# Module Four Balancing Chemical Reactions. Chem 170. Stoichiometric Calculations. Module Four. Balancing Chemical Reactions

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1 Chem 170 Stoichiometric Calculations Module Four Balancing Chemical Reactions DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 1

2 Introduction to Module Four When making a cheeseburger you might use a hamburger patty, cheese, an English muffin, pickles, onions, and mustard. We can represent this recipe symbolically as hamburger patty + cheese + English muffin + pickles + onions + mustard cheeseburger where the plus sign (+) means combines with and the arrow ( ) means yields or results in. Those items to the left of the arrow are the ingredients and the item to the right of the arrow is the final product. Something important is missing, however, in this symbolic recipe for preparing a cheeseburger. When you make a cheeseburger, you want it to taste good. Specifically, you the cheeseburger to have the right amount of pickles, onions, and mustard to make it tasty. Adding coefficients before each ingredient 1 hamburger patty + 1 slice of cheese + 1 English muffin + 3 pickles + 2 slices of onion + 1 squirt of mustard 1 yummy cheeseburger gives a more complete symbolic recipe a cheeseburger. We call this symbolic recipe balanced because it specifies exactly how the ingredients are combined to make a cheeseburger. In the same manner, we write balanced symbolic equations for chemical reactions. For example, propane, C 3 H 8, burns in the presence of oxygen, forming carbon dioxide and water. We represent this reaction symbolically as 1C 3 H 8 + 5O 2 3CO H 2 O where the plus sign means reacts with and the underlined numbers are the reaction s stoichiometric coefficients. Species to the left of the arrow are called reactants and those to the right of the arrow are products. In this module, you will learn how to balance many types of chemical reactions. Objective For Module Four In completing this module, you will master the following objective: to balance chemical reactions A stoichiometric coefficient of 1 is usually omitted when writing a balanced chemical reaction; thus, the combustion of propane becomes C 3 H 8 + 5O 2 3CO 2 + 4H 2 O DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 2

3 Balanced Chemical Reactions and the Conservation of Mass Before we learn how to balance a chemical reaction, it is worth reviewing the relationship between a balanced reaction and the conservation of mass. You may recall this paraphrase of one of Dalton s hypotheses for the existence of atoms: In a chemical reaction the elements making up compounds rearrange to make new compounds. The atoms making up these compounds, however, are not destroyed, nor are new atoms created. This statement that matter is conserved in a chemical reaction means that for every element present in the reactants, an equal amount of that element must be present in the products. When we write an unbalanced chemical reaction C 3 H 8 + O 2 CO 2 + H 2 O we can show that mass is not conserved by comparing the number of atoms of each element on the reactant s and product s side of the arrow; thus Element Atoms in Reactants Atoms in Products C 3 1 H 8 2 O 2 3 As written, none of the elements is conserved so the reaction is unbalanced. The balanced chemical reaction obeys the conservation of the mass. C 3 H 8 + 5O 2 3CO 2 +4H 2 O Element Atoms in Reactants Atoms in Products C 3 3 H 8 8 O A balanced chemical reaction always obeys the conservation of mass. See Module 2 for a review of Dalton s hypotheses. When counting atoms for a molecule with a stoichiometric coefficient, multiply the number of atoms in one molecule by the number of molecules. For example, 5CO 2 has 5 x 1 = 5 carbon atoms and 5 x 2 = 10 oxygen atoms. DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 3

4 Balancing Chemical Reactions No No s, Conventions, and Tips Converting an unbalanced chemical reaction into one that is balanced is mostly a trial and error process. There are, however, some important things that you can t do, some common conventions, and some strategies that help simplify the process. Things That You Can t Do When Balancing a Chemical Reaction. One of the most common mistakes when balancing a chemical reaction is to change the subscripts on compounds instead of changing the stoichiometric coefficients. For example, in the presence of a spark, gaseous mixtures of H 2 and O 2 react forming water as the only product. The unbalanced reaction based on this description, which is called a skeletal reaction, is H 2 + O 2 H 2 O When balancing this reaction it is tempting to just add a subscripted 2 to the oxygen in the water molecule, giving H 2 + O 2 H 2 O 2 The problem with this is that H 2 O 2 is the chemical formula for hydrogen peroxide, not water. Although this reaction is balanced, it is no longer the reaction of interest. Another common mistake is to add new reactants or products to the reaction. For example, balancing the skeletal reaction H 2 + O 2 H 2 O by adding an oxygen atom as a second product H 2 + O 2 H 2 O + O is incorrect because water is the reaction s only identified product. Although this reaction may take place under appropriate conditions (such as at high elevations in the atmosphere), it isn t the reaction with which we are working. Common Conventions for Balanced Reactions. There are two common conventions for balanced reactions. First, because we cannot have a fraction of a molecule, the stoichiometric coefficients in a balanced reaction are usually written as integers. Although H 2 + ½O 2 H 2 O is a balanced reaction, it is more appropriate to multiply each stoichiometric coefficient by 2, obtaining 2H 2 + O 2 2H 2 O DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 4

