Generally, many students struggle with balancing chemical equations in class and resort to professional experts to help them out. There are several reasons behind this, such as:

 
  • · Lack of knowledge of valency of atoms in reacting compounds

  • · Incorrect notion of compound formulae

  • · Poor understanding of the balancing rules for chemical equations

  • · Tendency to change the compound formulae during balancing

 

No wonder most students prefer to seek chemistry assignment help from professional experts. However, you can’t possibly keep relying on such services to help you out every time. So instead, the best option is to master the art of balancing chemical equations yourself.

 Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to balance any equation accurately:

Step 1 – Note down the unbalanced equation 

The first step to balancing a chemical equation is to write down the unbalanced equation clearly on paper. Now, if you're lucky, your assignment should already provide you with the equation form. However, in many cases, you might have to decipher it yourself. For example:

Sodium phosphate and calcium chloride react to form calcium phosphate and sodium chloride.

 

In this case, the equation is in the word form. The unbalanced equation for this would be:

Na3PO4 + CaCl2 => NaCl + Ca3(PO4)2

 The left side constitutes the reactants, while the right constitutes the products. However, if you struggle to identify elements and their formulas, it is best to study the Periodic Table thoroughly before seeking science homework help from professionals.
 

Step 2 – Write down the number of atoms

In the second step of balancing an equation, you need to determine the number of elements present in the atoms on each side of the arrow. Since the subscript number indicates the number of atoms, you can figure out:

On the reactant side:

 

3 Na

 

1 P

 

4 O

 

1 Ca

 

2 Cl

 

On the product side:

 

1 Na

 

1 Cl

 

3 Ca

 

2 P

 

8 O

 

Since the number of atoms of each element is not the same, it's safe to conclude that the equation is unbalanced. Since the Law of Conservation of Mass states that you cannot create or destroy mass, you must add coefficients in front of the elements to ensure the atoms are balanced on both sides.

 

Step 3 – Balance the mass by adding coefficients

 

Most students wonder, "I wish someone could write my assignment” when balancing chemicals because they make one crucial mistake: changing the subscripts. It would be best to remember that you cannot change the subscripts. Instead, the only option is to add coefficients.

 

Now, using the methods of inspection, you must balance the atoms present in a single molecule of a reactant and product before you move on to balancing the hydrogen and oxygen.

 

For example,

 

Na3PO4 + CaCl2 => NaCl + Ca3(PO4)2

 

In this equation, there are 3 atoms of Na on the reactant side but only one on the product side. So, logically, you should add coefficient 3 to NaCl to balance the Na.

 

However, the reactant side has only 2 atoms of Cl, while 3 NaCl would include 3 atoms of Cl. Hence, to balance the Cl, you must add the coefficient 3 to CaCl2 on the reactant side and 6 to NaCl on the product side. Now the equation becomes:

 

Na3PO4 + 3 CaCl2 => 6 NaCl + Ca3(PO4)2

 

Step 4 – Keep balancing oxygen and hydrogen atoms for last

 

Following the same observation methods, you can balance the oxygen in the equation. In the end, the balanced equation is:

 

2 Na3PO4 + 3 CaCl2 => 6 NaCl + Ca3(PO4)2

 

You can apply these steps to any unbalanced equation and balance them in no time. However, it takes a lot of practice to become an expert in this. So, don't let the fear of balancing chemical equations keep you from giving it your best shot.

Summary:

Students have Struggled with balancing chemical equations throughout their higher secondary years. Hence, this article explores the 4 simple steps you should follow to balance any equation correctly.