what is a balanced chemical equation ?

Asked by  | 13th Apr, 2008, 11:16: AM

Expert Answer:

when we write chemical equations, we need to have the formulas for the reagents on the left side (the stuff that's going to do the chemical reaction) and the formulas for the products (the stuff you make) on the right. If we were to simply put the formulas of the chemicals on the left and right without saying how much of it was going to react, then we would run the risk of saying that the mass of what we end up with is different than the mass of what we started with. This would be the same thing as writing a recipe where we didn't specify how much of each ingredient is needed to make the chili

1. Get yourself an unbalanced equation. I might give this to you, or I might make you figure it out. Either way, if you don't have an equation with all the chemical formulas and the arrow and all that other stuff, then you're out of luck.

2. Draw boxes around all the chemical formulas. Never, ever, change anything inside the boxes. Ever. Really. If you do, you're guaranteed to get the answer wrong.

3. Make an element inventory. How are you going to know if the equation is balanced if you don't actually make a list of how many of each atom you have? You won't. You have to make an inventory of how many atoms of each element you have, and then you have to keep it current throughout the whole problem.

4. Write numbers in front of each of the boxes until the inventory for each element is the same both before and after the reaction. Whenever you change a number, make sure to update the inventory - otherwise, you run the risk of balancing it incorrectly. When all the numbers in the inventory balance, then the equation can balance, and you can relax and enjoy a delicious bowl of Mr. Guch's chili.

Answered by  | 29th May, 2008, 10:19: AM

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