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* Elements, Compounds, Mixtures - Part 3 Writing Balanced Equations *

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ELEMENTS, COMPOUNDS and MIXTURES


and their separation, CHEMICAL
REACTIONS and EQUATIONS

Revision Notes for KS3 Science and KS4


Science GCSE-IGCSE Chemistry on some
basic ideas and chemical concepts

Part 1 Some important definitions in Chemistry, Elements, Compounds


Mixture pictures and Physical & Chemical Changes

Part 2 Methods of Separating Mixtures

Part 3 How to write equations, valency, work out formula &


name compounds (this page)

* EMAIL query?comment * Alphabetical list of KEYWORDS for Parts 1-3:


atom * balancing equations (work your way down the section carefully) *
centrifuges/centrifuging * chemical reaction/change * chromatography
(paper/thin layer) * compound * covalency * crystallisation *
decanting/decantation * displayed formula * distillation
(simple/fractional) * element * equations * evaporation * filtration *
formula * impure/pure * insoluble * ionic equations * ionic valency *
iron-sulphur separation and heating experiment * magnet * mixture *
molecule * naming compounds and ions * particle pictures of
elements/compounds/mixtures * physical change * precipitation *
products * pure substance * purification * reactants * sand/salt
separation * separating funnel * separating mixtures *
soluble/solution/solvent/solute * solvent extraction * symbols (for
elements, formula, in equations) * state symbols * valency * working
out formulae *

Spelling note: sulphur = sulfur, sulphuric acid = sulfuric acid, sulphate =


sulfate, sulphite = sulfite, aluminium = aluminum (US)
See other web page for:

States of Matter - kinetic particle theory of Gases, Liquids and Solids


revision notes

KS3-GCSE Types of Chemical Reaction revision notes

GCSE Chemical Bonding revision notes (ionic, covalent, metallic etc.)

QUESTIONS:

GCSE balancing and completing equation exercises:

(1) multiple choice * (2) number/word multi-fill

GCSE 'name and formula' of a compound quizzes

(1) pick the name given the formula * (2) pick the formula given the
chemical name

GCSE formula quiz given the name, type in the formula

GCSE name quiz given the formula, type in the name

KS3-GCSE Elements, Compounds & Mixtures m/c QUIZ (in KS3 Science
section of website)

KS3-GCSE element name/symbol quiz

THE CONSTRUCTION OF CHEMICAL EQUATIONS

"How to write and understand chemical equations" (3rd draft)

Seven equations are presented, but approached in the following way

The individual symbols and formulae are explained

The word equation is presented to summarise the change of reactants to products.

A balanced 'picture' equation which helps you understand reading formulae and atom
counting to balance the equation.

The fully written out symbol equation with state symbols (often optional for starter
students).

Chemical Symbols and Formula


For any reaction, what you start with are called the reactants, and what you form are called the
products.

So any chemical equation shows in some way the overall chemical change of ...

REACTANTS ==> PRODUCTS, which can be written in words or symbols/formulae.

It is most important you read about formula in an earlier section of this page.

Empirical formula and molecular formula are dealt with on another page.

In the equations outlined below several things have been deliberately simplified. This is to allow
the 'starter' chemistry student to concentrate on understanding formulae and balancing chemical
equations. Some teachers may disagree with this approach BUT my simplifications are:

The word 'molecule' is sometimes loosely used to mean a 'formula'.

The real 3D shape of the 'molecule' and the 'relative size' of the different element atoms is ignored.

If the compound is ionic, the ion structure and charge is ignored, its just treated as a 'formula'.

Chemical word equations

==> means the direction of change from reactants == to ==> products

No symbols or numbers are used in word equations.

Always try to fit all the words neatly lined up from left to right, especially if its a long word
equation.

Chemical picture equations and Rules on Balancing Symbol equations

Writing the correct symbol or formula for each equation component.

