. For example, we were asked to find points on it, find its slope and even find intercepts. Now we are going to reverse the process. That is, we will be given either two points, or a point and the slope of a line, and we will be asked to find its equation.

    An equation of a line can be written in two forms, the slope-intercept form or the standard form.

    The Slope-Intercept Form of a Line: _autogen-svg2png-0118.png

    A line is completely determined by two points, or a point and slope. So it makes sense to ask to find the equation of a line if one of these two situations is given.

    Example 1.12

    Find an equation of a line whose slope is 5, and y-intercept is 3.

    In the last section we learned that the equation of a line whose slope = m and y-intercept = b is _autogen-svg2png-0119.png.

    Since m=5, and b=3, the equation is y=5x+3.

    Example 1.13

    Find the equation of the line that passes through the point (2, 7) and has slope 3.

    Since m=3, the partial equation is y=3x+b.

    Now b can be determined by substituting the point (2, 7) in the equation y=3x+b.

    (1.13)7=3(2)+b
    (1.14)b=1

    Therefore, the equation is y=3x+1.

    Example 1.14

    Find an equation of the line that passes through the points (–1, 2), and (1, 8).

    (1.15)
    _autogen-svg2png-0130.png

    So the partial equation is y=3x+b

    Now we can use either of the two points (–1, 2) or (1, 8), to determine b.

    Substituting (–1, 2) gives

    (1.16)2=3(−1)+b
    (1.17)5=b

    So the equation is y=3x+5.

    Example 1.15

    Find an equation of the line that has x-intercept 3, and y-intercept 4.

    x-intercept = 3, and y-intercept = 4 correspond to the points (3, 0), and (0, 4), respectively.

    (1.18)
    _autogen-svg2png-0136.png

    So the partial equation for the line is y=−4/3x+b

    Substituting (0, 4) gives

    (1.19)4=−4/3(0)+b
    (1.20)4=b

    Therefore, the equation is y=−4/3x+4.

    The Standard form of a Line: _autogen-svg2png-0141.png

    Another useful form of the equation of a line is the Standard form.

    Let L be a line with slope m, and containing a point (x1,y1). If (x,y) is any other point on the line L, then by the definition of a slope, we get

    (1.21)
    _autogen-svg2png-0147.png
    (1.22) yy 1 = m ( xx 1 )

    The last result is referred to as the point-slope form or point-slope formula. If we simplify this formula, we get the equation of the line in the standard form, _autogen-svg2png-0149.png.

    Example 1.16

    Using the point-slope formula, find the standard form of an equation of the line that passes through the point (2, 3) and has slope –3/5.

    Substituting the point (2, 3) and m=−3/5 in the point-slope formula, we get

    (1.23)y−3=−3/5(x−2)

    Multiplying both sides by 5 gives us

    (1.24)5(y−3)=−3/5(x−2)
    (1.25)5y−15=−3x+6
    (1.26)3x+5y=21
    Example 1.17

    Find the standard form of the line that passes through the points (1, -2), and (4, 0).

    (1.27)
    _autogen-svg2png-0155.png

    The point-slope form is

    (1.28)y−(−2)=2/3(x−1)

    Multiplying both sides by 3 gives us

    (1.29)3(y+2)=2(x−1)
    (1.30)3y+6=2x−2
    (1.31)−2x+3y=−8
    (1.32)2x−3y=8

    We should always be able to convert from one form of an equation to another. That is, if we are given a line in the slope-intercept form, we should be able to express it in the standard form, and vice versa.

    Example 1.18

    Write the equation y=−2/3x+3 in the standard form.

    Multiplying both sides of the equation by 3, we get

    (1.33)3y=−2x+9
    (1.34)2x+3y=9
    Example 1.19

    Write the equation 3x−4y=10 in the slope-intercept form.

    Solving for y, we get

    (1.35)−4y=−3x+10
    (1.36)y=3/4x−5/2

    Finally, we learn a very quick and easy way to write an equation of a line in the standard form. But first we must learn to find the slope of a line in the standard form by inspection.

    By solving for y, it can easily be shown that the slope of the line _autogen-svg2png-0169.png is A/B. The reader should verify.

    Example 1.20

    Find the slope of the following lines, by inspection.

    1. 3x−5y=10

    2. 2x+7y=20

    3. 4x−3y=8

    1. A=3, B=−5, therefore, _autogen-svg2png-0176.png

    2. A=2, B=7, therefore, _autogen-svg2png-0179.png

    3. _autogen-svg2png-0180.png

    Now that we know how to find the slope of a line in the standard form by inspection, our job in finding the equation of a line is going to be very easy.

    Example 1.21

    Find an equation of the line that passes through (2, 3) and has slope −4/5.

    Since the slope of the line is −4/5, we know that the left side of the equation is 4x+5y, and the partial equation is going to be

    (1.37)4x+5y=c

    Of course, c can easily be found by substituting for x and y.