5 Second, the stoichiometric coefficients should be reduced to the smallest whole numbers. For example, it is preferable to write the balanced reaction as 2C 3 H O 2 6CO 2 + 8H 2 O C 3 H 8 + 5O 2 3CO 2 + 4H 2 O by dividing each stoichiometric coefficient by 2. Useful Tips for Balancing Chemical Reactions. Balancing a chemical reaction can be frustrating. The most common problem is discovering that balancing one element causes a previously balanced element to become unbalanced. This process can go on and on until you are ready to explode. The following three tips will help you avoid spontaneous combustion! Tip #1 Begin with elements that appear in only 1 reactant and 1 product, and end with those elements that appear in more than one reactant or product. The rationale for this tip is that it is easy to balance a reactant and product that are the only source of an element. In addition, once the stoichiometric ratio between the reactant and product is established, any change to the stoichiometric coefficient for one is easily transferred to the other. For example, consider the hypothetical skeletal reaction A 2 B + C 2 A + B 2 + BC Following Tip #1, we first balance A and C because each appears in a single reactant and a single product A 2 B + C 2 2A + B 2 + 2BC We next balance element B, which appears in one reactant and two products. In doing so, we need to change the coefficient in front of A 2 B from 1 to 4. Because the stoichiometry between A 2 B and A has already been established at 1:2, we must adjust this to 4:8; thus, leaving the following balanced reaction. 4A 2 B + C 2 8A + B 2 + 2BC Tip #2 When balancing an element that appears in more than one reactant and one product, try to bring it into balance by adjusting the coefficient for a species that has not yet been assigned. DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 5

6 The rationale for this tip is to avoid changing a coefficient that was adjusted earlier when bringing another element into balance. For example, consider the following hypothetical skeletal reaction A 2 B 8 C 2 A + B 2 + BC Both A and C appear in only a single reactant and a single product, so these are balanced first. A 2 B 8 C 2 2A + B 2 +2BC To balance B, we must choose between adjusting the coefficient for B 2 or BC. Because we have already adjusted the coefficient for BC in balancing C, any change to its coefficient will bring C out of balance. Instead, we adjust the coefficient for B 2, giving A 2 B 8 C 2 2A + 3B 2 + 2BC Tip #3 Whenever possible, balance the simplest compounds (pure elements or diatomic molecules) last. Because an element or diatomic molecule contains only one type of atom, any change to its coefficient cannot bring any other element out of balance. Furthermore, with a diatomic molecule, we can use a fractional coefficient of 1/2 to add a single atom. Of course, once balanced all coefficients are doubled to ensure that they are integers. For example, consider the following hypothetical skeletal reaction AB 4 C 3 + A 2 D B 2 D + CD + A 2 We begin by balancing B and C as each is present in a single reactant and product. AB 4 C 3 + A 2 D 2B 2 D + 3CD +A 2 Both A and D appear in more than one reactant or product. Because A appears by itself in the diatomic species A 2, it is easier to leave A for last; thus we balance D and then balance A AB 4 C 3 + 5A 2 D 2B 2 D + 3CD +A 2 AB 4 C 3 + 5A 2 D 2B 2 D + 3CD A 2 2AB 4 C A 2 D 4B 2 D + 6CD + 11A 2 DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 6