Numbers in a formula are written as subscripts after the number of atoms of the element
concerned

e.g. H2SO4 means 2 H's, 1 S and 4 O's

or the subscript number can double, treble etc. a part of the formula

e.g. Ca(OH)2 means 1 Ca and 2 OH's (or 2 O's and 2 H's in total)
Numbers before a formula double or treble it etc.

e.g. 2NaCl means 2 Na's and 2 Cl's in total

or 2H2SO4 means 2 x H2SO4 = 4 H's, 2 S's and 8 O's in total

NOTE: If the number is 1 itself, by convention, no number is shown in a formula or before a


formula.

Using numbers if necessary to balance the equation.

If all is correct, then the sum of atoms for each element should be the same on both side of
the equation arrow .....

in other words: atoms of products = atoms of reactants

This is a chemical conservation law of atoms and later it may be described as the 'law of
conservation of mass.

the 7 equations are first presented in 'picture' style and then written out fully with state
symbols

The individual formulas involved and the word equations will be been presented in the
examples below.

PRACTICE QUESTIONS - on words and symbol equations (on other web pages)

Multiple choice quiz on balancing numbers

Balancing number/formula-fill exercises

Reactions of acids with metals, oxides, hydroxides, carbonates and ammonia.

1. A single symbol means an uncombined single atom of the element, or Fe 1 atom of iron,

or S 1 atom of sulphur (2Fe would mean two atoms, 5S would mean five sulphur atoms
etc.)

or the formula FeS means one atom of iron is chemically combined with 1 atom of
sulphur to form the compound called iron sulphide

iron + sulphur ==> iron sulphide


on average one atom of iron chemically combines with one atom of iron forming one
molecule of iron sulphide

two elements chemically combining to form a new compound

Fe(s) + S(s) ==> FeS(s)

Atom balancing, sum left = sum right: 1Fe + 1S = (1Fe combined with 1S)

All the reactants (what you start with) and all the products (what is formed) are all solids in this
case.

When first learning symbol equations you probably won't use state symbols like (s) at first (see end
note).

2. or the formula NaOH means 1 atom of sodium is combined with 1 atom of


oxygen and 1 atom of hydrogen to form the compound called sodium hydroxide

or the formula HCl means 1 atom of hydrogen is combined with 1 atom of chlorine to
form 1 molecule of the compound called hydrochloric acid

or the formula NaCl means 1 atom of sodium are combined with 1 atom chlorine to
form the compound called sodium chloride

or the formula H2O means 2 atoms of hydrogen are chemically combined with 1 atom
of oxygen to form the compound called water.

sodium hydroxide + hydrochloric acid ==> sodium chloride + water

the reactants are one molecule of sodium hydroxide and one molecule of hydrochloric acid

the products are one molecule of sodium chloride and one molecule of water

all chemicals involved are compounds

NaOH(aq) + HCl(aq) ==> NaCl(aq) + H2O(l)

atom balancing, sum left = right: (1Na + 1O + 1H) + (1H + 1Cl) = (1Na + 1Cl) + (2H + 1O)

3. or the symbol Mg means 1 atom of the element called magnesium


or 2HCl means two separate molecules of the compound called
hydrochloric acid (see example 2)

or the formula MgCl2 means 1 formula of the compound called magnesium


chloride, made of one atom of magnesium and two atoms of chlorine.

or the formula H2 means 1 molecule of the element called hydrogen made up of two
joined hydrogen atoms

magnesium + hydrochloric acid ==> magnesium chloride + hydrogen

one atom of magnesium reacts with two molecules of hydrochloric acid

the products are one molecule of magnesium chloride and one molecule of hydrogen

Mg and H-H are elements, H-Cl and Cl-Mg-Cl are compounds

Mg(s) + 2HCl(aq) ==> MgCl2(aq) + H2(g)

atom balancing, sum left = right: (1Mg) + 2 x (1H + 1Cl) = (1Mg + 2Cl) + (2H)

4. or the formula CuCO3 means one formula of the compound called copper
carbonate, made up of one atom of copper is combined with one atom of carbon and three atoms
of oxygen to form the compound copper carbonate

or the formula H2SO4 means one formula of the compound called


sulphuric acid, which is made up of two atoms of hydrogen, one atom of sulphur and four atoms of
oxygen
or the formula CuSO4 means one formula of the compound called copper
sulphate which is made up of one atom of copper, one atom of sulphur and four atoms of oxygen

