A radical is a root of a number or expression, such as . Definition: if and only if . The word radical can also be used to indicate the symbol indicating root, such as . When used as an adjective, the word radical means 'having to do with the taking of a root'. For example, a radical equation is an equation containing a variable inside a radical, or the root of a variable.
A radical with no number to the left is used to represent a square root. For example, means the square root of 7. If an integer appears to the left of the radical sign, it means an nth root. The expression means the cube root of 4. The expression means the 4th root of 7.
A radicand is the number or expression inside a radical: . For example: in , 3 is the radicand; in , x + 2 is the radicand; and in , t is the radicand.
A radical is the same as a exponent of a unit fraction. For example, . In general, . To convert a radical to an exponent, make the radicand the base, and the number to the left of the radical the denominator of the unit fraction in the exponent.
A radical can be simplified if it contains a factor raised to the power of the radical. For example, Since , and , then . The steps to simplify a radical are:
|Equation to simplify||Prime factorization||Divided into groups||Groups pulled out|
|. Note that there are no groups of 3.||. This radical can not be simplified.|
|Table 2: Examples of simplifying radicals|
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