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Balancing Chemical Equations

Balancing Chemical Equations

Introduction: The notion of balancing quantities when you bake brownies or cook a meal is incredibly important, in that it allows for you to make exactly what you want. The idea of balancing quantities also applies to various industrial processes. This idea of balancing quantities applies to balancing chemical equations, a process in which the number of moles of reactants and products are kept the same on both sides of a chemical equation using specific coefficients, or numbers in front of each species. An example of balancing chemical equations applies to the adding of the appropriate amount of baking powder to milk to allow baked goods to rise.

Chemical equations can be balanced by ensuring that the number of atoms of both sides of a reaction arrow are exactly the same. This process requires a trial-and-error process, changing variables back and forth until all of the atoms of every element are balanced on both sides. Chemical equations are always balanced by using coefficients, rather than by changing any of the subscripts. It is important to note that, in balancing chemical equations, the coefficient applies to every atom of every element in the specific compound to which the coefficient applies.

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