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by Michael Clark
Success in studying Chemistry depends upon the familiarity of students with
a few basic ideas, conventions, and methods upon which later studies are built.
This small book presents these basic ideas, conventions and methods. When
a student has achieved mastery of them, further studies can be pursued with
greater confidence. Without mastery of them, students are likely to find higher
levels of study in Chemistry difficult.
Three basic areas are developed:
1. use of chemical symbols and formulae, (with a simple
introduction to bonding)
2. writing chemical equations,
3. calculations involving moles (solids, gases, and solutions).
There is no reference to laboratory activities in this book. This is not to
suggest, however, that laboratory experience with chemical substances and
their reactions is not a vital part of learning Chemistry.
While theoretical rigour is a desirable objective in Chemistry courses, it is not
always appropriate for beginning courses. In some of the pages that follow,
theoretical rigour has been sacrificed to the need for simplicity. A more
rigorous treatment of some of these topics can be developed after a student has
mastered the essential basics.
BASIC IDEAS IN CHEMISTRY is not intended to stand alone as a text in
its own right, but rather to provide a supplement to other text-books, to which
students must return for more detailed and theoretical development of the
topics covered in this book.
1. Chemical symbols and formulae
a) Elements and symbols
b) Compounds and formulae
c) Writing names and formulae of ionic compounds
d) List of names and formulae of common ions
e) Practice exercises for writing formulae
f) Introduction to Bonding Theory and explanation
of rules for writing formulae.

2. Chemical equations
a) What balancing an equation means
b) How to balance equations by inspection
c) Summary and practice exercises in balancing
simple chemical equations
d) Molecular and ionic equations, and spectator
Redox reactions and redox equations
a) Definitions
b) Identifying redox reactions
c) Oxidation states
d) Writing redox equations : oxidation state method
e) Writing redox equations : half-equation method

Moles and mole calculations
a) Introduction
b) Definition of a mole and of molar mass
c) Percentage composition
d) Use of molar mass to predict reacting masses
e) Calculations involving gases
f) Calculations involving solutions
g) Calculations combining masses, gas volumes,
and concentrations of solutions
h) Answers to exercises
All chemical substances are made up of atoms. Substances made of only one kind
of atom are called elements. There are about ninety different chemical elements that
occur naturally on Earth. Of these, some are very rare. About twenty-five to thirty
elements are regarded as "common" or "well-known".
Each chemical element is known by its SYMBOL, comprised of one or two letters.
The symbols of common elements should be memorised thoroughly, and less
common ones might also be learnt as they come to attention.
The following list of symbols and the elements they represent should be
memorised. They are listed by atomic number, (which is the number of protons
present in the nucleus of an atom of the element: see page 11 ):
1. H = hydrogen
6. C = carbon
7. N = nitrogen
8. O = oxygen
11. Na = sodium
12. Mg = magnesium
13. Al = aluminium
14. Si = silicon
15. P = phosphorus
16. S = sulfur
17. Cl = chlorine
19. K = potassium
20. Ca = calcium
22. Ti = titanium
24. Cr = chromium
25. Mn = manganese
26. Fe = iron
29. Cu = copper
30. Zn = zinc
35. Br = bromine
47. Ag = silver
50. Sn = tin
53. I = iodine
56. Ba = barium
79. Au = gold
80. Hg = mercury
82. Pb = lead
A chemical symbol represents the name of the element. It is used also to represent
one atom of the element.
Atoms of elements can join together. Sometimes two identical atoms join together,
but more often different kinds of atoms form compounds. A compound is made of
at least two different elements.
If two or more atoms join together, they form a molecule.
A formula shows what kinds of atoms, and how many of each, join together when
a molecule is formed. A small (subscript) number after a symbol shows the number
of atoms of that element that are present in one molecule of the compound. If there
is no number, it means that there is one atom of that element.
For example:
CO means that one atom of carbon is joined to two atoms of oxygen.
