Chemistry has never been a most loved subject. However, many people really love this subject. You can also name them as chemistry freak or Nerd. They feel many emotions when they are when checking out chemical reactions. There is anxiety, expectations, excitement, and also joy. People who pursue this subject know the importance of these equations. The subject is indeed exciting but the equation part makes it quite difficult for students.
While working on chemical reactions, they always look for tips and tricks that can help them in solving these reactions as quickly and accurately as possible. So, here are a few tips that will help you in solving these reactions if you are also looking for tips for solving these equations.
A chemical reaction is the outcome and what you get by combining different chemicals or elements. The written combination or the symbolic representation of chemicals and elements is chemical equation. You are required to solve this equation to get the result you want from the reaction. These symbols are elemental letters for representing the element.
The right side contains the product chemicals, and left side is for the reactant chemicals. Both sides are connected with an arrow. The arrow is leading from the left side to the right side; it is symbolizing the reaction. According to the law of conservation of mass, there is no way of creating or destroying atoms in a chemical reaction. So, atoms present in reactants have to balance the atoms present in the products. This thing is quite tough or brain-wracking, so you need tips to solve it. Follow these tips, and it will be going to help you.
There are two approaches to solve the equations; first one is doing a traditional balance. Whereas the second one is completing an Algebraic balance. So, let’s start with traditional balanced approach.
Writing the Equation
First of all, you need to write down an equation. For example, your equation is:
C3H8+O2 → H2O +CO2
This is the result when propane that is C3H8 burned in the presence of O2 is oxygen to produce CO2 that is carbon dioxide and water that is symbolized as H2O.
Writing Down Atoms Per Element
You need to write down number of atoms for each element. You have to do this for both sides of the equation. Now that you are down with writing the number of atoms to each side look at the subscripts beside each atom for finding the number of atoms present in an equation. While you are writing it out, it is good to connect it with original equation for specifying how each element appears. For example –
- On the right side, you have 3oxygen atoms, but it is the result of the addition.
- Left side: C3 (3carbon), H8 (8hydrogen) and O2 (2oxygen).
- Right side: C (1carbon), H2 (2hydrogen), and O+O2 (oxygen).
Left oxygen and Hydrogen for Last
To make things easier for you, start working on other elements and save oxygen and hydrogen for the last. It is because you can see both of these often on both sides. It is very likely for you to see both these elements on both sides of your calculation as they are common in molecules. It will be the best choice to balance them in the end.
- Before you start balancing oxygen and hydrogen, recount your atoms. This is because you probably will have to use coefficients for balancing the other atoms in the calculation.
Start with One Element
If you are left with more than one element for balancing, start with the one that appears with a single molecule of the product as well as reactants. Referring to the above-cited example, you will have to start with the carbon atoms.
Using Coefficient for Balancing Carbon Atoms
To simplify things try using a coefficient for balancing the single carbon atom. On the right of the calculation, add a coefficient to the carbon atom. It will balance the left side that has 3 carbon atoms.
- C3H8+O2 →H2O +3CO2
- On the right, the 3 in front of carbon is the coefficient and indicates 3carbon atoms. At same time, the 3 subscripts on left side indicate 3carbon atoms.
- You can never alter the subscripts but change coefficients in a chemical reaction.
Balancing the Hydrogen Atoms
Now that only oxygen and hydrogen, it’s time for you to address hydrogen atoms. Now you have 8hydrogen atoms on the left side. So, you have to have 8 on the right. You can simply use a coefficient for achieving this.
- C3H8+O2 → 4H2O+3CO2
- Now that you already have 2hydrogen atoms that the subscript showed, now you have to add a 4 to be the coefficient.
- After multiplying the coefficient 4times by subscript 2, you will get 8.
- You will get the other 6 atoms of oxygen from 3CO2, and the result will be 3X2 =6atoms + the other 4 =10.
Balancing Oxygen Atoms
While you are balancing oxygen you have to consider the coefficients that you have added for balancing other atoms. The number of oxygen atoms has changed because you have added coefficient to right side. Now oxygen has 10 atoms in total as a carbon dioxide molecule has 6oxygen atoms and a water molecule has 4 oxygen atoms.
- For balancing both sides, you have to add 5coffefficient to oxygen molecule.
- C3H8+5O2 →4H2O +3CO2
- Your equation is complete as the oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen atoms are balanced.
Completing an Algebraic Balance
The algebraic method of balancing chemical reactions is also known as Bottomley’s method. This method is assumed as a useful method for solving complex reactions. The only demerit of this method is that it takes a long time and sometimes gets quite complex or messy if you lose your concentration.
Initial step for this method is just similar to the traditional one. Same as traditional one, you have to start by writing down the equation. After writing down the equation, assign a letter like a, b, c, to each substance. For instance –
- aPCI5+bH2O c H3PO4+d HCI
After assigning the letters check the numbers of elements you have found on both sides and set them equal to each other.
- aPCI5+bH2O c H3PO4+d HCI
Now for solving this system, it is important to have a numeric value. Now that you have more variables than the equation, you also have multiple solutions for solving it. You can find the one having the variables in its non-fractional or smallest form. To solve it quickly, you can take one variable after that and assign a numerical value to it. Let’s take an as the variable and give it a numerical value of 1, meaning a=1.
While talking about which method is good and can easily be comprehended. People have different opinions as some of them find the traditional method the simple one. At the same time, some people find algebraic one a simple and easy one. A traditional method is more like solving numerical whereas the algebraic one is so like solving algebraic equations. It completely depends on you which method you want to opt for. If you love solving mathematical problems you can opt for the traditional methods. If you love algebra, you can simply opt for the second option. The important thing is these are the best ways of solving chemical reactions or equations.
Even though you have these tips to help you in solving chemical reactions still there at times find it difficult to do. In that case, without wasting any time, just look for assistance. You can ask your teachers to help you. You can also look for online help. Nowadays, you can get assignments or homework help quite easily.
Many assignments help the service providers offer help to students to complete their homework and assignments. They have experts on their team who are well comprehended in their fields. They know exactly what they need to do to solve an academic problem. They help you complete your assignment and provide you with well-written papers that can come in handy in doing projects or homework in the future. These papers can also serve as a good reference or source when you are preparing for your exams.
Hopefully, these above-mentioned tips come in handy and help you solve easy and difficult chemical reactions.