Asked in Math and ArithmeticAlgebraCalculus
How do you know when an equation has infinitely many solutions?
January 19, 2014 3:05PM
When trying to solve an equation and you end up with the exact same number on both sides , like 10=10 then the equation has infinitely many solutions. If you end up with 2 different number on both side of the equation, like 3=5 then the equation has no solution. If there is a variable on one side and a number on the other, then there is one solution, e.g. x=4.
In the equation 10=10 there is no variable such as x or y that we are trying to find the solution for. The equation x=x might be said to have an infinite number of solutions, because you can choose any value you like for x. More often you would say that "x is indeterminate". So if your equation always turns out to be satisfied for any x you choose, then there is an infinity of solutions and the equation does not represent anything useful.
Or, for example, it may have a result such as "true for all even numbers", and you may not be aware in advance that this might happen. Or another example might be sin(x)=0 which has solutions for all values for those x which are integer multiples of 180 degrees. The only way is to solve the equation and see what appears.