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So I'm still pretty confused as to when we should know when x can be disregarded in the denominator for the quadratic equation in an ICE problem. Is it safer to just never disregard it, or are there exceptions when it is acceptable?
Usually, it depends on the problem. You can ignore the X when the K value is smaller than 10^-3. However, for the numerator, it would be best to keep the x as usually, that's the x value that is being solved for.
As the others mentioned before, the general rule is that you can disregard the X when the K value is smaller than 10^-3. Afterward, you can also confirm that the X you get is less than 5% of the initial concentration in order to double check that your approximation is valid.
My TA also said today it is not mandatory to do the shortcut and that the quadratic works fine. But, if you have to do the shortcut because of time constraints you have to check that x is less than 5% of the initial concentration to get credit for that step.
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