    (1.38)4(2)+5(3)=c
    (1.39)23=c

    The desired equation is

    (1.40)4x+5y=23.

    If you use this method often enough, you can do these problems very quickly.

    Applications

    Now that we have learned to determine equations of lines, we get to apply these ideas in real-life equations.

    Example 1.22

    A taxi service charges $0.50 per mile plus a $5 flat fee. What will be the cost of traveling 20 miles? What will be cost of traveling x miles?

    (1.41)The cost of traveling 20 miles=y=(.50)(20)+5=10+5=15
    (1.42)The cost of traveling   x   miles=y=(.50)(x)+5=.50x+5

    In this problem, $0.50 per mile is referred to as the variable cost, and the flat charge $5 as the fixed cost. Now if we look at our cost equation y=.50x+5, we can see that the variable cost corresponds to the slope and the fixed cost to the y-intercept.

    Example 1.23

    The variable cost to manufacture a product is $10 and the fixed cost $2500. If x represents the number of items manufactured and y the total cost, write the cost function.

    The fact that the variable cost represents the slope and the fixed cost represents the y-intercept, makes m=10 and y=2500.

    Therefore, the cost equation is y=10x+2500.

    Example 1.24

    It costs $750 to manufacture 25 items, and $1000 to manufacture 50 items. Assuming a linear relationship holds, find the cost equation, and use this function to predict the cost of 100 items.

    We let x=the number of items manufactured, and let y=the cost.

    Solving this problem is equivalent to finding an equation of a line that passes through the points (25, 750) and (50, 1000).

    _autogen-svg2png-0202.png

    Therefore, the partial equation is y=10x+b

    By substituting one of the points in the equation, we get b=500

    Therefore, the cost equation is y=10x+500

    Now to find the cost of 100 items, we substitute x=100 in the equation y=10x+500

    So the cost=y=10(100)+500=1500

    Example 1.25

    The freezing temperature of water in Celsius is 0 degrees and in Fahrenheit 32 degrees. And the boiling temperatures of water in Celsius, and Fahrenheit are 100 degrees, and 212 degrees, respectively. Write a conversion equation from Celsius to Fahrenheit and use this equation to convert 30 degrees Celsius into Fahrenheit.

    Let us look at what is given.

    Table 1.5.
    CentigradeFahrenheit
    032
    100212

    Again, solving this problem is equivalent to finding an equation of a line that passes through the points (0, 32) and (100, 212).

    Since we are finding a linear relationship, we are looking for an equation _autogen-svg2png-0209.png, or in this case _autogen-svg2png-0210.png, where x or C represent the temperature in Celsius, and y or F the temperature in Fahrenheit.

    (1.43)
    _autogen-svg2png-0215.png

    The equation is _autogen-svg2png-0216.png

    Substituting the point (0, 32), we get

    (1.44)
    _autogen-svg2png-0217.png

    Now to convert 30 degrees Celsius into Fahrenheit, we substitute C=30 in the equation

    (1.45)
    _autogen-svg2png-0219.png
    (1.46)
    _autogen-svg2png-0220.png
    Example 1.26

    The population of Canada in the year 1970 was 18 million, and in 1986 it was 26 million. Assuming the population growth is linear, and x represents the year and y the population, write the function that gives a relationship between the time and the population. Use this equation to predict the population of Canada in 2010.

    The problem can be made easier by using 1970 as the base year, that is, we choose the year 1970 as the year zero. This will mean that the year 1986 will correspond to year 16, and the year 2010 as the year 40.

    Now we look at the information we have.

    Solving this problem is equivalent to finding an equation of a line that passes through the points (0, 18) and (16, 26).

    (1.47)
    _autogen-svg2png-0221.png

    The equation is _autogen-svg2png-0222.png

    Substituting the point (0, 18), we get

    (1.48)
    _autogen-svg2png-0223.png

    Now to find the population in the year 2010, we let x=40 in the equation

    (1.49)
    _autogen-svg2png-0225.png
    (1.50)
    _autogen-svg2png-0226.png

    So the population of Canada in the year 2010 will be 38 million.

    Table 1.6.
    YearPopulation
    0 (1970)18 million
    16 (1986)26 million

    More Applications

    Section Overview

    In this section, you will learn to:

    1. Solve a linear system in two variables.

    2. Find the equilibrium point when a demand and a supply equation are given.

    3. Find the break-even point when the revenue and the cost functions are given.

    In this section, we will do application problems that involve the intersection of lines. Therefore, before we proceed any further, we will first learn how to find the intersection of two lines.

    Example 1.27

    Find the intersection of the line y=3x−1 and the line y=−x+7.

    We graph both lines on the same axes, as shown below, and read the solution (2, 5).

    Picture 16.png
    Figure 1.0

    Finding an intersection of two lines graphically is not always easy or practical; therefore, we will now learn to solve these problems algebraically.

    At the point where two lines intersect, the x and y values for both lines are the same. So in order to find the intersection, we either let the x-values or the y-values equal.