H O means that two atoms of hydrogen are joined to one atom of oxygen.
2 4
H SO means that two atoms of hydrogen, one atom of sulfur, and four atoms of
oxygen are joined in one molecule.
In some compounds, atoms or groups of atoms have an electrical charge, and are
then called ions. A group of atoms with an electrical charge is called a compound
ion. Ions with opposite electric charges attract each other, but do not usually
become permanently joined together.
Name of
Names of ions
in compound
of ions
Formula of
Ratio of
positive to
negative ions.
Sodium iodide sodium
NaI 1:1
Silver oxide silver
Ag O 2:1
Zinc sulfate zinc
ZnSO 1:1
AlPO 1:1
Lead nitrate lead
3 2
Pb(NO ) 1:2
Iron(III) chloride iron(III)
FeCl 1:3
The formula of an ionic compound shows how many of each kind of ion are
attracted to each other in the compound.
The first requirement for students needing to master the writing of formulae is
to memorise - and memorise thoroughly - the formulae of common ions.
While writing of formulae is being learnt and practised, a list of the common ions
and their formulae should be kept close at hand for ready reference. On the
following page is a list of ions that students may encounter. Also provided are three
sheets of examples of ionic compounds for practising writing formulae.
Basic rules for writing names and formulae are provided here. Explanations of the
rules are presented starting on page 11.
1. Clarity and accuracy are of greatest importance. Upper case (capital) letters must
be clearly written as capital letters, lower case (small) letters must be written
clearly as small letters, subscript numbers (small numbers after a symbol) must
be written accurately and clearly.
2. The name of an ionic compound has two parts: the first part is the positive ion,
usually a metal, but may also be ammonium, a positive compound ion containing
nitrogen and hydrogen. The second part of the name is the negative ion, either
the name of a non-metal with the end of its name changed to -ide, or the name
of a negative compound ion.
Name of compound Positive ion Negative ion
Calcium iodide calcium, Ca iodide, I
2+ -
Copper phosphate copper, Cu phosphate, PO
2+ 3-
Aluminium sulfate aluminium, Al sulfate, SO
3+ 2-
Ammonium chloride ammonium, NH chloride, Cl
+ -
3. An acid contains hydrogen joined with a negative ion, and has "acid" as the
second word of its name. The first word is usually the name of the negative ion,
with the end of its name changed: -ate changes to -ic, -ite changes to -ous.
Name of acid Positive ion Negative ion
Nitric acid hydrogen, H nitrate, NO
+ -
Carbonic acid hydrogen, H carbonate, CO
+ 2-
Sulfurous acid hydrogen, H sulfite, SO
+ 2-
But note an important exception: hydrochloric acid, HCl, is hydrogen chloride.
4. Accuracy in reading and clarity in writing names is essential. Names of different ions may
differ by only one letter, so any error alters the meaning of a name or formula.
The names of negative ions end in -ide, -ite, or -ate.
The ending "-ide" means that the ion contains only one atom (except hydroxide, OH, and
cyanide, CN). The endings "-ite" and "-ate" indicate that the ion is a compound ion, with
"-ite" ions containing less oxygen than "-ate" ions. If only one compound ion with oxygen
exists for a particular element, the "-ate" ending is used.
Some compounds have special prefixes, such as "per-", "hypo-", and "thio-". "Per-" means
even more oxygen than "-ate", "hypo-" means less oxygen than "-ite". "Thio-" means
some sulfur is present instead of oxygen
3 4
sulfide, S sulfite, SO sulfate, SO
2- 2- 2-
2 3
nitride, N nitrite, NO nitrate, NO
3- - -
carbonate, CO
3 4
phosphide, P phosphite, PO phosphate, PO
3- 3- 3-
2 3 4
chloride, Cl- hypochlorite, ClO chlorite, ClO chlorate, ClO perchlorate, ClO
- - - -
4 2 3 4
sulfate = SO ; thiosulfate = S O (think of one O from SO being replaced by S).