7 Balancing Chemical Reactions Worked Examples Having discussed some general procedures for balancing reactions, we are ready to work through some examples. In doing so, we will move from easy reactions to those that are more complex. Each example shows all reactants and products so that no knowledge about the underlying chemistry is necessary. Although we won t include them in our worked examples, you may find it helpful to use a table to keep track of atoms on the reactant and product side of the reaction (see page 3 for an example). Example 1. Balance the decomposition reaction for potassium perchlorate, KClO 4. KClO 4 KCl + O 2 Solution. The elements K and Cl are already balanced. To balance oxygen, we place a 2 before O 2 giving the final balanced reaction. KClO 4 KCl + 2O 2 The first example is easy because only one element needs to be balanced and no adjustments to other coefficients are necessary. In the next example, only one element is out of balance, but bringing it into balance necessitates changing other coefficients. Example 2. Balance the decomposition reaction for potassium chlorate, KClO 3. KClO 3 KCl + O 2 Solution. Only oxygen is not balanced, which we balance by adding a coefficient of 3/2 before O 2. KClO 3 KCl O 2 We then multiply all the coefficients by 2 to give the final balanced reaction. 2KClO 3 2KCl + 3O 2 For most reactions, two or more elements in the skeletal reaction are out of balance. The next set of examples provides good illustrations of balancing such reactions. DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 7

8 Example 3. Balance the combustion reaction for methane, CH 4. CH 4 + O 2 CO 2 + H 2 O Solution. First we balance H, which is present in only one reactant and one product. CH 4 + O 2 CO 2 + 2H 2 O Everything is now balanced except oxygen, for which there are 2 on the reactant s side and 4 on the product s side. Adding a 2 before the O 2 provides the balanced reaction. CH 4 + 2O 2 CO 2 + 2H 2 O Example 4. Balance the combustion reaction for propane, C 3 H 8. C 3 H 8 + O 2 CO 2 + H 2 O Solution. We begin by balancing C and H because each is present in a single reactant and a single product. C 3 H 8 + O 2 3CO 2 + 4H 2 O This leaves us with 2 O atoms on the reactant s side and 10 O atoms on the product s side; thus, we add a 5 before O 2 to give the balanced reaction. C 3 H 8 + 5O 2 3CO 2 + 4H 2 O DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 8

9 Example 5. Balance the combustion reaction for benzoic acid, C 7 H 6 O 2. C 7 H 6 O 2 + O 2 CO 2 + H 2 O Solution. As in the previous example, we begin by balancing C and H. C 7 H 6 O 2 + O 2 7CO 2 + 3H 2 O This leaves 4 O atoms on the reactant s side and 17 O atoms on the product s side. To avoid unbalancing C and H, we balance O by adding a coefficient of 15/2 before O 2 ; thus C 7 H 6 O O 2 7CO 2 + 3H 2 O 2C 7 H 6 O O 2 14CO 2 + 6H 2 O Example 6. Balance the following oxidation reaction for the mineral pyrite, FeS 2. Solution. We begin by balancing Fe FeS 2 + O 2 Fe 2 O 3 + SO 2 and then S 2FeS 2 + O 2 Fe 2 O 3 + SO 2 2FeS 2 + O 2 Fe 2 O 3 + 4SO 2 Finally, we balance O by adjusting the coefficient for O 2 2FeS O 2 Fe 2 O 3 + 4SO 2 4FeS O 2 2Fe 2 O 3 + 8SO 2 DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 9

10 Example 7. Balance the following reaction for dissolving silver. Ag + H 2 SO 4 Ag 2 SO 4 + SO 2 + H 2 O Solution. Balancing Ag is easy, leaving us with 2Ag + H 2 SO 4 Ag 2 SO 4 + SO 2 + H 2 O Next, we balance S, by placing a 2 before H 2 SO 4. 2Ag + 2H 2 SO 4 Ag 2 SO 4 + SO 2 + H 2 O Finally, we place a 2 before H 2 O to balance H and O. 2Ag + 2H 2 SO 4 Ag 2 SO 4 + SO 2 + 2H 2 O Example 8. Balance the following reaction for dissolving gold. Au + HNO 3 + HCl HAuCl 4 + NO + H 2 O Solution. We begin by balancing the chlorine. Au + HNO 3 + 4HCl HAuCl 4 + NO + H 2 O Next, we balance H, adding a coefficient of 2 before H 2 O, giving a balanced reaction of Au + HNO 3 + 4HCl HAuCl 4 + NO + 2H 2 O Now for more of a challenge! Note how using the concept of a structural unit, as opposed to working only with elements, helps simplify the process of balancing the reaction. DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 10

