balancing chemical equations

Balancing chemical equations

To understand balancing equations, you must be able to complete two steps:

 

I'll try to illustrate this for the following chemical reaction:

                 sodium     +   chlorine   ---->     sodium chloride

 

Step 1:  You must be able to write the correct formulas for each of the products and reactants.  This step involves making sure the subscripts for each reactant and product are correct.

               The formulas for the reactants and products are:

                sodium  -   an element is represented by Na

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Balancing Chemical Equations with Fractions

Sometimes it is easier to balance chemical equations by using a fraction as a coefficient.

The is especially useful when you have a diatomic element like O2 and N2 on one side of the chemical equation, and you find yourself "stuck" trying to balance it.

Let's examine this technique by trying to balance the equation for the combustion of hexane.

The products of the combustion of hexane in the presence of oxygen are carbon dioxide and water.

C6H14 + O2 ------> CO2 + H2O

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Balancing Combustion Reactions

One of the more common combustion reactions is the combustion of an alkane in the presence of oxygen.

A general strategy for balancing these combustion reactions is to first balance the carbon (C) atom, followed by the hydrogen atoms (H) and then then oxygen (O) atoms.

Remember: C H O

The combustion of alkanes in the presences of oxygen will produce carbon dioxide and water. Here is the reaction for the combustion of propane , an alkane containing 3 carbon atoms.

Here is the balanced equation for the combustion of propane , an alkane
containing 3 carbon atoms:

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Balancing Chemical Equations with a TI calculator

Here is a way that you can use matrices and your TI calculator to balance most chemical equations including the one from the post.

__P4 + __H2O + __P2I4 ------> __PH4I + __H3PO4
 we produce a matrix as follows where you line up the formulas on the first row, and the elements on the first column, then fill in the table with the number of each element present in each formula.  The reactants are input as positive values and products as negative values

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