2- 2- 2-
5. Formulae are written by the following steps:
a) Identify the ions indicated in the name.
Common examples are listed on the next
page, but these should be memorised as a
matter of high priority!
b) Check the charge values on the ions. Positive
and negative values must balance, so the
numbers of positive and negative ions used
must be chosen so that positive and negative
charges cancel out.
c) Combine the ions into a single formula,
leaving out charge values. The number of each
kind of ion used in the formula is shown by a
subscript (small number at the bottom after
the symbol of each ion involved), except that
the number 1 is not shown. If there is two or
or more of a compound ion, its formula
should be enclosed in brackets, with the
subscript outside.
Zinc chloride : Zn and Cl
2+ -
4 4
Ammonium sulfate: NH and SO
+ 2-
Aluminium nitrate: Al and NO
3+ -
Carbonic acid: H and CO
+ 2-
One Zn requires two Cl
2+ -
4 4
Two NH require one SO
+ 2-
One Al requires three NO
3+ -
Two H require one CO
+ 2-
4 2 4
(NH ) SO
3 3
Al(NO )
2 3
The following are lists of common ions and their formulae. Note that a few metals have more
than one possible charge number.
Positive ions are called CATIONS, negative ions are called ANIONS.
"Former names of ions" are not officially used today, but are still frequently encountered in
old books and chemical labels, so should be recognised.
name of ion
name of
name of
name of
Name of
aluminium Al
magnesium Mg
bromide Br
barium Ba
mercury(I) mercurous Hg
chloride Cl
calcium Ca
mercury(II) mercuric Hg
fluoride F
chromium(III) chromic Cr
nickel Ni
iodide I
cobalt(II) cobaltous Co
potassium K
nitride N
copper(I) cuprous Cu
silver Ag
oxide O
copper(II) cupric Cu
sodium Na
phosphide P
iron(II) ferrous Fe
tin(II) stannous Sn
sulfide S
iron(III) ferric Fe
tin(IV) stannic Sn
lead(II) plumbous Pb
zinc Zn
Name of compound ion Name of compound ion
hypochlorite ClO
2 4
cyanide CN
2 7
Cr O
2 4
hydrogencarbonate (bicarbonate)
hydrogensulfate (bisulfate)
2 3
hydroxide OH
potassium zinc lead silver ammonium
Copper(II) calcium iron(II) tin(II) aluminium
sodium nickel iron(III) barium magnesium
All matter is made of atoms. Atoms are very small: the radius of an atom can be
measured in picometres. A picometre (pm) is one million-millionth (10 ) of a metre.
The mass of a single atom ranges from about 1.6 x 10 g for a hydrogen atom to
about 4 x 10 g for an atom of uranium.
Atoms are made up of three kinds of particles: neutrons and protons that are located
in the nucleus, and electrons that revolve around the nucleus in orbits. Protons have
a positive electric charge, so the nucleus has a positive charge. This positive charge
attracts the electrons, keeping them near the nucleus. Neutrons have no electric
charge; they provide part of the mass of the nucleus, and help to hold the protons
together (otherwise the repulsion of their positive charges would cause the nucleus
to break apart). Protons and neutrons have equal mass. An electron has a negative
electric charge. Its mass is slightly more than of the mass of a proton or neutron.
Atoms of different elements have different numbers of protons in their nuclei. Atoms
of the same element always have the same number of nuclear protons. The number
of protons in the nucleus of an atom is called its atomic number. On page 3 of these
notes, some common elements are listed by their atomic numbers. For example, any
atom with 11 protons in its nucleus must be sodium. Every sodium atom has 11
protons in its nucleus.
The number of neutrons in the nuclei of atoms of any particular element can vary. For
example, atomic nuclei of the element hydrogen can have one proton and no neutrons
(ordinary hydrogen), or one proton and one neutron (called deuterium, or heavy
hydrogen), or one proton and two neutrons (called tritium). These different kinds of
atoms of the same element are called isotopes.