    If we were to solve the above example algebraically, it will be easier to let the y-values equal. Since y=3x−1 for the first line, and y=−x+7 for the second line, by letting the y-values equal, we get

    (1.51)
    _autogen-svg2png-0231.png

    By substituting x = 2 in any of the two equations, we obtain y = 5 .

    Hence, the solution (2, 5).

    One common algebraic method used in solving systems of equations is called the elimination method. The object of this method is to eliminate one of the two variables by adding the left and right sides of the equations together. Once one variable is eliminated, we get an equation that has only one variable for which it can be solved. Finally, by substituting the value of the variable that has been found in one of the original equations, we get the value of the other variable. The method is demonstrated in the example below.

    Example 1.28

    Find the intersection of the lines 2x+y=7 and 3x−y=3 by the elimination method.

    We add the left and right sides of the two equations.

    (1.52)
    _autogen-svg2png-0236.png
    (1.53)x=2

    Now we substitute x=2 in any of the two equations and solve for y.

    (1.54)2(2)+y=7
    (1.55)y=3

    Therefore, the solution is (2, 3).

    Example 1.29

    Solve the system of equations x+2y=3 and 2x+3y=4 by the elimination method.

    If we add the two equations, none of the variables are eliminated. But the variable x can be eliminated by multiplying the first equation by –2, and leaving the second equation unchanged.

    (1.56)
    _autogen-svg2png-0245.png
    (1.57)y=2

    Substituting y=2 in x+2y=3, we get

    (1.58)x+2(2)=3
    (1.59)x=−1

    Therefore, the solution is (–1, 2).

    Example 1.30

    Solve the system of equations 3x−4y=5 and 4x−5y=6.

    This time, we multiply the first equation by – 4 and the second by 3 before adding. (The choice of numbers is not unique.)

    (1.60)
    _autogen-svg2png-0253.png

    By substituting y=−2 in any one of the equations, we get x=−1. Hence the solution (–1, –2).

    Supply, Demand and the Equilibrium Market Price

    In a free market economy the supply curve for a commodity is the number of items of a product that can be made available at different prices, and the demand curve is the number of items the consumer will buy at different prices. As the price of a product increases, its demand decreases and supply increases. On the other hand, as the price decreases the demand increases and supply decreases. The equilibrium price is reached when the demand equals the supply.

    Example 1.31

    The supply curve for a product is y=1.5x+10 and the demand curve for the same product is y=−2.5x+34, where x is the price and y the number of items produced. Find the following.

    1. How many items will be supplied at a price of $10?

    2. How many items will be demanded at a price of $10?

    3. Determine the equilibrium price.

    4. How many items will be produced at the equilibrium price?

    1. We substitute x=10 in the supply equation, y=1.5x+10, and the answer is y=25.

    2. We substitute x=10 in the demand equation, y=−2.5x+34, and the answer is y=9.

    3. By letting the supply equal the demand, we get

      (1.61)1.5x+10=−2.5x+34
      (1.62)4x=24
      (1.63)x=6
    4. We substitute x=6 in either the supply or the demand equation and we get y=19.

      The graph below shows the intersection of the supply and the demand functions and their point of intersection, (6, 19).

      Picture 15.png
      Figure 1.0

    Break-Even Point

    In a business, the profit is generated by selling products. If a company sells x number of items at a price P, then the revenue R is P times x , i.e., R=Px. The production costs are the sum of the variable costs and the fixed costs, and are often written as _autogen-svg2png-0276.png, where x is the number of items manufactured.

    A company makes a profit if the revenue is greater than the cost, and it shows a loss if the cost is greater than the revenue. The point on the graph where the revenue equals the cost is called the Break-even point.

    Example 1.32

    If the revenue function of a product is R=5x and the cost function is y=3x+12, find the following.

    1. If 4 items are produced, what will the revenue be?

    2. What is the cost of producing 4 items?

    3. How many items should be produced to break-even?

    4. What will be the revenue and the cost at the break-even point?

    1. We substitute x=4 in the revenue equation R=5x, and the answer is R=20.

    2. We substitute x=4 in the cost equation C=3x+12, and the answer is C=24.

    3. By letting the revenue equal the cost, we get

      (1.64)5x=3x+12
      (1.65)x=6
    4. We substitute x=6 in either the revenue or the cost equation, and we get R=C=30.

      The graph below shows the intersection of the revenue and the cost functions and their point of intersection, (6, 30).

      Picture 14.png
      Figure 1.0

    Glossary

    Definition:

    If ( simplemathmathml-miitalicsx112ptx8pt1, simplemathmathml-miitalicsy112pty8pt1) and ( simplemathmathml-miitalicsx212ptx8pt2, simplemathmathml-miitalicsy212pty8pt2) are two different points on a line, then the slope of the line is

    12pt Slope false= m false= y 8pt 2 false− y 8pt 1 x 8pt 2 false− x 8pt 1

    Solutions