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Prime Factorization Question

jman115

New member
Feb 8, 2012
2
When I teach GCF to students, I show them how to find via the prime factorization and explain to them how the PF can get you all the factors of a number by multiplying different combinations of the Prime Factors and then proceed to explain why they are supposed to multiply the common Prime factors for the gcf.



My question is, why does multiplying different combinations of the prime factors get you ALL of the number's factors?
 

masters

Active member
Jan 30, 2012
13
When I teach GCF to students, I show them how to find via the prime factorization and explain to them how the PF can get you all the factors of a number by multiplying different combinations of the Prime Factors and then proceed to explain why they are supposed to multiply the common Prime factors for the gcf.



My question is, why does multiplying different combinations of the prime factors get you ALL of the number's factors?
Hi jman115,

I know you know this already, but every composite number can be factored into the products of only prime numbers. Any combination of products with these prime factors will yield a composite factor of the original number.

Don't know if that's answers your question. Hope so.
 

jman115

New member
Feb 8, 2012
2
"Any combination of products with these prime factors will yield a composite factor of the original number." I stated this fact in my opening thread.

I am asking why this works. When you multiply all combinations of the prime factors you get all the composite factors of that number. I want to know why this works.
 

Jameson

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
4,052
This is a nice visual demonstration from Wikipedia of the prime factorization process. Any composite factor of the original number will be broken down into its own product prime factors, which are part of the original number's prime factor list.

PrimeDecompositionExample.png

Take a number like 64. This could be broken down into 32*2 or 16*4, then repeated until you have only the prime factors. No matter which way you break down a number into composite factors then into prime factors, the end result will be the same list of prime factors. Because the list of prime factors is the same no matter which composite factors you start with, some combination of prime factors multiplied together will also produce any given composite factor.
 
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