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What is prime factorization in math?

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Quick Answer

In mathematical terminology, prime factorization is finding the prime numbers that multiply together to make a particular number. A prime number is a whole number larger than one that is evenly divisible by only itself and one. Two is the smallest prime number.

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The factors of a given number are those numbers that divide evenly into the given number. To perform prime factorization of the number 100, for instance, start by breaking down 100 into two factors, such as 25 x 4. Neither of those factors is a prime number. The number 25 can be broken down into 5 x 5. Five is a prime number. The number 4 can be broken down into 2 x 2. Two is also a prime number. The prime factorization of 100 is 5 x 5 x 2 x 2, or 5² x 2².

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