This calculator simplifies a surd so that the number below the square root sign doesn't have any perfect squares as factors.
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To simplify surds you should know square numbers (\(2^2 = 4\), \(3^2 = 9\), \(4^2 = 16\), etc). Using this knowledge you can break the number under the root sign into factors that are perfect squares like so: \begin{equation*} \sqrt{12} = \sqrt{4 \times 3} = \sqrt{2^2 \times 3} = \sqrt{2^2} \times \sqrt{3} = 2 \sqrt{3}. \end{equation*}
A surd is said to be in its simplest form when the number under the root sign has no square factors. For example \(\sqrt{72}\) can be reduced to \(\sqrt{4 \times 18} = 2 \sqrt{18}\). But \(18\) still has the factor \(9\), so we can simplify further: \(2 \sqrt{18} = 2 \sqrt{9 \times 2} = 2 \times 3 \sqrt{2} = 6\sqrt{2}\). We stop at this stage seeing that \(2\) has no square numbers as factors.