You may have heard of chemical reactions and equations, you may also be a novice to it, but sit
tight and learn about how to balance chemical equations using the simplest method chemical equations. Balancing chemical equations might be a big deal for you, if you don’t know how to go about it.
In this post, I would be sharing my knowledge on balancing Chemical equations.
What are chemical equations ??
Chemical equations are just like writing a narrative essay, just to shorten or abbreviate a composition of chemical reactions in terms of the symbol and formula of
the elements and compounds involved in the chemical reaction.
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The elements and compounds
that engage in the chemical reaction which are called “the reactants” are written on the left – hand
side of the chemical equation, while the products of the chemical reaction are written on the
right – hand side of the chemical equation. The reactants and products are connected together by
an arrow symbol (–}) whose head points toward the products.
A+B –} C+D
The main part – balancing chemical equations.
This is how to balance chemical equations.
A chemical equation is of a small value if it is not a balanced equation. When a chemical
equation is balanced, the total number of atoms of any element on the left-hand side of it must
be equal to the total number of atoms of that on the right – hand side of the chemical equation.
an element appears in more than one formula on a given side of the chemical equation, the
number of atoms represented in each must be computed and then added together.
Mass of reactants = Mass of products
sometimes convenient to use fractions instead of integers as intermediate coefficients in
the process of balancing a chemical equation.
When balance is achieved, all the equation’s
coefficients may then be multiplied by a whole number to convert the fractional coefficients to
integers without upsetting the atom balance.
For example, consider the reaction of ethane
(C2H6) with oxygen(O2) to yield H2O and CO2, represented by the unbalanced equation:
C2H6 + O2 –} H2O + CO2(unbalanced chemical equation)
Following the usual inspection approach, one might first balance carbon(C) and hydrogen(H)
atoms by changing the coefficients for the two product species, as shown below:
C2H6 + O2 –} 3H2O + 2CO2 (unbalanced chemical equation)
This results in seven oxygen(O) atoms on the product side(right – hand side) of the equation, an
odd number,no integer coefficient can be used with the O2 to yield an odd number, so a
fractional coefficient, 7/2 is used instead to yield a provisional balanced equation:
C2H6 + 7/2O2 –} 3H2O + 12CO2
A conventional balanced equation with integer – only coefficients is derived by multiplying each
coefficient by 2(two)
2C2H6 + 7O2 –} 6H2O + 4CO2 (balanced chemical equation)
Example:Write a balanced equation for the reaction of molecular nitrogen(N2) and oxygen(O2)
to form Nitrogen(v)oxide.
First, write the unbalanced equation.
N2+O2 –} N2O5 (unbalanced chemical equation)
Next, count the number of each type of atom present in the unbalanced equation.
Element Reactants Products Balanced?
Nitrogen(N) 1×2=2 2×2=2 2=2,yes
Oxygen(O) 1×2=2 1×5=5 2≠5,no
Though nitrogen is balanced, changes in coefficients are needed to balance the number of
oxygen atoms. To balance the number of oxygen atoms, a reasonable first attempt would be to
change coefficients for the O2 and N2O5 to integers that will yield 10 oxygen(O) atoms.
N2+5O2 –} 2N2O (unbalanced chemical equation)
Element Reactants Products Balanced?
Nitrogen(N) 1×2=2 2×2=4 2≠4,no
Oxygen(O) 5×2=10 2×5=10 10=10,yes
The nitrogen(N) atom balance has been upset by this change; it is restored by changing the
coefficient for the reactant N2 to 2 [2N2].
2N2+5O2 –} 2N2O5(balanced chemical equation)
The numbers of nitrogen(N) and oxygen(O) atoms on either side of the chemical equation are
now equal,and so the equation is balanced.
When balancing a chemical equation,you must always remember that:
1.In simple chemical reactions, radicals remain unchanged during the reactions.
2.Equations must be balanced through the use of coefficients in front of the formula and not by
changing the subscript numbers within the formula.
3.Common gases such as hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and chlorine in the free state are
diatomic,for example; H2, O2, N2 and Cl2.
4.Other elements such as sodium, potassium, copper, and iron in the free state are represented by their atomic symbols, for example : Na, K, Cu and Fe.
Information provided by a chemical equation.
From chemical equations, we can determine :
1. The stoichiometry of the chemical reaction ,which is the relationship between the amounts of the reactants and the products in terms of mole ratio and mass ratio of the reactants and products.
2. The reactants and products involved in the chemical reaction.
3. The states of matter of the reactants and products as indicated by the state symbols (s) for solid, (l) for liquid, (g) for gas and (aq) for aqueous solution.
4. The molar mass of each compound from the relative atomic masses of the elements forming the compound.
5. Which reactants are in excess in a mixture of known amount of reactant and by how much.
6. The relative volumes of reactants and products if gaseous (1 mole occupies 22.4dm³ at stp).
Information not provided by a chemical equation.
In how to balance chemical equations. From the chemical equation, we cannot determine :
1. The physical state, such as colours of the reactants and products .
2. The conditions of the reaction, whether the solutions are concentrated or not ,heat change, etcetera.
3. The speed of the reaction.
Exercises for you:
Balance these chemical equations by yourself:
1.Fe+H2SO4 –} 2FeSO4+H2
2.2NaCl+H2SO4 –} 2Na2SO4+2HCl
3.2Mg+2O2 –} 2MgO
4.2Fe+4H2O –} Fe3O4+H2
5.2KOH+2CO2 –} K2CO3+H2O
6.CaC2+3H2O –} C2H2+Ca(OH)2
After balancing the chemical equations above, kindly comment your answer to confirm if you
are correct or not.
That will help with how to balance chemical equations.
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