Page 1 of 1

Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:03 pm
by AMahadi
I'm still having some difficulty balancing equations that require more than just inspection. Is there another, possibly longer but more accurate method to balancing "harder" chemical reactions. For example: Cu + HNO3 → Cu(NO3)2 + NO + H2O

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:06 pm
by 905416023
I too would like to know if there is a quicker way for these more complex reactions. I'm usually just stuck plugging in numbers for quite a while until I can balance them.

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:08 pm
by Jarrett Peyrefitte 2K
Try to make a list of reactants and products with their respective number of molecules and balance it one by one.

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:13 pm
by BCaballero_4F
I find it helpful to list the elements on both sides (under reactants and products) and then plug in numbers that look correct and update the numbers as I go by crossing them out and putting the new ones.

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:33 pm
by Haley Chun 4H
My TA suggested starting with the elements that occur the least and (if applicable) leaving elements that stand alone like oxygen for last.

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:33 pm
by Haley Chun 4H
My TA suggested starting with the elements that occur the least and (if applicable) leaving elements that stand alone like oxygen for last.

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:10 pm
by anjali41
In order to make balancing chemical equations easier, I would try to start with the largest molecule and attempt to balance the elements in that molecule first. This helps me, but everyone has different strategies that works for them. I think practice is the best way to help.

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:56 pm
by Avnita C_4B
It will be easier to see which element already has the largest amount on the reactant side and see the proportion of the same element on the product side. One by one, plug in the coefficients. If you have to, rewrite the new balanced equation and recheck your coefficients to see if both sides have same amounts.

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:17 am
by Brianna Becerra 1B
With balancing equations, I normally pick a side and use it as a reference point and go down the list to check if the numbers match. If it is not easily apparent, messing around with the numbers and trying to plug in possible answers sometimes helps.

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:41 am
by Micah3J
Would there ever be a question in which the chemical equations cannot be balanced? How would we be able to tell without trying dozens of different combinations?

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:26 am
by Elizabeth 4I
A easy way to balance chemical reactions is by starting from the biggest compound then balancing by observation.

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:25 am
by Justin Quan 4I
I found that the most efficient method is to start with the largest or most complex molecule. For example, since Cu is alone, I would balance that last.

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:27 am
by Areli C 1L
Jarrett Peyrefitte 1L wrote:Try to make a list of reactants and products with their respective number of molecules and balance it one by one.

Yes! This simple list helps with confusion and knowing how much of what is on each side. I highly recommend this. :)

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:43 am
by Sally Qiu 2E
i try to balance the coefficient one by one by making a list, but when i get an odd number, I double the coefficients and that usually works out in the end

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:33 am
by AveryAgosto
I find that writing the amount of each reactant and each product helps me visualize what I need to add to make the equation balanced.

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:10 pm
by KMenjivar_3A
First, separate the reactants and products to distinguish the total amount. By looking at the equation, it is clear that the coefficients will have to doubled since there is an uneven number of oxygens in the reactant and product category. In that case, count the total amount for each element to balance the equation with the appropriate coefficient.

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:55 pm
by AprilPaz
Always balance the elements that stand alone VS. balancing the elements that have several others attached to them. For example, Li3N (s) + H2 (g) -> LiNH2 (s) + LiH (s) I would only work with balancing H2 and LiH. Li3N (s) + 2H2 (g) -> LiNH2 (s) + 2LiH (s).

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:30 pm
by KBELTRAMI_1E
Aminah Mahadi 2C wrote:I'm still having some difficulty balancing equations that require more than just inspection. Is there another, possibly longer but more accurate method to balancing "harder" chemical reactions. For example: Cu + HNO3 → Cu(NO3)2 + NO + H2O


All I know is you should start with the least frequently occurring elements in the reaction.

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:50 pm
by Jasmine Fendi 1D
I know that some suggested to start balancing the least complex molecule first, but personally I've been starting with whichever element comes first and then going back when needed

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:52 pm
by Callum Guo 1H
Not really. Sometimes you just gotta grind it out. If you dont already, you can try to balance polyatomic ions if they show up on both sides instead of breaking them up into individual elements.

Re: Balancing Chemical Reactions

Posted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:50 pm
by serenabirkhoff_1K
I always start with what looks most complicated and leave elements that stand alone for last because when adding a coefficient to that element it will not change the amount for others and therefore is easier to change last because then you do not have to go back and add more coefficients to other elements, usually.