Not every atom of any particular element will have the same mass, since atoms with
more neutrons will have greater mass than those with fewer neutrons.
Electrons move around the nucleus in "orbits". The movement of electrons around the
nucleus is likened sometimes, for simplicity, to the movement of planets around the
Sun, and in the diagrams that follow, they will be represented like that.
Electrons really move in much less regular paths; each electron tending to move
freely anywhere within a defined region surrounding the nucleus. The region where
each electron can move is called a shell, or energy level. In these notes, the term shell
will be used. The rules about the numbers of electrons that can move within each
shell are explained below.
In an atom of a pure element, the number of electrons in orbit around the nucleus
equals the number of protons in the nucleus. When atoms are involved in chemical
reactions, and form compounds, the numbers of electrons in orbit change, as electrons
move from atoms of one element to atoms of another element. In a compound, the
number of protons in the nucleus does not equal the number of electrons in orbit
around the nucleus.
Most (but not all) chemical reactions between compounds also involve the shifting
of electrons from one atom to another.
Shells can be thought of like layers of space around a nucleus. The one closest to the
nucleus is called the first shell, the second one from the nucleus is the second shell,
and so on.
Electrons tend to fill a shell closer to the nucleus before starting to fill one further
out. There are, however, some rules that must be observed by electrons in shells:
there is a maximum number of electrons allowed in each shell, and as each shell is
filled, electrons must start to fill the next one, further out from the nucleus.
Maximum number of electrons allowed in each shell:
1 2 2
2 8 8
3 18 8
4 32 8
5 50 8
Atoms combining to form compounds tend to swap and share electrons between
themselves so that every atom has eight electrons in its outside shell (or two electrons
if the outside shell is the first shell).
There are some exceptions to the Octet Rule, but they will not be considered here.
DIAGRAMS on the next four pages show the arrangement of electrons in atoms, and
how electrons are rearranged when compounds are formed. It is emphasised that these
are very simplified diagrams, showing electrons as if they were moving in simple
orbits, like planets around the Sun, instead of freely within the region of a shell.
When atoms combine, electrons are rearranged so that each atom has eight
electrons in its outermost shell (or two electrons if the outermost shell is the
first). This can happen in two main ways: electrons move completely from
one atom to another, or electrons are shared between pairs of atoms.
The sodium ion still has 11 protons (this cannot change because it is sodium) but now
has only ten electrons. Overall it has a positive charge of one, so is symbolised Na .
The fluoride ion still has 9 protons (this cannot change because it is fluorine) but now
has ten electrons. Overall it has a negative charge of one, so is symbolised F .
Each magnesium atom has two outer shell electrons. When a magnesium atom
combines with chlorine, it loses its two outer electrons, and is left as a magnesium ion
with eight electrons in its outer shell. With 12 protons (because it is still magnesium)
and ten electrons, the ion has two positive electric charges. Its formula is Mg .
A chlorine atom has seven outer electrons, so needs to gain only one electron to have
eight outer-shell electrons. Each magnesium atom that reacts with chlorine can give
one electron to each of two chlorine atoms. With an extra electron, the atoms are now
called chloride ions. With 17 protons and 18 electrons, the ion has one negative
charge. Its formula is Cl .
Since one magnesium atom can give electrons to two chlorine atoms, the formula for
magnesium chloride is MgCl .
Refer again to the rules on page 6 for writing formulae.
Exercises: The arrangements of electrons for several elements are listed below.
Lithium: 2,1 Nitrogen: 2,5 Oxygen: 2,6
Fluorine: 2,7 Sodium: 2,8,1 Magnesium: 2,8,2
Aluminium: 2,8,3 Sulfur: 2,8,6 Chlorine: 2,8,7
Potassium: 2,8,8,1 Calcium: 2,8,8,2
Using only the information about electron shells, write formulae for
a) calcium oxide d) potassium sulfide g) lithium sulfide
b) lithium fluoride e) aluminium chloride h) aluminium nitride
c) sodium nitride f) calcium nitride i) aluminium oxide
For example, sulfur (2,8,6) can combine with chlorine (2,8,7) by sharing electrons so
that atoms of both sulfur and chlorine have eight outer-shell electrons.
