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### Order of balancing an equation

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:36 pm
How do you know which element to start balancing first?

### Re: Order of balancing an equation

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:43 pm
The element which occurs the least is the one that you balance first.

### Re: Order of balancing an equation

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:23 pm
As a general rule of thumb, I tend to balance the "odd" or weird elements first (basically anything that's not C, H or O) and then go C, H and oxygen last.

### Re: Order of balancing an equation

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:25 pm
Adding on to what Ramsha said, look at both sides to see if there is an element that is present only once on each side. If there is, start with that element. However, if there isn't, find another.

### Re: Order of balancing an equation

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:35 pm
I actually use a different method. I try balancing by matching singular elements and their coefficients to that of a compound because the equation is easier to deal with when it is single elements and not multiple comprising a compound.

### Re: Order of balancing an equation

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:54 pm
As others have said, I usually start by balancing the unique elements that only occur once that are not found in multiple reactants or products, then continue by balancing the more common elements that are spread throughout the equation, and finish by balancing elements that are standing alone, such as O^2, which can easily be multiplied by a coefficient to make the equation equal.

### Re: Order of balancing an equation

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:04 pm
As others have stated, I would balance the element of the smallest quantity of moles first. Then move up to the ones with several molecules containing them, or with higher stoichiometric coefficients.
For example, in the 7th edition book, chapter H problem 5 part A, NaBH4 + H2O ---> NaBO2 + H2
I would start by balancing the Oxygen in this situation.

### Re: Order of balancing an equation

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:35 pm
To add on to the discussion, I usually start the process of balancing the chemical equation by balancing the element that does not repeat or occurs the least. Then I try to balance the elements that are not common first and save the common ones, such as H or O for last.

### Re: Order of balancing an equation

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:06 pm
To add on to this, for me it depends. If there is a longer molecule that you know is not balanced on both sides, I try to solve this first. If both sides are pretty simple, I just balance what I see in order from left to right.