H2O (example 2)

or the formula CO2 means one molecule of the compound called carbon dioxide
which is a chemical combination of one atom of carbon and two atoms of oxygen.

copper carbonate + sulphuric acid ==> copper sulphate + water + carbon dioxide

the reactants are one formula of copper carbonate and one molecule of sulphuric acid

the products are one formula of copper sulphate, one molecule of water and one molecule
of carbon dioxide

all molecules are compounds in this reaction

CuCO3(s) + H2SO4(aq) ==> CuSO4(aq) + H2O(l) + CO2(g)

balancing sum left = sum right: (1Cu + 1C + 3O) + (2H + 1S + 4O) = (1Cu + 1S + 4O) + (2H +
1O) + (1C + 2O)

5. or the formula CH4 means one molecule of the compound called methane
which is made of one atom of carbon combined with four atoms of hydrogen

or 2O2 means two separate molecules of the element called oxygen,


and each oxygen molecule consists of two atoms of oxygen

CO2 (see also example 4)

or 2H2O means two separate molecules of the compound called


water (see also example 2)

methane + oxygen ==> carbon dioxide + water

Using displayed formula the equation would look like this ...

... in which every individual atom is shown and how it is bonded ('connected') with other atoms in
the molecule. All the dashes represent the covalent bonds between the atoms in the molecules.

one molecule of methane is completely burned by two molecules of oxygen

to form one molecule of carbon dioxide and two molecules of water

CH4(g) + 2O2(g) ==> CO2(g) + 2H2O(l)

atom balancing, sum left = sum right: (1C + 4H) + 2 x (2O) = (1C + 2O) + 2 x (2H + 1O)

6. or the formula Mg(OH)2 is the compound magnesium hydroxide made up of one


magnesium, two oxygen and two hydrogen atoms BUT the OH is a particular combination called
hydroxide within a compound, so it is best to think of this compound as a combination of an Mg
and two OH's, hence the use of the ( ). The subscripted 2 doubles everything in the brackets.

or 2HNO3 means two separate molecules of the compound nitric


acid, each molecule is made up of one hydrogen atom, one nitrogen atom and three oxygen
atoms.

or the formula Mg(NO3)2 is the compound magnesium nitrate, it consists of


a magnesium (ion) and two 'nitrates' (ions), each nitrate consists of one nitrogen and three oxygen
atoms, again the nitrate is a particular combination of atoms within a compound and hence the use
of ( ) again.

or 2H2O meaning two molecules of the compound water (see


also examples 2 and 5)

magnesium hydroxide + nitric acid ==> magnesium nitrate + water

one formula of magnesium hydroxide reacts with two molecules of nitric acid to form one
formula of magnesium nitrate and two molecules of water (all compounds)

Mg(OH)2(aq) + 2HNO3(aq) ==> Mg(NO3)2(aq) + 2H2O(l)

atom balancing, sum left = sum right: (1Mg + 2O + 2H) + 2 x (1H + 1N + 3O) = (1Mg + 2N +
6O) + 2 x (2H + 1O)

7. or the formula Al2O3 means one formula of the compound


called aluminium oxide, made up of two atoms of aluminium Al and three atoms of oxygen O

or 3H2SO4 meaning
three molecules of the compound called sulphuric acid (see also example 4)

or the formula Al2(SO4)3 means one formula of the


compound called aluminium sulphate, it consists of two aluminium, three sulphur and twelve
oxygen atoms BUT the SO4 is a particular grouping called sulphate, so it is best to think of the
compound as a combination of two Al's and three SO4's

or 3H2O means three separate molecules of the


compound called water (see also examples 2 and 5)

aluminium oxide + sulphuric acid ==> aluminium sulphate + water


one formula of aluminium oxide reacts with three molecules of sulphuric acid

to form one formula of aluminium sulphate and three molecules of water

note the first use of numbers (3) for the sulphuric acid and water!

so picture three of them in your head, otherwise the picture gets a bit big!