Compounds like magnesium chloride, in which electrons are transferred completely
from one atom to another, are called IONIC COMPOUNDS. The ions are attracted to
each other by the attraction between the positive and negative charges, yet are not
actually joined together.
Compounds like sulfur dichloride, SCl , in which electrons are shared between atoms,
are called COVALENT COMPOUNDS. A pair of shared electrons is called a
COVALENT BOND. The atoms are actually joined together, to form a MOLECULE.
Atoms can share more than one pair of electrons. In carbon dioxide, carbon and
oxygen atoms are bound together by two pairs of electrons, or two covalent bonds.
3 3
In compound ions such as carbonate, CO , or nitrate, NO , the atoms are held
2- -
together by covalent bonds. The atoms take up one or more extra electrons as they
join, so that the compound ion has a negative charge, and can attract to positive ions.
The electron shells for the nitrate ion
are shown in the diagram below:
Uncombined oxygen atoms have
six outer-shell electrons, while
uncombined nitrogen atoms have
five outer shell electrons.
One extra electron is taken up by
the atoms as they unite, so that the
nitrate ion has a negative charge.
Copper nitrate does not exist as molecules; copper and nitrate are both ions in the
compound, and are attracted to each other, but do not join together. The formula
indicates that in a sample of copper nitrate, there will be two nitrate ions for every
copper ion. In equations, it is sometimes convenient to show such compounds as
if the ions were joined together.
A chemical equation is a way of representing a chemical reaction in symbolic form.
For example, when hydrochloric acid is added to sodium hydroxide, the equation reads
The symbols for the reactants (the substances that are mixed) are written on the left, while
the symbols for the products (the substances that are formed in the reaction) are written on
the right. The arrow indicates that the materials shown on the left are changes to the
materials shown on the right.
A chemical equation shows not only what the reactants and products are, but it shows also
how much of each reactant combines to form how much of each product. For example:
This equation can be interpreted to read that three atoms of copper react with eight
molecules of nitric acid to form three "molecules" of copper nitrate, two molecules of nitric
oxide (NO), and four molecules of water. It can also be interpreted to read that three moles
of copper react with eight moles of nitric acid to form three moles of copper nitrate, two
moles of nitric oxide (NO), and four moles of water. Moles will be explained in a later
section; the important thing to understand now is that the correct number (coefficient) in
front of each formula is critically important.
In the first example above, the formulae have no coefficients. The absence of a coefficient
means 1 (one). Thus, one mole of sodium hydroxide reacts with one mole of hydrochloric
acid to produce one mole of sodium chloride and one mole of water.
Other information that may be included in an equation is the state (solid, liquid, gas, or
aqueous solution) of each reactant and product. This additional information is not always
included in an equation, but sometimes it may be useful, or even vitally necessary.
Symbols used are: (s) = solid, (l) = liquid, (g) = gas, (aq) = aqueous (dissolved in water).
The equation shown above may be rewritten:
A balanced chemical equation is one in which for each kind of atomic symbol, the number
on the left side of the equation equals the number on the right side.
There is one Na, one Cl, one O, and two H on each side. Notice with the H, on the left side
there is one H in NaOH and one H in HCl. On the right, they are shown as two H in H O.
On the left there are three Cu, eight H, eight N, and twenty four O. Each HNO has one H,
one N, and three O. The coefficient, 8, multiplies everything in the formula. On the right
3 2
there are three Cu; six N in 3Cu(NO ) plus two N in 2NO, total eight N; eighteen O in
3 2 3
3Cu(NO ) (three in NO , doubled to six by the subscript 2 outside the brackets), then
tripled to eighteen by the coefficient 3) plus two O in 2NO plus four O in 4H O, total
twenty four.
