Thread: Determinant of a matrix using cofactor expansion - confused

1. Determinant of a matrix using cofactor expansion - confused

Hey! I am studying for my linear algebra exam and am having some trouble with determining the determinant of a square matrix using cofactor expansion.

Here is an example of what I am having trouble with:
Question
$\displaystyle \begin{bmatrix}
0 & 3 & 1\\
1 & 1 & 2\\
3 & 2 & 4\\
\end{bmatrix}
$

Attempted solution
I know that the determinant of this matrix is 5, I just can't seem to get that answer in what I am doing. I will use the first row in this attempt:
$0 * \displaystype \begin{bmatrix}
1 & 2\\
2 & 4\\ \end{bmatrix}
$

$+ 3 * \displaystype \begin{bmatrix}
1 & 2\\
3 & 4\\ \end{bmatrix}
$

$+ 1 * \displaystype \begin{bmatrix}
1 & 1\\
3 & 2\\ \end{bmatrix}
$

then replacing those 2x2 matrices with their determinants gives:
$(0 * 0) + (3 * -2) + (1 * -1)$
$= -7$
Which is NOT 5. I tried this with other columns and rows and am getting different answers for those. Am I doing this wrong or does it not work on some matrices???

Hopefully someone can help! Thanks for looking

2. Originally Posted by Kakariki
Hey! I am studying for my linear algebra exam and am having some trouble with determining the determinant of a square matrix using cofactor expansion.

Here is an example of what I am having trouble with:
Question
$\displaystyle \begin{bmatrix}
0 & 3 & 1\\
1 & 1 & 2\\
3 & 2 & 4\\
\end{bmatrix}
$

Attempted solution
I know that the determinant of this matrix is 5, I just can't seem to get that answer in what I am doing. I will use the first row in this attempt:
$0 * \displaystype \begin{bmatrix}
1 & 2\\
2 & 4\\ \end{bmatrix}
$

- $3 * \displaystype \begin{bmatrix}
1 & 2\\
3 & 4\\ \end{bmatrix}
$

$+ 1 * \displaystype \begin{bmatrix}
1 & 1\\
3 & 2\\ \end{bmatrix}
$

then replacing those 2x2 matrices with their determinants gives:
$(0 * 0) \bold{-} (3 * -2) + (1 * -1)$
$= 5$
Which is NOT 5. I tried this with other columns and rows and am getting different answers for those. Am I doing this wrong or does it not work on some matrices???

Hopefully someone can help! Thanks for looking
The sign of the co-factors is changing from column to column (or row to row).

See my corrections.

3. I looked back over my notes and I seemed to have somehow missed the part explaining the pattern of sign changing... With that I understand how to go about doing this!!! Thank you so much!