Order of Balancing Rxns

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Jerry_T
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Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Jerry_T » Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:25 am

Hey, I was just wondering how everyone approaches balancing chemical reactions in terms of which element to balance first (or the order in general). Also, how do you guys keep track of the number of elements on each side of the eqn (a mental note, tallies, etc.)?

Jasmine Ho 3I
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Jasmine Ho 3I » Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:36 am

I make a chart of every element for both reactants and products to keep track of how many of each element I have. I don't think I necessarily follow an order; I just go with what seems the most obvious at first, I think.

Hannah Rim 2D
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Hannah Rim 2D » Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:59 am

Hey! When I took AP Chem in high school my teacher would write each element in a column. On the left side of the column she made tallies for the reactants and on the right side she made tallies for the products. Kinda like this:

I C I
II H II
III O III

Honestly, this method might not be that efficient but its what I use and it helps make everything super clear for me (-: Also I don't have a specific way I approach balancing equations but I almost always save the diatomic molecules for last.

rita_debbaneh2G
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby rita_debbaneh2G » Sat Oct 10, 2020 9:21 am

I don't think there's a strict order to it. I personally just make a list of the number of each element on each side of the equation. If they're not equal, then I add numbers as necessary.

Jeffrey Fenn 1G
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Jeffrey Fenn 1G » Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:27 am

For me personally, I always try to balance the larger molecules first.

Sheryl Ocampo 1D
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Sheryl Ocampo 1D » Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:38 am

I usually try to balance the atoms that there are the most of in a chemical reaction first and then move to the ones that there are the least of. To keep track of the ones I've balanced, I tally them on the side of the equation.

505598869
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby 505598869 » Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:50 am

I find it beneficial to make a chart and list the number of each type of atom on either side of the equation. As I balance things, I cross them off the list. This helps me visualize what has been balanced and what has not. It makes it easier compared to doing it all in my head.

Sukhkiran_Kaur_3I
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Sukhkiran_Kaur_3I » Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:43 pm

I've tried to just eyeball it by going through the equation, but what works best for me is listing out how many of each atom are on both sides of the equation, and then doing the math and plugging the coefficients back in.

Helena Hu 3E
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Helena Hu 3E » Sat Oct 10, 2020 2:07 pm

Similarly to Hannah, I make a list on the reactants side and on the products side-- this helps me the most of keeping track of the numbers.
I like to rewrite the equation and leave space at the front of each molecule so that I can fill in the stoichiometric coefficients with a different color.
Then, I start with whatever molecule is the most complex (for me meaning whichever molecule is made up of the most different elements), just because at the end it will be easy to multiply molecules made up of just one element (ex. O2) to finish balancing.

Hopefully this isn't too confusing!

Reese_Gover2K
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxnx

Postby Reese_Gover2K » Sat Oct 10, 2020 2:29 pm

I typically rewrite the equation with blank spaces in front of each reactant/product and then make a chart counting the number of each element. Then I look at which element would be easiest to balance first and start with that one. And then whenever I write a new coefficient in the equation I alter the numbers of the element in my chart until everything is balanced. That way I can keep track of the number of each molecule while making sure everything is balanced. Hope this can help you!

Gicelle Rubin 1E
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Gicelle Rubin 1E » Sat Oct 10, 2020 2:39 pm

Hi! So, what I usually do is I try to balance the element that there is more of. Afterwards, I sort of "wing it" and try different numbers until the equation is balanced. I know it's not the best method because it requires some time but I'd like to hear other ways to do so! In regards to keeping track, I make a T chart for the reactants and product. I write each element and keep count there. I hope this helped!

Jordan_OBrien_2k
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Jordan_OBrien_2k » Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:27 pm

What I typically do is make a chart of how many of each element I have on each side. Then I start with the most isolated element then work my way through the more difficult elements to balance

Susan Chamling 1F
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Susan Chamling 1F » Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:36 pm

I think a part of balancing equations is intuition and trial and error, but in my own experience I tend to first look at all of the elements involved and then see which one is the most limited in the sense that it appears in the equation a lesser amount of instances than the other elements. I then work to balance this element first, and then see which other elements were affected by the balancing of that element, and so forth.

Jack_Pearce_2H
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Jack_Pearce_2H » Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:48 pm

I would recommend first balancing the atoms that are the least present in the reaction then move onto the second least present and balance those. I usually check after that the second most present ratio is equal to that of the first and move onto the third least present, check from there and repeat the process. Hope this helps!

TiffanyBrownfield 2I
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby TiffanyBrownfield 2I » Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:41 pm

Personally, I start by balancing the element that is least common (or elements that only appear in one molecule) so you can get a foundation, and leave the more common and isolated elements for last (i.e. O2). This makes it much easier to make adjustments in the end that won't affect the entirety of your balanced equation.

Danielle Goldwirth 3F
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Danielle Goldwirth 3F » Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:53 pm

I draw a vertical line down (below the arrow in the chemical equation) and then I write each element on the reaction side and on the product side on both sides of the line. I then write down the original amount of moles of each element/molecule and look for what should be balanced and continue the process.

Emily_Stenzler_2H
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Emily_Stenzler_2H » Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:54 pm

I try to save molecules that originally have one component, such as O2 or F2. These can easily be modified however needed at the end because you don't have to worry about changing the amount of any other atoms. Molecules with more components are typically harder to balance because you have to keep track of how the multiplication of one number affects the amount of all atoms in the molecule.

Marco Vivar 3G
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Marco Vivar 3G » Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:59 pm

I usually start out by listing the elements on either side and their respective count. Following that I will balance the smallest numbers first until I see a pattern.

Dane_Beasley_1E
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Dane_Beasley_1E » Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:22 pm

For Balancing Rxns, I usually try to balance metals first. Then I would balance carbon. If hydrogen and oxygen are in the equation, I would balance hydrogen next and oxygen last always. I try to stick to this most of the time.

Jose Miguel Conste 3H
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Jose Miguel Conste 3H » Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:30 pm

How I keep on track is basically I write the amount of moles of the certain element on top of it, for example CO2 I put 1 on top of C and 2 on top of O, after labeling all the elements, I check both sides if both sides of the equation have the same amount moles of elements. Then if there are any changes needed, I start to multiply and check if both sides are equal! hope this helps.

Kelly Tran 1J
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Kelly Tran 1J » Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:37 pm

Personally, I balance the elements from left to right. I find that it is easier to do balance chemical equations in this way because you are able to keep track of which elements you have already balanced and which ones you have not. I keep track of the coefficients in my head because I find that writing them down or keeping tallies can get confusing if the coefficients of a later element affects the coefficients of a previous element, but this is my personal opinion. Everyone has their own methods.

Tobie Jessup 2E
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Tobie Jessup 2E » Sun Oct 11, 2020 10:12 pm

It definitely helps to start with the element that occurs the least and work from there! sometimes there can be a bit of tail and error to balance each side of the equation.

Nick Saeedi 1I
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Nick Saeedi 1I » Sun Oct 11, 2020 10:20 pm

I start with balancing the ones that occur the least and mark my progress with tallies next to the question.

Jacob Schwarz-Discussion 3I
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Re: Order of Balancing Rxns

Postby Jacob Schwarz-Discussion 3I » Sun Oct 11, 2020 10:26 pm

Hey Jerry!
When it comes to balancing reactions, I would definitely start with the element that occurs the least. From there, I would recommend keeping two columns(one for products and one for reactants) to keep it organized and keep track of the elements as you go through with balancing. Keep track as you go through and when finished balancing, check your work and make sure all of your elements are not divisible by each other.


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