# Writing and balancing chemical equations

## Balancing chemical equations Introduction to Balancing Chemical Equations

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The preceding chapter introduced the use of element symbols to represent individual atoms. When atoms gain or lose electrons to yield ions, or combine with other atoms to form molecules, their symbols are modified or combined to generate chemical formulas that appropriately represent these species. Extending this symbolism to represent both the identities and the relative quantities of substances undergoing a chemical or physical change involves writing and balancing a chemical equation. Consider as an example the reaction between one methane molecule CH 4 and two diatomic oxygen molecules O 2 to produce one carbon dioxide molecule CO 2 and two water molecules H 2 O. The chemical equation representing this process is provided in the upper half of Figure 1 , with space-filling molecular models shown in the lower half of the figure.

Derive chemical equations from narrative descriptions of chemical reactions. Write and balance chemical equations in molecular, total ionic, and net ionic.
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If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website. To log in and use all the features of Khan Academy, please enable JavaScript in your browser. Science Chemistry Chemical reactions and stoichiometry Balancing chemical equations. Chemical reactions introduction. Balancing chemical equations. Balancing more complex chemical equations. Visually understanding balancing chemical equations.

In order to balance a chemical equation, it is important to understand the law of conservation of mass. The mass of a closed system of substances will remain constant, regardless of the processes acting inside the system. Matter can change form, but cannot be created or destroyed. For any chemical equation in a closed system the mass of the reactants must be equal to the mass of the products. In order to make sure that this is the case, the number of atoms of each element in the reactants must be equal to the number of atoms of those same elements in the products. An example is shown below:.

## 4.1 Writing and Balancing Chemical Equations

A chemical equation describes what happens in a chemical reaction. The equation identifies the reactants starting materials and products resulting substances , the formulas of the participants, the phases of the participants solid, liquid, gas , the direction of the chemical reaction, and the amount of each substance. Chemical equations are balanced for mass and charge, meaning the number and type of atoms on the left side of the arrow is the same as the number of type of atoms on the right side of the arrow. The overall electrical charge on the left side of the equation is the same as the overall charge on the right side of the equation. In the beginning, it's important to first learn how to balance equations for mass.

## Writing a balanced chemical equation

A chemical equation is a written symbolic representation of a chemical reaction The symbols are the elemental letter or letters representing that element. The reactant chemical s are given on the left-hand side and the product chemical s on the right-hand side. The two are connected with an arrow leading from the left to the right, symbolizing the reaction. The law of conservation of mass states that no atoms can be created or destroyed in a chemical reaction, so the number of atoms that are present in the reactants has to balance the number of atoms that are present in the products. Follow this guide to learn how to balance chemical equations differently.

A chemical equation is a written description of what happens in a chemical reaction. The starting materials, called reactants , are listed on the lefthand side of the equation. Next comes an arrow that indicates the direction of the reaction. The righthand side of the reaction lists the substances that are made, called products. A balanced chemical equation tells you the amounts of reactants and products needed to satisfy the Law of Conservation of Mass. Basically, this means there are the same numbers of each type of atoms on the left side of the equation as there are on the right side of the equation. It sounds like it should be simple to balance equations, but it's a skill that takes practice.

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Figure Balancing Equations. You cannot change subscripts in a chemical formula to balance a chemical equation; you can change only.
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## 4 thoughts on “Writing and balancing chemical equations”

1. Didier D. says:

Introductory Stoichiometry and Mass Relations in Chemical Equations

2. Finlay T. says:

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3. Morgan T. says:

Sometimes, state symbols are required to indicate the physical states of the substances in a chemical reaction.

4. Gill L. says: