Balancing equations

Science questions not covered in Chem 14A and 14B. Try to limit questions to chemistry (inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, organic chemistry, biophysical chemistry, biochemistry, materials science, environmental chemistry).

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Osiris De LeonR 1g
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Balancing equations

Postby Osiris De LeonR 1g » Sun Oct 11, 2020 7:23 pm

Hello everyone! I hope you all are doing fine. My question is when you balance any equation is there only one correct way of doing it or can there be different approaches and answers?

Melody Haratian 2J
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Re: Balancing equations

Postby Melody Haratian 2J » Sun Oct 11, 2020 7:57 pm

Hi! There are different approaches you can take when balancing a chemical equation. There cannot be different answers to a balanced chemical equation. The most simplified form of the balanced chemical equation is its correct form.

To balance a chemical equation I first count the number of atoms of each element on the reactants side and the products side. I then change the coefficients of the molecules on both sides until the equation is balanced. You can usually start with any molecule to change the coefficient of, as long as the final equation is balanced.
I hope this helps!

Juwan_Madaki_3K
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Re: Balancing equations

Postby Juwan_Madaki_3K » Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:48 am

Osiris De LeonR 1g wrote:Hello everyone! I hope you all are doing fine. My question is when you balance any equation is there only one correct way of doing it or can there be different approaches and answers?


I also find it easier to begin balancing the atom that only shows up in one compound on both sides. For example, when balancing more complicated equations like C14H18N2O5(s) + O2(g) -> CO2(g) + H2O(l) + N2(g). I would begin by looking at Nitrogen since it only shows up once on both sides, as opposed to oxygen which is present in multiple compounds, and begin balancing from there. I hope that helped! :)

Evie Li_1H
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Re: Balancing equations

Postby Evie Li_1H » Tue Oct 13, 2020 11:25 am

I approach it a similar way, but I tend to match whichever element is in the highest quantity and work my way down. Like in Juwan's example, I would probably start with balancing the carbon and hydrogen since they are present in the highest amount then work my way down and balance the oxygen and nitrogen last mostly because since those are present in N2 and O2, they would be the easiest to balance.

Jayasree Peri 2J
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Re: Balancing equations

Postby Jayasree Peri 2J » Wed Oct 14, 2020 8:41 pm

Like Evie, I also usually start with the elements in the highest quantity. For combustion analysis, I usually end with balancing the O2, whose coefficient is in a decimal a good amount of the time. After that, I just multiply by a factor that gets the coefficient of O2 to a whole number.

Nayra Gharpetian 3F
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Re: Balancing equations

Postby Nayra Gharpetian 3F » Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:25 pm

yes i take similar approaches to everyone above. no matter which approach you take you should get the same answer. a chemical equation only has one correct balanced equation.

Jasraj Parmar 3H
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Re: Balancing equations

Postby Jasraj Parmar 3H » Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:57 pm

I just take the compound with the highest element and go from there. Also, you can count the amount of atoms in reactant and products and try to balance it that way. I agree with the other person who commented there are many ways but they should lead to one equation only.

Isabel_Eslabon_2G
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Re: Balancing equations

Postby Isabel_Eslabon_2G » Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:04 pm

Hello.

I would just like to say that sometimes when I am deep into balancing an equation and I get something that works, what happens is I went too far and have something like:

when it really should be:

Although the ratio is technically correct, usually problems want the simplest ratio.
Just remember to check your coefficients and make sure that it is the "simplest" it can be. I've lost points because I somehow got super high numbers and didn't check :(.

Isabella Cortes 2H
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Re: Balancing equations

Postby Isabella Cortes 2H » Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:11 pm

there can be many approaches to balancing an equation! I always start with a chart that has how many elements are on each side of the equation and then update it as I go along to keep track. I usually start with the molecules that have the most elements, as those sometimes are the most complicated, and then once those are balanced I change the coefficients for the elements that stand alone. This is just what I do but I recommend doing whatever you feel most comfortable with for balancing equations!!

Sam_Marasigan_3D
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Re: Balancing equations

Postby Sam_Marasigan_3D » Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:12 pm

I agree with everyone! There isn't really one way of balancing an equation. However, in most chemical equations, I tend to leave the Oxygen atoms and/or Hydrogen atoms at the very last. I balance the other molecules first.

Eunice_Castro_1G
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Re: Balancing equations

Postby Eunice_Castro_1G » Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:20 pm

Hi! There are different approaches to balancing an equation, but there should only be one answer. Hope this helps!

Renny_kim_2G
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Re: Balancing equations

Postby Renny_kim_2G » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:40 am

There definitely are several ways you can go about in balancing equations. I'd say stick to what you have been doing. There is probably a mental map that you visualize before solving the problem, and it is probably the most efficient method for you.

Jaden Ji 2K
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Re: Balancing equations

Postby Jaden Ji 2K » Sun Oct 25, 2020 7:04 pm

Like what everyone has been saying, I think that looking for the element that appears once on either side is the most efficient way. When it gets hard or if it's not working, I tend to start balancing off of another element as a sort of second perspective to see if it works. I hope this helped!

Sheryl Ocampo 1D
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:09 pm

Re: Balancing equations

Postby Sheryl Ocampo 1D » Sun Oct 25, 2020 7:26 pm

I believe there are different approaches that all lead to the same answer. Personally, I try and balace the atoms that are least present in the reaction first

Melanie Krahn 1C
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Re: Balancing equations

Postby Melanie Krahn 1C » Sun Oct 25, 2020 7:35 pm

Hello!
I know that there are different approaches to solving a balancing equation problem, however, there is only one correct answer. Dr. Lavelle has suggested starting with the reactant/product that is used the least and then working on from there.

AHUNT_1A
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Re: Balancing equations

Postby AHUNT_1A » Sun Oct 25, 2020 7:38 pm

Sam_Marasigan_2D wrote:I agree with everyone! There isn't really one way of balancing an equation. However, in most chemical equations, I tend to leave the Oxygen atoms and/or Hydrogen atoms at the very last. I balance the other molecules first.


I agree ! this way seems to work best for me since I tend to already know the outcomes or possible outcomes for O and H atoms.

IshanModiDis2L
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Re: Balancing equations

Postby IshanModiDis2L » Sun Oct 25, 2020 7:51 pm

I believe there are many ways to do this but the best way to do this is to do the least common element first because it will set you up the best when you do have to do the tricky balancing at the end usually with Hydrogen or Oxygen atoms. There is however one real answer and you wanna make sure to always be in the lowest whole number ratio with your coeffients.

Jada3J
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:34 pm

Re: Balancing equations

Postby Jada3J » Sun Oct 25, 2020 8:33 pm

I usually write down each element and put the number next to it and balance it that way this works best for me because I'm a visual learner. As for different answers, I think it's just one because the equation should be in its simplies form.


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