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GENERAL CHEMISTRY
Types of Chemical Reactions and Balancing Equations
Reference: Chang, R. (2002). Chemistry 7th edition. NY: McGraw-Hill Co. Inc.

TYPES OF CHEMICAL REACTIONS

1. Combination/Synthesis – formation of a compound or complex substance through the reaction of two


elements or simpler substances.
Examples: 2H2 + O2  2H2O + heat
2C7H6O2 + 15O2  14CO2 + 6H2O + heat
CaO + CO2  CaCO3

2. Decomposition/Analysis – breakdown of a compound into other compounds and/or elements.


Examples: 2H2O  2H2 + O2
2HgO  2Hg + O2
CaCO3  CaO + CO2

3. Single Replacement/Single Displacement – the more reactive element replaces the less reactive
element in a compound.
Examples: 2Mg + TiCl4  2MgCl2 + Ti
Zn + CuSO4  ZnSO4 + Cu

4. Double Replacement/Double Displacement – (also called metathesis), exchange of “partners” to form


an insoluble salt
Examples: BaCl2 + NaSO4  2NaCl + BaSO4
Na2CO3 + Ba(OH)2  BaCO3 + 2NaOH

Chemical Equation – representation of a chemical reaction; reactants are written on the left side,
products at the right of the ARROW.

 “+” means reacts with; “→” to yield


 Reactants – starting materials in a chemical reaction
 Products – the substance formed as a result of a chemical reaction
 Reactants  Products
 The physical states of the reactants and products are often written by using the letters g, l, and s to
denote gas, liquid, and solid respectively
o Example: 2CO(g) + O2(g)  2CO2(g)
2HgO(s)  2Hg(l) + O2(g)
NaCl(s) + H2O  NaCl(aq) aq – aqueous, meaning, in water

Law of Conservation of Mass – in a chemical reaction, the total mass of reactants equals total mass of
the products.

Stoichiometric Coefficients – numbers written before a substance in balancing an equation:


Example: Give a balanced chemical equation to the following reaction:
PCl3+ Cl2 + P4O1o  10POCl3 (balance O)
6PCl2 + Cl2  P4O10  10POCl3 (balance P)
6PCl3 + 6Cl2 + P4O10  10POCl3 (balance Cl)
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GENERAL CHEMISTRY
Types of Chemical Reactions and Balancing Equations
Reference: Chang, R. (2002). Chemistry 7th edition. NY: McGraw-Hill Co. Inc.

RULES IN BALANCING EQUATIONS

1. Identify all the reactants and products and write their correct formulas on the left side and right
side of the equation respectively.
2. Begin balancing the equation by trying different coefficients to make the number of atoms of
each element the same on both sides of the equation.
 The coefficients may be changed (the numbers preceding the formulas) but not the
subscripts (the numbers within formulas) because it would change the identity of the
substance
 Example: 2NO2 means two molecules of nitrogen dioxide; it is different with N2O4
3. First, look for elements that appear only once on each side of the equation with the same number
of atoms on each side: the formulas containing these elements must have the same coefficient.
Therefore, there is no need to adjust the coefficient of these elements at this point.
4. Next, look for the elements that appear only once on each side of the equation but in unequal
numbers of atoms. Balance these elements.
5. Finally, balance the elements that appear in two or more formulas on the same side of the
equation.
6. Check your balanced equation to be sure that you have the same total number of each type of
atoms on both sides of the equation arrow.

Example:

KClO3 → KCl + O2 K and Cl are balanced except for O


2KClO3 →KCl + 3O2 Make the no. of O the same on both sides
2KClO3 + 2KCl +3O2 Finally balance K and Cl
Checking:
Reactants Products
K (2) K (2)
Cl (2) Cl (2)
O (6) O (6)

NOTE: This equation could also be balanced with coefficients which are multiples of 2 (for KClO3), 2
(for KCl), and 3 (for O2)
Example: 4KClO3 → 4KCl + 6O2
It is common practice to use the SIMPLEST possible set of whole-number coefficients to balance the
equation.

COMBUSTION REACTIONS
 hydrocarbons (composed of C, H, and O) reacts with oxygen to yield carbon dioxide and water
o CnH2n+2 + O2 → CO2 + H2O

 Example: C2H6 + O2  CO2 + H2O


C2H6 + O2  2CO2 + H2O
C2H6 + O2  2CO2 + 3H2O
C2H6 + 7/2O2  2CO2 + 3H2O
2C2H6 + 7O2 → 4CO2 + 6H2O