Rational numbers are numbers that can be expressed as a ratio of two integers, where the denominator is not zero. Rational numbers are denoted by the symbol “Q” and include fractions, decimals, and integers. Rational numbers have many unique properties that make them useful in a variety of applications.

## Properties of Rational Numbers:

- Closure Property: The sum, difference, product, and quotient of any two rational numbers is always a rational number.
- Commutative Property: The order of rational numbers in addition and multiplication does not matter. For example, 3/4 + 1/2 = 1/2 + 3/4, and 3/4 x 1/2 = 1/2 x 3/4.
- Associative Property: The grouping of rational numbers in addition and multiplication does not matter. For example, (3/4 + 1/2) + 1/3 = 3/4 + (1/2 + 1/3), and (3/4 x 1/2) x 1/3 = 3/4 x (1/2 x 1/3).
- Distributive Property: Multiplication is distributive over addition for rational numbers. For example, a x (b + c) = (a x b) + (a x c) for any rational numbers a, b, and c.
- Identity Property: The sum of any rational number and zero is the same rational number, and the product of any rational number and one is the same rational number.
- Inverse Property: Every non-zero rational number has an additive inverse, which is a rational number that when added to the original number equals zero. Every non-zero rational number also has a multiplicative inverse, which is a rational number that when multiplied by the original number equals one.
- Terminating and Repeating Decimals: A rational number can be represented as either a terminating decimal, which has a finite number of digits after the decimal point, or a repeating decimal, which has a repeating pattern of digits after the decimal point.
- Rational and Irrational Numbers: Rational numbers are numbers that can be expressed as a ratio of two integers, while irrational numbers are numbers that cannot be expressed as a ratio of two integers. The sum or product of a rational number and an irrational number is always irrational.

## Applications of Rational Numbers:

Rational numbers and their properties are used in a wide range of applications in mathematics, science, and engineering. They are used to represent quantities that can be measured, such as length, weight, or volume. They are also used in calculations involving ratios, proportions, and percentages, and in solving equations in algebra.

## Summary

Rational numbers are a fundamental concept in mathematics. They are used to represent quantities that can be measured and have many unique properties that make them useful in a variety of applications. By understanding the properties of rational numbers, we can perform calculations and solve problems in a wide range of fields, and by mastering these properties, we can develop a strong foundation for further mathematical study and problem-solving.

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