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I am having a great deal of difficulty with this problem.

An open box is formed by cutting squares out of a piece of cardboard that is 16 ft by 19 ft and folding up the flaps.

a. what size corner squares should be cut to yield a box that has a volume of 175 cubic feet.

So I have this equation

x(16-2x)(19-2x)= 175
multiplied both parenthesis and got


multiplied the entire thing by x


subtract 175


I'm not sure what to do next. I was thinking rational root theorem but I have tried most of the roots and it hasn't worked. I am not sure how to solve something to the third power.


  • Pre-Calc -

    I graphed y=4x^3-70x^2+304x-175. Perhaps that would help. I think there are a couple of solutions.

  • Pre-Calc -

    Is there a mathematical way to solve this without using the graphing calculator?

  • Pre-Calc -

    A graphical solution is already a mathematical solution. In fact, the graphical solution gives three real roots, namely near x=1, x=6 and x=11.
    On the basis that 2*11>16, 11 cannot be retained as a valid solution.
    So the remaining real solutions are around 1 and 6.

    If you are looking for an analytical way to solve the cubic, there is the Nicolo Fontana Tartaglia method which is described in detail in:

    The solution consists of three steps:
    1. Find the depressed equation
    by removing the x² term of the general cubic by substitution, i.e.
    in f(x)=Ax³+bx²+cx+d
    substitute x=y-b/(3a) to give
    f(y)=a*y^3 + (c-(b^2)/(3*a))*y + d-(b*c)/(3*a)+(2*b^3)/(27*a^2)
    Note the absence of the y² term.
    We will denote the depressed equation as

    2. Find s and t such that
    then a real solution of the cubic is
    y=s-t from which x can be found.

    3. Using long division, reduce the cubic to a quadratic and find the two remaining solutions.

    Give it a try and the three (real) roots should be around 1, 6 and 11.

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