11 Example 9. Balance the following reaction. H 3 PO 4 + (NH 4 ) 2 MoO 4 + HNO 3 (NH 4 ) 3 PO 4 12MoO 3 + NH 4 NO 3 + H 2 O Solution. We begin by balancing Mo, which shows up in one reactant and one product, placing a 12 before (NH 4 ) 2 MoO 4 H 3 PO (NH 4 ) 2 MoO 4 + HNO 3 (NH 4 ) 3 PO 12MoO 3 + NH 4 NO 3 + H 2 O Next, we balance the structural unit NH 4 (actually the ammonium ion, NH 4 + ), which appears in (NH 4 ) 2 MoO 4, (NH 4 ) 3 PO 4 12MoO 3, and NH 4 NO 3. There are 24 NH 4 units on the reactant s side and 4 on the product s side. Following the advice of Tip #2, we adjust the coefficient for NH 4 NO 3 instead of (NH 4 ) 3 PO 4 12MoO 3 to avoid throwing Mo out of balance. H 3 PO (NH 4 ) 2 MoO 4 + HNO 3 (NH 4 ) 3 PO 4 12MoO NH 4 NO 3 + H 2 O Next, we balance the structural unit NO 3 (actually the nitrate ion, NO 3 - ), which appears in HNO 3 and NH 4 NO 3. H 3 PO (NH 4 ) 2 MoO HNO 3 (NH 4 ) 3 PO 4 12MoO NH 4 NO 3 + H 2 O Finally, we balance H, giving H 3 PO (NH 4 ) 2 MoO HNO 3 (NH 4 ) 3 PO 4 12MoO NH 4 NO H 2 O Balancing Chemical Reactions Including Ions Many of the examples use reactions involving inorganic compounds. Such reactions often include ions that never undergo a change in chemistry. These ions are called spectator ions and are not actually a part of the reaction. For example, soluble salts of the silver ion, Ag +, will form solid AgCl, which is called a precipitate, when reacted with any soluble salt containing the chloride ion, Cl -. The following balanced reactions AgNO 3 + NaCl AgCl + NaNO 3 2AgNO 3 + CaCl 2 2AgCl + Ca(NO 3 ) 2 can be written simply as Ag + + Cl - AgCl DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 11

12 by ignoring the spectator ions (NO 3 -, Ca 2+ ). Although you aren t expected in this course to recognize which ions are spectators, you should be able to balance a reaction including ions. One important caution: a balanced reaction including ions must have the same net charge on each side of the reaction s arrow. For example Ag + + Cu Cu 2+ + Ag isn t balanced because the reactant s side has a net charge of +1 from Ag +, whereas the product s side has a net charge of +2 from Ca +2. The correct balanced reaction is 2Ag + + Cu Cu Ag Example 10. Balance the following reaction. Solution. We begin by balance S, giving S 2 O H 2 O + Mn 2+ MnO 2 + H + + SO 4 2- S 2 O H 2 O + Mn 2+ MnO 2 + H + + 2SO 4 2- Next, we balance O by placing a 2 before the H 2 O S 2 O H 2 O + Mn 2+ MnO 2 + H + + 2SO 4 2- saving H + for last as it is easy to balance a single element. S 2 O H 2 O + Mn 2+ MnO 2 + 4H + + 2SO 4 2- Note that each side of the reaction has a net charge of zero. Balancing Chemical Reactions Complications Occasionally a reaction proves particularly difficult to balance. As an exercise (and to appreciate the challenge some reactions present), try balancing the following reaction. Don t spend more than about five minutes on this exercise. Cu + NO H 3 O + Cu 2+ + NO + H 2 O Were you able to balance the reaction? Don t be surprised (or disappointed) if your answer is no. DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 12

13 What makes this reaction difficult to balance is the presence of oxygen in two reactants, NO 3 - and H 3 O +, and in two products, NO and H 2 O. Our simple rules for balancing reactions are less useful in this case. You can reach the correct answer, which is 3Cu + 2NO H 3 O + 3Cu NO + 12H 2 O by a combination of trial-and-error and a little logic, but the time and effort expended can be significant. As difficult as the above reaction may be to balance, eventually you can, with some effort and patience, arrive at a correctly balanced reaction. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Consider, for example, the following unbalanced reaction MnO H 2 O 2 + H 3 O + Mn 2+ + O 2 + H 2 O Here are two solutions that meet our criteria for a balanced reaction, although both solutions actually are chemically incorrect! 2MnO H 2 O 2 + 6H 3 O + 2Mn O H 2 O 2MnO H 2 O 2 + 6H 3 O + 2Mn O H 2 O We ll consider how to balance these types of reactions in the next section. Balancing Chemical Reactions An Alternative Approach In the previous section we showed two reactions that appear to be balanced and yet are chemically incorrect. How can this be true? The answer to this question requires us to see that the reaction we are trying to balance involves a transfer of electrons from one reactant to another reactant. We call such reactions oxidation/reduction or redox reactions. Oxidation States. To understand what happens during the (unbalanced) reaction Cu + NO H 3 O + Cu 2+ + NO + H 2 O we must introduce the concept of an oxidation state. An oxidation state is a means for keeping track of electrons in a chemical reaction. A few simple rules will help us assign oxidation states in this reaction: Although we introduce the concept of oxidation states here to help us understand the logic behind this alternative approach for balancing redox reactions, you can balance this or any redox reaction without knowing the oxidation states of elements in the reaction; in fact, you can use this alternative approach to balancing reactions that do not involve changes in oxidation state (although there is no need to do so). DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 13

