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How to balance chemical equations

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Atoms can neither be destroyed nor created during a simple chemical reaction. Therefore, in a chemical reaction

The sum of atoms before reaction = the sum of atoms after reaction

General Rules for balancing chemical equations

The following figure gives some hints on how to balance chemical equations. Scroll down the page for more examples and solutions.

Balance Chemical Equations

Balancing chemical equations may require some trial and error. There are some general rules that could be helpful, but they may not work all the time.




In this page, we will look at some examples of applying

Rule 3: Balancing chemical equations using the CHO technique.

If you are balancing equations that have carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms then balance the carbon atoms first, the hydrogen atoms second and the oxygen atoms last.

Example:

Balance the chemical equation

C5H12 + O2 → CO2 + H2O

Solution:

Step 1: Start with C. To balance the C put the coefficient of 5 for CO2

C5H12 + O2 → 5CO2 + H2O

Step 2: Then, balance the H by placing the coefficient of 6 for H2O

C5H12 + O2 → 5CO2 + 6H2O

Step 3: Lastly, balance the O by placing the coefficient of 8 for O2

C5H12 + 8O2 → 5CO2 + 6H2O

Step 4: Check that all the atoms balance and make sure that all coefficients are in the lowest-possible ratio.

The following videos show some examples of using the CHO method to balance chemical equations.

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