Posted by **cassie** on Monday, January 28, 2013 at 3:49am.

let f(x)=x^2 -(a^2 + 2a)x + 2a^3, where 0<a<2. for which value of a will the distance between the x-ints. of f be a maximum?

- pre-calculus -
**Steve**, Monday, January 28, 2013 at 11:52am
using the quadratic formula, the discriminant is

(a^2+2a)^2 - 8a^3

= a^2((a+2)^2 - 8a)

= a^2(a-2)^2

So, we see that

x = ((a^2+2a) ± a(a-2))/2

= a^2 or 2a

so, if the roots are a^2 and 2a, the separation is 2a-a^2. When is that a maximum? When a=1.

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