The domain of a relation (or of a function) is the set of all inputs
of that relation. For example, the domain of the relation
(0, 1),(1, 2),(1, 3),(4, 6)
is
x=0, 1, 4
.
The domain of the following mapping diagram is
-2, 3, 4, 10
:
Most of the functions we have studied in Algebra I are defined for all real numbers. This domain is denoted . For example, the domain of f (x) = 2x + 5 is , because f (x) is defined for all real numbers x ; that is, we can find f (x) for all real numbers x . The domain of f (x) = x ^{2} - 6 is also , because f (x) is defined for all real numbers x .
Some functions, however, are not defined for all the real numbers, and thus are evaluated over a restricted domain. For example, the domain of f (x) = is , because we cannot take the square root of a negative number. The domain of f (x) = is . The domain of f (x) = is , because we cannot divide by zero.
In general, there are two types of restrictions on domain: restrictions of an
infinite set of numbers, and restrictions of a few points. Square root signs
restrict an infinite set of numbers, because an infinite set of numbers make the
value under the
sign negative. To find the domain of a function with
a square root sign, set the expression under the sign greater than or equal to
zero, and solve for
x
. For example, find the domain of
f (x) = - 11
:
2x + 4 | ≥ | 0 | |
2x | ≥ | -4 | |
x | ≥ | -2 |
Rational expressions, on the other
hand, restrict only a few points, namely those which make the denominator equal
to zero. To find the domain of a function with a rational expression, set the
denominator of the expression not equal to zero and solve for
x
using the zero
product property. For example, find the domain of
f (x) =
:
(x - 9)(2x + 8)(x + 2) | ≠ | 0 | |
x | ≠ | 9, - 4, - 2 |