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When Do Linear Equations Have One Solution?

Linear equations are fundamental in mathematics and play a crucial role in various fields such as physics, engineering, and economics. Understanding when a linear equation has one solution is essential in solving problems accurately. In this article, we will explore the conditions under which linear equations have a single solution and provide answers to frequently asked questions.

To begin with, let us define a linear equation. A linear equation is an equation that can be written in the form of:

ax + by + c = 0

where a, b, and c are constants, and x and y are variables.

For a linear equation to have one solution, it needs to meet specific criteria. These conditions can be determined by examining the coefficients of the equation. Let’s discuss the various scenarios in which a linear equation has a unique solution.

1. Non-parallel lines: When two lines intersect at a single point, the system of linear equations representing them will have one solution. This occurs when the slopes of the lines are different. The slope of a line is determined by the coefficient of x. If the slopes are different, the lines will intersect at a specific point, giving us a unique solution.

2. Coincident lines: Coincident lines are lines that lie on top of each other. In this case, the system of linear equations representing them will have infinitely many solutions. The condition for coincident lines is that the slopes of the lines are equal, and the y-intercepts are also equal. Since the lines overlap, any point on the line will satisfy both equations, resulting in infinite solutions.

3. Parallel lines: When two lines never intersect, the system of linear equations representing them has no solution. This occurs when the slopes of the lines are equal, but the y-intercepts are different. Since the lines are parallel, they will never cross paths, resulting in no common solution.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: Can a linear equation have more than one solution?

A1: No, a linear equation can have only one solution, infinitely many solutions, or no solution.

Q2: How can I determine the number of solutions a linear equation has?

A2: To determine the number of solutions, compare the slopes and y-intercepts of the lines. If the slopes are equal and the y-intercepts are equal, the lines are coincident and have infinite solutions. If the slopes are equal but the y-intercepts are different, the lines are parallel and have no solution. If the slopes are different, the lines intersect at a single point, resulting in one solution.

Q3: What is the significance of having one solution in a linear equation?

A3: Having one solution in a linear equation is significant as it provides a unique and concrete answer to a problem. It allows us to pinpoint a specific value for the variables involved, enabling accurate calculations and predictions.

Q4: Can a linear equation have both one solution and no solution?

A4: No, a linear equation can only have one solution or no solution, but not both simultaneously.

Q5: How can I solve a linear equation with one solution?

A5: To solve a linear equation with one solution, rearrange the equation to isolate the variable on one side. Perform the same operation on both sides of the equation to maintain equality. Finally, substitute the value obtained back into the original equation to verify the solution.

In conclusion, linear equations have one solution when the lines intersect at a single point. This occurs when the slopes of the lines are different. On the other hand, linear equations have infinitely many solutions when the lines are coincident, and no solution when the lines are parallel. Understanding these conditions is essential in solving linear equations accurately and efficiently.

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