How do I balance the equation: C6H5COOH + O2 = CO2 + H2O? Also, are there a general set of rules that I can adopt.  

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The equation that needs to be balanced is: C6H5COOH + O2 --> CO2 + H2O

To balance these kind of equations follow these steps:

  • First balance the carbon atoms on both the sides. So the number of CO2 molecules on the right hand side would be equal to the number of C atoms on the left hand side.
  • Next balance the number of hydrogen atoms on both the sides. The number of H2O molecules on the right hand side would be half the number of H atoms on the left hand side.
  • Now add the number of O atoms on the right hand side, and subtract the O atoms not present as O2 molecules on the left hand side. Half of the number you get by doing this is the number of O2 molecules on the left hand side.
  • In case it is not possible to balance the equation as you get fractions for any of the molecules you may have to use multiples of the numbers.

Using the steps listed above, the balanced form of the given equation is:

2C6H5COOH + 15O2 --> 14CO2 + 6H2O

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