# 6. Applied Verbal Problems

Mathematics is really about **solving problems**, not just about moving letters and numbers around.

Most real-world problems are stated using **words** and we need to translate them into mathematical statements.

You need to:

**Read**the problem**carefully****Sketch**the situation (a picture is worth a thousand words)**Estimate**the solution where possible- Assign
**letters**to the unknown quantities - Form an
**equation**(or equations) **Solve**the equation**Check**your solution against your estimate and against the original statements- Write a
**sentence**answer (include**units**)

For this section, you will need to know:

We will see how to solve each problem using two methods:

- one variable
- simultaneous equations

You can decide which method you understand best, but if you can follow the simultaneous equations method, it is probably best for future problems.

Good luck!

### Example 1

Water is being drained out of a tank through 2 pipes at the rate of 330L/min. We know that one pipe releases 50L/min more than the other. How much do the 2 pipes drain each?

Solution A: Using one variable:

Solution B: Using 2 variables and simultaneous equations:

### Example 2

Builders constructing roof beams.

A beam is supported by 2 pillars. The downwards force (due to gravity) is equal to the sum of the 2 upwards forces (due to the 2 pillars). Such a system is said to be in **equilibrium**.

The downward force is off-center in this example, so it is not acting in the center of the beam.The downwards force is four times the first upward force, and the second of the two upward forces is `6.4\ "N"` more than the first.

What are the 3 forces? (Assume we are taking the positive magnitude of the forces only.)

#### Vocabulary

Sometimes a question will have some words which you may not know. In this question:

**Pillar: **A support column.

**Equilibrium:** Forces are in "equilibrium" if they cancel each other out and there is no movement in the system.

**Beam:** A beam is normally made of timber, steel or concrete and holds up a roof (or similar).

Solution A: Using one variable:

Solution B: Using 3 variables and simultaneous equations:

#### Reader's Question

A bit confused about the above question, **Dale** wrote:

"How can the the third force and first force be three times the first force? I just don't get it. How can the first force be three times it self when it is equal to its self? It just confused me."

Vial of liquid.

Source: Helena Liu, Flickr

### Example 3

A vial contains 2 g of a drug which is required for two dosages. One of the patients is a small child and the other is a large adult who needs to get 660 mg more of the drug than the child. How much should be administered to each?

(**Vocabulary:** A **vial** is a container for storing liquid).

Solution A: Using one variable:

Solution B: Using 2 variables and simultaneous equations:

### Example 4

The manufacturer of a scooter engine recommends a gasoline-oil fuel mixture ratio of 15 to 1. In a particular garage, we can buy pure gasoline and a gasoline-oil mixture, which is 75% gasoline.

How much gasoline and how much of the gasoline-oil mix do we need to make 8.0 L of fuel for the scooter engine?

Solution A: Using one variable:

Solution B: Using 2 variables and simultaneous equations:

### Online Algebra Solver

This algebra solver can solve a wide range of math problems.

Go to: Online algebra solver

### Algebra Lessons on DVD

Easy to understand algebra lessons on DVD. See samples before you commit.

More info: Algebra videos

### The IntMath Newsletter

Sign up for the free **IntMath Newsletter**. Get math study tips, information, news and updates each fortnight. Join thousands of satisfied students, teachers and parents!