Al2O3(s) + 3H2SO4(aq) ==> Al2(SO4)3(aq) + 3H2O(l)

atom balancing, sum left = sum right: (2Al + 3O) + 3 x (2H + 1S + 4O) = (2Al + 3S + 12O) + 3 x
(2H + 1O)

GCSE-AS-A2-IB note: Aluminium sulfate is actually an ionic compound (Al3+)2(SO42-)3

NOTE 1: means a reversible reaction, it can be made to go the 'other way' if the conditions
are changed. Example:

nitrogen + hydrogen ammonia

N2(g) + 3H2(g) 2NH3(g)

balancing: 2 nitrogen's and 6 hydrogen's on both sides of equation


Note 2 on the state symbols X(?) of reactants or products in equations

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

and (aq) means aqueous solution or dissolved in water

e.g. carbon dioxide gas CO2(g), liquid water H2O(l), solid sodium chloride 'salt' NaCl(s)

and copper sulphate solution CuSO4(aq)

IONIC EQUATIONS (for higher GCSE and AS students)

In many reactions only certain ions change their 'chemical state' but other ions remain in
exactly the same original physical and chemical state.

The ions that do not change physically or chemically are called 'spectator ions'.

The ionic equation represents the 'actual' chemical change and omits the spectator ions.

Five types of examples of ionic equations are presented below including neutralisation, salt
precipitation and redox equations.
(1) Acid-base reactions: Acids can be defined as proton donors. A base can be defined as a
proton acceptor.

e.g. any acid-alkali neutralisation involves the hydroxide ion is (base) and this accepts a proton
from an acid.

HCl(aq) + NaOH(aq) ==> NaCl(aq) + H2O(l) which can be re-written ionically as

H+Cl-(aq) + Na+OH-(aq) ==> Na+Cl-(aq) + H2O(l)

or: H+ + Cl-(aq) + Na+ + OH-(aq) ==> Na+ + Cl-(aq) + H2O(l)

H+(aq) + OH-(aq) ==> H2O(l) which is the ionic equation for neutralisation

the spectator ions are chloride Cl- and sodium Na+

(2) Insoluble salt formation: An insoluble salt is made by mixing two solutions of soluble
compounds to form the insoluble compound in a process called 'precipitation'. A
precipitation reaction is generally defined as 'the formation of an insoluble solid on mixing
two solutions or a bubbling a gas into a solution'.

(a) Silver chloride is made by mixing solutions of solutions of silver nitrate and sodium chloride.

silver nitrate + sodium chloride ==> silver chloride + sodium nitrate

AgNO3(aq) + NaCl(aq) ==> AgCl(s) + NaNO3(aq)

in terms of ions it could be written as

Ag+NO3-(aq) + Na+Cl-(aq) ==> AgCl(s) + Na+NO3-(aq)

or: Ag+ + NO3-(aq) + Na+ + Cl-(aq) ==> AgCl(s) + Na+ + NO3-(aq)

but the spectator ions are nitrate NO3- and sodium Na+ which do not change at all,

so the ionic equation is simply: Ag+(aq) + Cl-(aq) ==> AgCl(s)

Note that ionic equations omit ions that do not change there chemical or physical state.

In this case the nitrate (NO3-(aq)) and sodium (Na+(aq)) ions do not change physically or chemically
and are called spectator ions,

BUT the aqueous silver ion, Ag+(aq), combines with the aqueous chloride ion, Cl-(aq), to form the
insoluble salt silver chloride, AgCl(s), thereby changing their states both chemically and physically.

(b) Lead(II) iodide, a yellow precipitate (insoluble in water!) can be made by mixing lead(II)
nitrate solution with e.g. potassium iodide solution.

lead(II) nitrate + potassium iodide ==> lead(II) iodide + potassium nitrate


Pb(NO3)2(aq) + 2KI(aq) ==> PbI2(s) + 2KNO3(aq)

which can be written as

Pb2+(aq) + 2NO3-(aq) + 2K+(aq) + 2I-(aq) ==> PbI2(s) + 2K+(aq) + 2NO3-(aq)

the ionic equation is: Pb2+(aq) + 2I-(aq) ==> PbI2(s)

because the spectator ions are nitrate NO3- and potassium K+.