14 Rule #1. The oxidation state of any element in its elemental form is zero; thus, the oxidation state for Cu is zero. Rule #2. The oxidation state for a cation or anion consisting of a single element is the same as the ion s charge; thus, the oxidation state of copper in Cu 2+ is +2. Rule #3. In compounds and ions, hydrogen always has an oxidation state of +1 when bound to a non-metal, such as oxygen. Rule #4. In compounds and ions, oxygen usually has an oxidation state of -2. Rule #5. The algebraic sum of oxidation states for the elements in a polyatomic compound or ion must equal the compound s total charge; thus for NO 3 - : 3 (oxidation state of O) + oxidation state of N = -1 for NO: oxidation state of N + oxidation state of O = 0 for H 3 O + : 3 (oxidation state of H) + oxidation state of O = +1 for H 2 O: 2 (oxidation state of H) + oxidation state of O = 0 Applying these rules to the compounds and ions in the (unbalanced) reaction we find the following oxidation states: Cu + NO H 3 O + Cu 2+ + NO + H 2 O Copper: oxidation states of zero in Cu and +2 in Cu 2+ Oxygen: an oxidation state of -2 in NO 3 -, H 3 O +, NO and H 2 O Hydrogen: an oxidation state of +1 in H 3 O + and H 2 O Nitrogen: an oxidation state of +5 in NO 3 - and +2 in NO Oxidation and Reduction. An element experiencing an increase in its oxidation state loses electrons and is said to undergo oxidation. For example, in the (unbalanced) reaction Cu + NO H 3 O + Cu 2+ + NO + H 2 O the copper in Cu is oxidized when forming Cu 2+ (a change in oxidation state from zero to +2). When an element gains electrons it experiences a decrease in its oxidation state and DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 14

15 is said to be reduced. Thus, in the reaction shown above, the nitrogen in NO 3 - is reduced when forming NO (a change in oxidation state from +5 to +2). Redox Reactions. Reducing the nitrogen in NO 3 - to NO requires adding electrons. The source of these electrons is the oxidation of copper from Cu to Cu 2+. Thus, any reaction in which one reactant experiences reduction must have another reactant that undergoes oxidation. We call such reactions oxidation/reduction or redox reaction. The Alternative Approach to Balancing Reactions. Because a balanced redox reaction does not include electrons as reactants or products, all electrons released by the species undergoing oxidation must be consumed by the species undergoing reduction. This is the key to balancing redox reactions. Here is our general approach. Cu + NO H 3 O + Cu 2+ + NO + H 2 O Step 1. Eliminate any H 2 O, H 3 O + and OH - present in the unbalanced reaction. Because the reactions we will consider always occur in water, we can add these species back in at any time. This leaves us with Cu + NO 3 - Cu 2+ + NO Step 2. Separate the reaction into two parts representing the oxidation and reduction processes. Note even if you don t know which species are undergoing oxidation and reduction, the two reactions should be obvious. This leave us with Cu Cu 2+ NO 3 - NO Step 3. Balance all elements in each reaction except for oxygen and hydrogen. In this case the copper and nitrogen already are balanced so no adjustments are needed. Step 4. Balance the oxygen in each reaction by adding water, H 2 O. Since there are three oxygens in NO - 3 and only one oxygen in NO, we add two molecules of H 2 O to the products of the second reaction. This leaves us with Cu Cu 2+ NO 3 - NO + 2H 2 O Step 5. Balance the hydrogen in each reaction by adding a combination of H 3 O + and H 2 O. Note that an ion of H 3 O + has one more hydrogen than a molecule of H 2 O; thus, adding an equal number of H 3 O + ions and H 2 O molecules to opposite sides of a reaction has the effect of increasing the number of hydrogens on the side of the reaction receiving the H 3 O + ions by the number of H 3 O + ions added. For example, since there are four hydrogens in the products and none in the reactants, we need to DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 15