Sometimes it is easier to check the balancing of an equation by counting the numbers of
compound ions on each side of the equation, provided that none of the compound ions has
been changed (as in the example above, where some of the nitrate ions change to NO).
For example:
2 4
On the left there are three sulfate ions (one sulfate in each H SO , times the coefficient 3).
On the right there are three sulfate ions ((SO ) times the subscript 3; there is no coefficient
2 4 3
to the Al (SO ) , so the value of the coefficient is 1).
There are three basic approaches to balancing chemical equations:
a) by inspection
b) by half-equations
c) by oxidation states.
Only the first of these will be treated in this section: the other two will be explained in later
sections. Balancing a chemical equation by inspection means no more than to look at the
equation and see by looking what coefficients are needed.
For a balanced equation to be written, it is necessary that the reactants and products be
known. This requires that the writer of the equation have a sufficient knowledge of
Descriptive Chemistry, that is, of that branch of Chemistry that describes the properties and
reactions of various elements and their compounds.
The purpose of this section is to explain the balancing of equations. A little Descriptive
Chemistry will be presented, however, to cover a few common kinds of chemical reactions.
An acid is a substance with "acid" in its name, and its formula usually starts with H.
2 4 3 4
Examples: sulfuric acid, H SO , hydrochloric acid, HCl, phosphoric acid, H PO .
(Water, H O, is sometimes considered to be an acid, but here will be taken as an
"exception" to the rule about acids.)
A base is defined here as a compound with a metal ion, and either oxide or hydroxide.
Examples: sodium hydroxide, NaOH, calcium hydroxide, Ca(OH) , copper oxide, CuO,
zinc oxide, ZnO. Ammonia gas, NH , is also a base: when it dissolves in water, it reacts
with the water; the solution is sometimes called ammonium hydroxide. The ammonium
ion, NH , has a positive charge, and resembles a metal in some of its properties.
An acid plus a base always gives a salt and water. A salt is any compound of a metal (or
ammonium) ion with a negative ion other than oxide or hydroxide. Examples: zinc
2 3 4 3 2
iodide, ZnI , sodium phosphate, Na PO , copper nitrate, Cu(NO ) , calcium carbonate,
CaCO , sodium chloride, NaCl. Sodium chloride is one of the most common salts in the
world, so is often called common salt, or just salt, for short.
When an acid and base are mixed, the metal (or ammonium) of the base and the negative
ion from the acid form the salt, while the hydrogen of the acid combines with the oxide
or hydroxide from the base to make hydrogen oxide (H O) or hydrogen hydroxide
(HOH), which are both water.
Inspection of this equation (that is, just looking at it) indicates that it is not balanced. There
is only one H and one Cl on the left, but two of each on the right. It can be balanced by
inserting a coefficient = 2 in front of HCl, so that there are two H and two Cl on both sides.
It is easier to count nitrate (NO ) ions than N and O separately. Writing HOH instead of
2 2 3
H O shows that the OH from the Cu(OH) has combined with the H from the HNO . There
2 3
are two OH in Cu(OH) , so two H are needed to form 2HOH. Two NO are needed on
- -
3 3 2
the left to allow two NO in Cu(NO ) . Balancing can be achieved by writing 2 in front of
3 2
both HNO and HOH. In the final writing, HOH can be rewritten as H O.
It might be noticed that in the paragraph above, the symbols for the negative ions were
written with the charges shown, OH and NO . The charges are not shown in the full
- -
3 3 2
formula, as in HNO and Cu(NO ) .
It is absolutely essential that all formulae be written correctly. If an equation cannot
be balanced, it may be that a formula is written wrongly. It is NEVER allowable to
make an equation balance by altering a formula that is already correct.
A carbonate is a compound with "carbonate" in its name and CO in its formula.