(c) Calcium carbonate, a white precipitate, forms on e.g. mixing calcium chloride and sodium
carbonate solutions ...

calcium chloride + sodium carbonate ==> calcium carbonate + sodium chloride

CaCl2(aq) + Na2CO3(aq) ==> CaCO3(s) + 2NaCl(aq)

Ca2+(aq) + 2Cl-(aq) + 2Na+(aq) + CO32-(aq) ==> CaCO3(s) + 2Na+(aq) + 2Cl-(aq)

ionically: Ca2+(aq) + CO32-(aq) ==> CaCO3(s)

because the spectator ions are chloride Cl- and sodium Na+.

(d) Barium sulphate, a white precipitate, forms on mixing e.g. barium chloride and dilute
sulphuric acid ...

barium chloride + sulphuric acid ==> barium sulphate + hydrochloric acid

BaCl2(aq) + H2SO4(aq) ==> BaSO4(s) + 2HCl(aq)

Ba2+(aq) + 2Cl-(aq) + 2H+(aq) + SO42-(aq) ==> BaSO4(s) + 2H+(aq) + 2Cl-(aq)

ionic equation: Ba2+(aq) + SO42-(aq) ==> BaSO4(s)

because the spectator ions are chloride Cl- and hydrogen H+.

(3) Redox reaction analysis:

(a) magnesium + iron(II) sulphate ==> magnesium sulphate + iron

Mg(s) + FeSO4(aq) ==> MgSO4(aq) + Fe(s)

this is the 'ordinary molecular' equation for a typical metal displacement reaction, but this does
not really show what happens in terms of atoms, ions and electrons, so we use ionic equations
like the one shown below.

Mg(s) + Fe2+SO42-(aq) ==> Mg2+SO42-(aq) + Fe(s)

The sulphate ion SO42-(aq) is the spectator ion, because it doesn't change in the reaction and can
be omitted from the ionic equation. No electrons show up in the full equations because
electrons lost by Mg must equal the electrons gained by Fe.

so the ionic-redox equation is

Mg(s) + Fe2+(aq) ==> Mg2+(aq) + Fe(s)

Mg oxidised by electron loss, Fe2+ reduced by electron gain

(b) zinc + hydrochloric acid ==> zinc chloride + hydrogen

Zn(s) + 2HCl(aq) ==> ZnCl2(aq) + H2(g)

Zn(s) + 2H+(aq) + 2Cl-(aq) ==> Zn2+(aq) + 2Cl-(aq) + H2(g)

the chloride ion Cl- is the spectator ion

Zn(s) + 2H+(aq) ==> Zn2+(aq) + H2(g)

Zinc atoms, Zn, oxidised by electron loss and hydrogen ions, H+, are reduced by electron gain

(c) copper + silver nitrate ==> silver + copper(II) nitrate

Cu(s) + 2AgNO3(aq) ==> 2Ag + Cu(NO3)2(aq)

the nitrate ion NO3- is the spectator ion

Cu(s) + 2Ag+(aq) ==> 2Ag(s) + Cu2+(aq)

Cu oxidised by electron loss, Ag+ reduced by electron gain

(d) halogen (more reactive) + halide salt (of less reactive halogen) ==> halide salt (of more
reactive halogen) + halogen (less reactive)

X2(aq) + 2K+Y(aq) ==> 2K+X(aq) + Y2(aq)

X2(aq) + 2Y-(aq) ==> 2X-(aq) + Y2(aq)

the potassium ion K+ is the spectator ion

halogen X is more reactive than halogen Y, F > Cl > Br > I)

X is the oxidising agent (electron acceptor, so is reduced)

KY or Y- is the reducing agent (electron donor, so is oxidised)

(4) Ion Exchange Resins: Ion exchange polymer resin columns hold hydrogen ions or sodium
ions. These can be replaced by calcium and magnesium ions when hard water passes down the
column. The calcium or magnesium ions are held on the negatively charged resin. The freed
hydrogen or sodium ions do not form a scum with soap.

e.g. 2[resin]-H+(s) + Ca2+(aq) ==> [resin]-Ca2+[resin]-(s) + 2H+(aq)

or 2[resin]-Na+(s) + Mg2+(aq) ==> [resin]-Mg2+[resin]-(s) + 2Na+(aq) etc.