16 add the equivalent of four hydrogens to the reactants. We accomplish this by adding four H 3 O + ions to the reactants and four H 2 O molecules to the products (a net gain of four hydrogens by the reactants). This leaves us with Cu Cu 2+ NO H 3 O + NO + 6H 2 O Note for basic solutions we add H 2 O and OH - instead of H 3 O + and H 2 O. For example, if the above reaction were to occur in a basic solution, we would add four H 2 O molecules to the reactants and four OH - ions to the products (a net increase gain of four hydrogens by the reactants) which simplifies to NO H 2 O NO + 2H 2 O + 4OH - NO H 2 O NO + 4OH - Step 6. Balance the charge by adding electrons (e - ). Note that the electrons must appear as a product in one reaction and as a reactant in the other reaction. Because the first reaction has a net charge of zero on the reactant side and a net charge of +2 on the product side, we add two electrons to the products. For the second reaction we need to add three electrons to the reactants to balance out the charge. This leaves us with Cu Cu e - NO H 3 O + + 3e - NO + 6H 2 O Note when using this approach to balance a non-redox reaction, the charge will be balanced without the need to add electrons. Step 7. Before combining the two reactions the number of electrons must be the same so that no electrons will remain in the final balanced reaction. To accomplish this we multiply each coefficient in the first reaction by three and each coefficient in the second reaction by two 3(Cu Cu e - ) 2(NO H 3 O + + 3e - NO + 6H 2 O) leaving us with six electrons in each reaction 3Cu 3Cu e - 2NO H 3 O + + 6e - 2NO + 12H 2 O Step 8. Finally, add the two reactions together and simplify as needed. This leaves us with a balanced reaction with no left over electrons. DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 16

17 3Cu + 2NO H 3 O + 3Cu NO + 12H 2 O Example 11. Find the correct balanced reaction for MnO H 2 O 2 + H 3 O + Mn 2+ + O 2 + H 2 O Solution. Using our alternative approach we first eliminate the H 3 O + and H 2 O MnO H 2 O 2 Mn 2+ + O 2 Next, we split the reaction into two parts, one involving manganese and the other involving oxygen MnO 4 - Mn 2+ H 2 O 2 O 2 Since the manganese already is balanced, we next balance oxygen by adding H 2 O MnO 4 - Mn H 2 O H 2 O 2 O 2 To balance the hydrogen in the reaction on the left, where we need to add eight hydrogens to the reactants, we add eight H 3 O + ions to the reactants and eight H 2 O molecules to the products. To balance the hydrogen in the reaction on the right, where we need to add two hydrogens to the products, we add two molecules of H 2 O to the reactants and two molecules of H 3 O + to the products; thus MnO H 3 O + Mn H 2 O H 2 O 2 +2H 2 O O 2 + 2H 3 O + Next we balance charge by adding electrons MnO H 3 O + + 5e - Mn H 2 O H 2 O 2 +2H 2 O O 2 + 2H 3 O + + 2e - and adjust the coefficients so that each reaction involves 10 electrons 2MnO H 3 O e - 2Mn H 2 O 5H 2 O 2 +10H 2 O 5O H 3 O e - Adding the reactions together and simplifying gives the balanced reaction as 2MnO H 2 O 2 + 6H 3 O + 2Mn O H 2 O DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 17

18 Here is an example that involves a reaction in a basic solution. Example 12. Balance the following reaction, which occurs in basic solutions. CuO + NH 3 Cu + N 2 Solution. Dividing the reaction into two parts gives CuO Cu NH 3 N 2 Next, we balance the nitrogen in the second reaction, giving CuO Cu 2NH 3 N 2 To balance the oxygen in the first reaction we add one molecule of H 2 O CuO Cu + H 2 O 2NH 3 N 2 Because the solution is basic, we balance hydrogen by adding H 2 O and OH -. Because the first reaction has two hydrogens on the product s side we add two units of H 2 O to the reactants and two units of OH - to the products, giving a net increase of two hydrogens to the reactant s side of the reaction. Using the same logic, we add six units of H 2 O to the products of the second reaction and six units of OH - to the reactants; thus CuO + 2H 2 O Cu + H 2 O + 2OH - 2NH 3 + 6OH - N 2 + 6H 2 O Simplifying the first reaction by removing one unit of H 2 O from both sides leave us with CuO + H 2 O Cu + 2OH - 2NH 3 + 6OH - N 2 + 6H 2 O Next we balance charge by adding electrons, giving CuO + H 2 O + 2e - Cu + 2OH - 2NH 3 + 6OH - N 2 + 6H 2 O + 6e - Multiplying the coefficients of the first reaction by three 3CuO + 3H 2 O + 6e - 3Cu + 6OH - 2NH 3 + 6OH - N 2 + 6H 2 O + 6e - gives each reaction the same number of electrons. Adding the reactions together and simplifying gives the final balanced reaction as 3CuO + 2NH 3 3Cu + N 2 + 3H 2 O DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 18

