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What are chemical equations and how are they balanced?
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- Identify the reactants and products of the chemical reaction and represent them using their chemical symbols or formulae.
- Count the number of atoms of an element on the L.H.S. and R.H.S. The number of atoms of an element on the L.H.S should always be equal to that on the R.H.S. For doing this, one has to adjust the stoichiometric coefficient of the species that contains the element to be balanced. This is to be done for all the atoms of the chemical reaction.
A chemical reaction happens when one chemical substance changes into another one. This chemical transformation might occur along with physical changes like release of heat or light, change in colour, etc. Chemical reactions obey the rules of nature. A chemical equation is nothing but a rule-based, mathematical or symbolic representation of a chemical reaction.
A chemical equation has two sides- left hand side and right side. The chemical elements at the left hand side (L.H.S) are called reactants and those at the right hand side (R.H.S) are called products. In simple terms, the reactants react to form the products. In order to balance a chemical equation, one has to take the following steps:
We will take an example of an unbalanced chemical equation and balance it.
H2 + O2 `->` H2O
In the above chemical reaction, Hydrogen and Oxygen react to form water. Now, there are two atoms of Hydrogen and two atoms of Oxygen on the L.H.S. But on the R.H.S, there are two atoms of Hydrogen and only one atom of Oxygen.
Note that we cannot disturb the number of Oxygen atoms in the Oxygen molecule (if we make O2 as O, it will no longer be Oxygen). We can only adjust the stoichiometric coefficients.
To balance it, thus, we can do the following:
H2 + O2 `->` 2H2O
Now, Oxygen is balanced as both L.H.S and R.H.S have two Oxygen atoms. Doing this step, however, made 4 atoms of Hydrogen on the R.H.S.
2H2 + O2 `->` 2H2O
Now the chemical equation is balanced!
Posted by payalkhullar on March 4, 2014 at 5:04 PM (Answer #1)
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