How to balance the chemical equation?

The need of balancing the chemical equation.

The law of conservation of mass , “ Mass can neither be created nor be destroyed during any chemical change”.

So the number of atoms on both RHS and LHS must be equal in the chemical equation.

We have to check the total number of atoms on RHS is equal to the total number of atoms on RHS.

If the total number of atoms on LHS is not equal to RHS , then we have to balance the equation.

here are some steps to balance a chemical reaction. for understanding it better lets take an example that can help us:-

Fe   +  H2O ——–> Fe3O4 + H2

the above reaction which is not balanced but it simply tell us about the reactants and products is a Skeletal chemical equation.

now lets balance it, you are adviced to read it again and again.

1. Step 1 :- write down the complete chemical equation and make separate brackets around the formulae. lets take an example As shown below:-

(Fe)   + (H2O) ——–> (Fe3O4 ) + (H2)

Step 2 : the number of atoms of different elements present in unbalanced equation.

ElementNumber of atoms on LHS (reactants)Number of atoms on RHS (products)

Step 3 : (a) start from balancing the compound containing maximum number of atoms. This can be a reactant or product.
(b) now select the element with maximum number of atoms.
So from here we can choose Fe3O and balance the O first.

Atoms of OxygenIn reactantsIn Products
(ii)To balance
1 (in H2O)
1 X 4
4 (in Fe3O4)

 (Fe)   + 4 (H2O) ——–> (Fe3O4 ) + (H2)

Step 4: Now balance H atoms similarily.

Atoms of  hydrogenIn reactantsIn products
(ii)To balance
8 (in 4H2O  )
2 (in  H2   )
2 X 4

 (Fe)   + 4 (H2O) ——–> (Fe3O4 ) + 4 (H2)

Step 5: Now balance Fe atoms similarily

Atoms of IronIn reactantsIn products
(ii)To balance
1 (in Fe)
1 X 3
3 (in Fe3O4   )

 3(Fe)   + 4 (H2O) ——–> (Fe3O4 ) + 4 (H2)

Step 6: check for the corrections , count the number of atoms on LHS and RHS after removing the brackets.

3Fe   + 4 H2O ——–> Fe3O4 + 4 H2

ElementNumber of atoms on LHS (reactants)Number of atoms on RHS (products)

Step 7 :Now put the symbols of physical states in brackets after the formulas

3Fe(s)  + 4 H2O(l) ——–> Fe3O4 (s) + 4 H2(g)

(s)- solid, (g)- gas , (l)- liquid

Thanks for reading

Published by Ankush Sharma

I am M.Sc (chemistry ) from Punjabi University Patiala. I am a science teacher with expertise in chemistry, with 8 years of experience in teaching. Writing and blogging is my hobby, I write whenever I am free. I am constantly working on creating a new and easy way of learning the tough things in an effective way. I am constantly working to make authentic and reliable information to be shared with my students and widen the horizons of knowledge.

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