3 3
Examples: lead carbonate, PbCO , iron(II) carbonate, FeCO , potassium carbonate,
2 3 2 3
K CO , silver carbonate, Ag CO .
When a carbonate is mixed with an acid, the H from the acid joins with the CO from
+ 2-
2 3
the carbonate, forming H CO , and the metal from the carbonate joins with the negative
2 3 2 2
ion from the acid to form a salt. The H CO then splits up to make H O and CO .
To summarise: an acid and a carbonate make a salt, water, and carbon dioxide.
The coefficient 2 was placed before the HCl because two Cl are needed on the right to
2 2 3 2 3
make CaCl , and two H are needed to make H CO . By writing H CO first, then altering
2 2
it to H O + CO , it is easier to see how the equation can be balanced just by rearranging
To balance the folowing equation:
2 2 2 3
a) rewrite the H O + CO as H CO .
b) observe that an even number of H is needed on the right, whatever the coefficient of
2 3
H CO may become. An even number of H must also be on the left: one way to achieve
3 4
this is to put a 2 in front of the H PO . This would give 6H on the left, so 3 in front of
2 3
H CO on the right will balance the H.
4 3 4
c) There are now 2 PO on the left, so 2 should be placed in front of K PO . To balance
3 2 3
both K and CO , 3 should be written in front of K CO .
+ 2-
2 3 2 2.
d) The 3H CO should now be separated into 3H O + 3CO
Some common acids react with certain metals to produce a salt and hydrogen gas.
Whether or not a particular acid and a particular metal actually do this must be decided
using other sources of information. Examples used here are all true examples.
It should be evident that all that is needed to balance this is 2 in front of HCl.
An example involving aluminium and sulfuric acid is shown on page 18. What about
aluminium and hydrochloric acid?
Three Cl are needed on the left to balance the three Cl in AlCl . If 3 is written in front of
HCl, there will be an odd number of H on the left and an even number on the right. To
make H even on the left, and still be able to provide 3Cl for each Al, a coefficient of 6
should be tried. This will allow 2AlCl on the right. It will then be necessary to have 2Al on
the left and 3H on the right to achieve a full balance.
Some salts are insoluble in water. If solutions of two soluble salts are mixed, the ions
may simply rearrange to form a precipitate of an insoluble salt.
In the examples below, it should be recalled that (aq) means dissolved in water, while
(s) means solid.
Silver chloride is insoluble in water. Silver nitrate, calcium chloride, and calcium nitrate
all dissolve easily in water.
To balance this, a 2 should be placed before both AgNO and AgCl.
Another common kind of reaction whose equation can usually be balanced by inspection
is combustion, that is, burning of a substance so that its elements combine with oxygen.
For example, when magnesium metal burns in oxygen, it forms magnesium oxide, MgO.
A coefficient 2 in front of Mg and MgO will balance the equation. It is also permissible
to balance it by placing in front of O .
Fuels containing carbon and hydrogen burn in oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and
4 3 8
water. Two such fuels are methane, CH , and propane, C H .
1. A chemical equation is a means of representing the nature and amounts of reactants and
products involved in a chemical reaction.
2. To write a chemical equation it is necessary to know what the reactants and products
are, and to be able to write their chemical formulae correctly. It is essential that
chemical symbols, and methods of reading and writing formulae, are well-learned.
3. Equations must be balanced: this means that the numbers of each kind of symbol on the
left-hand and right-hand sides of the equation must be equal.
4. It is often possible to balance an equation by inspection, that is, by just looking at it.
(Methods for balancing equations that cannot be balanced by inspection will be
explained later.)