19 Here is an unusual example of a reaction to balance in that it has only a single identified product. Note, however, that the alternative approach still works. Example 13. Balance the following reaction, assuming that the solution is acidic. HIO 3 + HI I 2 Solution. As with previous problems, we begin by dividing the reaction into two parts. Although the reaction shows only one product, I 2, both reactants include iodine; thus, they both must be converted into I 2. This leaves us with the following two reactions HIO 3 I 2 HI I 2 Balancing iodine in both reactions leave us with Next we balance oxygen by adding H 2 O 2HIO 3 I 2 2HI I 2 2HIO 3 I 2 + 6H 2 O 2HI I 2 Because the reaction on the left has two hydrogens on the product side and 12 hydrogens on the reactant side, we need to add an additional 10 hydrogens to the products. We accomplish this by adding 10 H 3 O + ions to the reactants and 10 additional H 2 O molecules to the products (giving the products a total of 16 H 2 O molecules). Balancing hydrogen for the reaction on the right requires adding two hydrogens to the products, which we accomplish by adding two molecules of H 2 O to the reactants and two H 3 O + ions to the products. This leaves use with 2HIO H 3 O + I H 2 O 2HI + 2H 2 O I 2 + 2H 3 O + Adding electrons to balance charge 2HIO H 3 O e - I H 2 O 2HI + 2H 2 O I 2 + 2H 3 O + + 2e - and multiplying the coefficients for the second reaction by five leaves both reactions with 10 electrons; thus 2HIO H 3 O e - I H 2 O 10HI + 10H 2 O 5I H 3 O e - Combining the reactions and simplifying gives the final balanced reaction DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 19

20 HIO 3 + 5HI 3I 2 + 3H 2 O Practice Problems The following problems provide practice in meeting this module's objectives. Answers are provided on the last page. Be sure to seek assistance if you experience difficulty with any of these problems. When you are ready, schedule an appointment for the module s exam. 1. When I took high school chemistry we did an experiment where we heated a sample of ammonium dichromate, (NH 4 ) 2 Cr 2 O 7, which proceeded to erupt like a volcano, spewing out gases and leaving behind a residue of chromium oxide, Cr 2 O 3. Balance the skeletal reaction (NH 4 ) 2 Cr 2 O 7 N 2 + Cr 2 O 3 + H 2 O 2. There are relatively few reactions at room temperature that involve only solid reactants. One such reaction occurs when shaking together barium hydroxide octahydrate, Ba(OH) 2 8H 2 O, and ammonium thiocyanate, NH 4 SCN. Balance the skeletal reaction Ba(OH) 2 8H 2 O + NH 4 SCN Ba(SCN) 2 + H 2 O + NH 3 3. Balance the following skeletal reaction for the combustion of sucrose C 12 H 22 O 11 + O 2 CO 2 + H 2 O 4. Balance the following skeletal reaction for the combustion of ethanol C 2 H 6 O + O 2 CO 2 + H 2 O 5. Balance the following skeletal reaction for the combustion of benzene C 6 H 6 + O 2 CO 2 + H 2 O 6. Aspartame, C 14 H 18 N 2 O 5, was discovered by a graduate of DePauw. Balance the following skeletal reaction for its combustion C 14 H 18 N 2 O 5 + O 2 CO 2 + H 2 O + N 2 7. Hydrogen cyanide, HCN, which is a nasty, poisonous gas, is produced industrially by reacting together ammonia, oxygen, and methane. Balance the following skeletal reaction for its synthesis DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 20