(5) Scum formation with hard water: On mixing hard water with soaps made from the sodium
salts of fatty acids, insoluble calcium or magnesium salts of the soap are formed as a grey
precipitate ...

CaSO4(aq) + 2C17H35COONa(aq) ==> (C17H35COO)2Ca(s for scum!) + Na2SO4(aq)

or more simply ionically: Ca2+(aq) + 2C17H35COO-(aq) ==> (C17H35COO-)2Ca2+(s)

the spectator ions are SO42- and Na+

VALENCY - COMBINING POWER - FORMULA


DEDUCTION
The valency of an atom or group of atoms is its numerical combining power
with other atoms or groups of atoms.

The theory behind this, is all about stable electron structures!

The combining power or valency is related to the number of outer


electrons.

You need to consult the page on "Bonding" to get the electronic


background.

A group of atoms, which is part of a formula, with a definite


composition, is sometimes referred to as a radical.

In the case of ions, the charge on the ion is its valency or combining
power (list below).

To work out a formula by combining 'A' with 'B' the rule is:

number of 'A' x valency of 'A' = number of 'B' x valency of 'B',

However it is easier perhaps? to grasp with ionic compound formulae.

In the electrically balanced stable formula, the total positive ionic charge
must equal the total negative ionic charge. Example:

Aluminium oxide consists of aluminium ions Al3+ and oxide ions O2-

number of Al3+ x charge on Al3+ = number of O2- x charge on O2-

the simplest numbers are 2 of Al3+ x 3 = 3 of O2- x 2 (total 6+ balances


total 6-)

so the simplest whole number formula for aluminium oxide is Al2O3


Examples of ionic
combining power of ions
(table left) valency =
numerical charge value.
Examples of covalent
combining power of
atoms (valencies below)

• Hydrogen H (1)
• Chlorine Cl and
other halogens
(1)
• Oxygen O and
sulphur S (2)
• Boron B and
aluminium Al (3)
• Nitrogen (3, 4, 5)
• Carbon C and silicon Si (4)
• Phosphorus (P 3,5)

Examples of working out covalent formulae


deduced formula of A +
'A' (valency) 'B' (valency)
B
balances 4 of hydrogen H
1 of carbon C (4) 1 x 4 = 4 x 1 = CH4
(1)
1 of nitrogen (3) balances 3 of chlorine Cl (1) 1 x 3 = 3 x 1 = NCl3
1 of carbon C (4) balances 2 of oxygen O (2) 1 x 4 = 2 x 2 = CO2
The diagram on the
left illustrates the three
covalent examples
above for

methane CH4

nitrogen trichloride
NCl3

carbon dioxide CO2

Examples of working out ionic formulae


numerically charge = valency of A or B to deduce the formula, 'molecular' or
ionic style and compound name
2 of Na+ balances 1 of O2- because 2 x 1 = 1 x 2 = Na2O or (Na+)2O2- sodium
oxide
1 of Mg2+ balances 2 of Cl- because 1 x 2 = 2 x 1 = MgCl2 or Mg2+(Cl-)2
magnesium chloride
1 of Fe3+ balances 3 of F- because 1 x 3 = 3 x 1 = FeF3 or Fe3+(F-)3 iron(III)
fluoride
1 of Ca2+ balances 2 of NO3- because 1 x 2 = 2 x 1 = Ca(NO3)2 or Ca2+(NO3-)2
calcium nitrate
2 of Fe3+ balances 3 of SO42- because 2 x 3 = 3 x 2 = Fe2(SO4)3 or
(Fe3+)2(SO42-)3 iron(III) sulphate

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