Chemical equations are an integral part of high school chemistry courses. However, balancing chemical equations can be quite intimidating because of its variable-based approach. Finding the value of atoms and balancing them on both sides of education requires technical and conceptual expertise. Knowing the exact steps of balancing an equation may get hard if you don’t get adequate assignment help from the school. So, many students turn to assignment paper help services to learn about these steps. Keep reading this blog to learn the 6 steps you must follow to become a pro at balancing chemical equations.
Step 1: Co-efficient vs Subscripts
While solving chemical equations, it is crucial to understand the difference between coefficients and subscripts. While a subscript follows certain atoms, coefficients are always placed in front of a molecule.
The coefficient in a molecule signifies the number of molecules present in it. In an atom, the subscript indicates the number of atoms within the molecule. For example, if the equation is N2+3H2 = 2NH3, then the coefficient for the second term indicates that there are 3 molecules of H2. Whereas, the subscript of the first term denotes that there are 2 atoms of nitrogen (N) in every molecule of N2. If there is no subscript present in an element, you can assume that there is only a single atom of that element.
When a coefficient is added in front of a molecule, you need to multiply all atoms within that molecule by the number of the coefficient. Whereas, if there is a subscript in an atom, you should multiply both the subscript and coefficient to know the total amount of atoms in the molecule. For example, from the previous equation, the coefficient for ammonia (NH3) on the products side is 2. This 2 gets multiplied by the subscript of hydrogen, i.e., 3, making a total of 6 hydrogen atoms.
The coefficient part can be modified and added to balance an equation. Changing the coefficient also changes the total number of that molecule. However, we cannot change the subscript. Tweaking a subscript will change the molecule itself.
Step 2: Sum the Atoms
In this step, you need to start by making a chart for the product and reactant side of the equation. Follow these steps after making the required chart –
- Count the number of atoms in all the elements on both sides of the equation.
- Fill the chart with respective atom counts.
Make the chart by following this format –
You can make the table longer or shorter depending on the number of elements you are dealing with.
Step 3: Balance the First Element
Once the element chart is ready, you must work to balance it out. To do that, follow these steps –
- From the above-mentioned table, choose an element to start with.
- Add coefficients at the start of the molecules of the elements on one side.
- Choose the coefficient number that can equalize the number of atoms to the elements on the other side of the equation.
- Keep changing this chart as the coefficients change.
For example, in the previous table, you can see the number of elements changing. The numbers can be changed as required to balance the count of the atoms.
Step 4: Repeat for the Other Elements
After changing the coefficient of the first element, you need to repeat the same technique for all the other elements. Follow these steps –
- Add coefficients for the other elements like in the previous step.
- Tweak the chart if the coefficients change atom counts.
- It is important to revise the process multiple times. This is because a change in a coefficient can alter the count of the atoms which are already balanced.
- Continue this step till the number of atoms in each element on one side equals the number of atoms on the other.
For example, If you refer to the chart, you can change the number of Calcium, Oxygen or Iron as many times till both of them balances each other.
Step 5: Tips
There are some other tips that every student must adhere to while balancing chemical equations –
- Always start with atoms that appear in a molecule on either side of the equations. For example, if oxygen is there in multiple molecules, allocate a coefficient to accommodate other atoms. It is always simpler to save the coefficients if all the other atoms are balanced.
- Always balance the hydrogen and oxygen molecules at last. Hydrogen and Oxygen molecules usually remain involved in multiple molecules on each side. So, keeping them for the end helps in faster.
Step 6: Make good use of resources
Balancing a chemical equation can still be tough despite following these rules and tips. There are several online tools that can make your chemical equations easier. You can put down the element names, and the tools can automatically make all the calculations to balance the equation in no time.
Like every subject, chemistry can also be tough without regular practice. So, do not shy away from clearing your doubts in the classroom. Instead, ask your teachers and seniors and consult books to learn how to balance chemical equations accurately. Alternatively, read these six tips and get the best statistical coursework help.
Brent Ford works for a reputed university as a guest lecturer. He also works for Assignmenthelp.us as an assignment writer and offers programming assignment help to school and college students.