21 NH 3 + O 2 + CH 4 HCN + H 2 O 8. Nitric acid, HNO 3, is produced by the Ostwald process, which consists of the following three unbalanced reactions; balance each. NH 3 + O 2 NO + H 2 O NO + O 2 NO 2 NO 2 + H 2 O HNO 3 + NO 9. Balance the following skeletal reaction of a strong acid, H +, with calcium bicarbonate, Ca(HCO 3 ) 2 H + + Ca(HCO 3 ) 2 Ca 2+ + H 2 O + CO Here is a more complicated problem to balance K 4 Fe(CN) 6 + H 2 SO 4 + H 2 O K 2 SO 4 + FeSO 4 + (NH 4 ) 2 SO 4 + CO 11. Sodium metal, Na, reacts with chlorine gas, Cl 2, to give sodium chloride, NaCl. Write a balanced chemical equation for this reaction. 12. Iron, Fe, forms a variety of iron oxides upon reacting with oxygen. Write balanced reactions showing the formation of each of the following: FeO, Fe 2 O 3, and Fe 3 O 4. In each case, the iron oxide is the reaction s only product. 13. Upon heating, lead nitrate, Pb(NO 3 ) 2, explodes, forming lead oxide, PbO, nitrogen dioxide, NO 2, and oxygen, O 2, as products. Write a balanced chemical equation for this reaction. 14. Balance the following reaction between chromate, CrO 4 -, and manganese ion, Mn 2+. You may assume that the reaction occurs in an acidic solution. CrO Mn 2+ Cr 3+ + MnO Balance the following reaction between oxalic acid, C 2 H 2 O 4, and permanganate, MnO 4 -. You may assume that the reaction occur in an acidic solution. C 2 H 2 O 4 + MnO 4 - CO 2 + Mn 2+ DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 21

22 16. Example 11 shows the balanced reaction between permanganate, MnO 4 -, and hydrogen peroxide, H 2 O 2, in an acidic solution. In a basic solution the permanganate reduces to MnO 2 instead of Mn 2+. What is the complete balanced reaction? 17. Balance the following reaction between ammonia, NH 3, and hypochlorite, OCl -, forming hydrazine, N 2 H 4, and chloride, Cl -. You may assume that the reaction occurs in a basic solution. NH 3 + OCl - N 2 H 4 + Cl Balance the following reaction in which nitrous acid, HNO 2, reacts with itself (what is commonly called a disproportionation reaction). You may assume that the reaction occurs in an acidic solution. HNO 2 NO NO Hint: Begin by writing two reactions, both of which have HNO 2 as a reactant. 19. Balance the following reaction between sulfur dioxide, SO 2, and hydrogen sulfide, H 2 S. You may assume that the reaction occurs in an acidic solution. SO 2 + H 2 S S DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 22

23 1. (NH 4 ) 2 Cr 2 O 7 N 2 + Cr 2 O 3 + 4H 2 O Answers to Practice Problems 2. Ba(OH) 2 8H 2 O + 2NH 4 SCN Ba(SCN) H 2 O + 2NH 3 3. C 12 H 22 O O 2 12CO H 2 O 4. C 2 H 6 O + 3O 2 2CO 2 + 3H 2 O 5. 2C 6 H O 2 12CO 2 + 6H 2 O 6. C 14 H 18 N 2 O O 2 14CO 2 + 9H 2 O + N NH 3 + 3O 2 + 2CH 4 2HCN + 6H 2 O 8. 4NH 3 + 5O 2 4NO + 6H 2 O 2NO + O 2 2NO 2 3NO 2 + H 2 O 2HNO 3 + NO 9. 2H + + Ca(HCO 3 ) 2 Ca H 2 O + 2CO K 4 Fe(CN) 6 + 6H 2 SO 4 + 6H 2 O 2K 2 SO 4 + FeSO 4 + 3(NH 4 ) 2 SO 4 + 6CO 11. 2Na + Cl 2 2NaCl 12. 2Fe + O 2 2FeO 4Fe + 3O 2 2Fe 2 O 3 3Fe + 2O 2 Fe 3 O Pb(NO 3 ) 2 2PbO + 4NO 2 + O CrO Mn H 3 O + 5Cr MnO H 2 O 15. 5C 2 H 2 O 4 + 2MnO H 3 O + 10CO 2 + 2Mn H 2 O 16. 2MnO H 2 O 2 2MnO 2 + 3O 2 + 2OH - + 2H 2 O DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 23

24 17. 2NH 3 + OCl - N 2 H 4 + Cl - + H 2 O 18. 3HNO 2 NO NO + H 3 O SO 2 + 2H 2 S 3S + 2H 2 O DePauw University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Page 24

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