Write formulae for the substances in the word-equations below, then balance the
chemical equations by inspection: (see page 7 for formulae of ions)
1. Barium hydroxide + sulfuric acid produce barium sulfate + water
2. Lead oxide + nitric acid produce lead nitrate + water
3. Zinc carbonate + hydrochloric acid produce zinc chloride + carbon dioxide + water
4. Sodium carbonate + nitric acid produce sodium nitrate + carbon dioxide + water
5. Magnesium + phosphoric acid produce magnesium dihydrogenphosphate + hydrogen
6. Iron + hydrochloric acid produce iron(II) chloride + hydrogen
7. Calcium chloride(aq) + silver nitrate(aq) produce silver chloride (s) + calcium nitrate(aq)
8. Aluminium sulfate(aq) + potassium hydroxide(aq) produce aluminium hydroxide(s) +
potassium sulfate(aq)
2 5
9. Alcohol (C H OH) burns in oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water
10. Iron (as powder) burns in oxygen to produce iron(III) oxide.
Any solution of an ionic substance contains two different kinds of ions, which exist quite
separately from one another. The only effect that one may have on the other is to balance
its electric charge.
2 4
For example, in a pure solution of sodium sulfate, Na SO , there are sodium ions, Na , and
4 4
sulfate ions, SO , in a ratio two Na to one SO .
2- + 2-
In solutions of potassium sulfate or sodium chloride, the sulfate ions and sodium ions are
exactly the same kinds of particles as they would be in sodium sulfate, and would have
exactly the same role in a chemical reaction as sodium and sulfate ions in sodium sulfate.
If solutions containing equal concentrations of sodium nitrate and potassium chloride were
mixed, the resulting solution would be exactly the same as if solutions (of the same
concentration) of sodium chloride and potassium nitrate had been mixed.
Consider the mixtures of solutions whose equations are shown below. Each mixture
involves two clear solutions which are mixed to produce the same white precipitate.
zinc chloride + sodium carbonate produce zinc carbonate (solid) + sodium chloride
zinc sulfate + potassium carbonate produce zinc carbonate (solid) + potassium sulfate
zinc nitrate + ammonium carbonate produce zinc carbonate (solid) + ammonium nitrate
The equations above are written as if the substances involved are molecules: these are
molecular equations.
The equations can be rewritten, to show that the substances are ions:
Equations written like this are called complete (or full) ionic equations.
Inspection of these equations shows that only the zinc and carbonate ions take part in the
reaction. The other ions, chloride, sulfate, nitrate, sodium, potassium, ammonium, are all
spectator ions. It should be possible, therefore, to write the equation for the actual reaction
This last equation is called a net ionic equation. It shows only the ions or molecules that
actually react, and excludes the spectator ions, which are present but which have no part
in the reaction, except to keep positive and negative electric charges in the solution equal.
All three kinds of equations can be used, the value of each depending upon the
circumstances. Molecular equations and net ionic equations are used more commonly, and
are generally more useful, than complete ionic equations.
Further examples are presented below, with molecular equations and a net ionic equation,
for the reaction of metallic magnesium with three different acids.
The molecular, complete ionic, and net ionic equations for the reaction of NaOH and HCl:
The net ionic equation for all neutralisation reactions is the same as the one shown above
for HCl and NaOH.
All reactions between acids and carbonates also have the same net ionic equation:
Most of the reactions and their equations considered so far have been based upon a
rearrangement of ions between the components of a mixture.
Another very common kind of chemical reaction is the redox reaction. Redox stands for
reduction and oxidation.
The original definition of oxidation is "a reaction in which a substance combines with
oxygen", while reduction is "a reaction in which oxygen is removed from a substance".
These definitions were extended to cover reactions involving hydrogen gas: if a substance
combined with hydrogen, it was reduced, while if it gave off hydrogen it was oxidised.
Substance combines with oxygen
Substance gives off hydrogen
Substance gives off oxygen
Substance combines with hydrogen
Both of these old definitions continue to be useful, and should be used.
Modern definitions describe oxidation and reduction as the movement of electrons from the
outer shell of one kind of atom, ion, or molecule to the outer shell of another kind of atom,
ion or molecule. This movement usually involves rearrangement of atoms within the ions
or molecules in the reaction.
When an atom, ion, or molecule loses one or more electrons, it is oxidised.
When an atom, ion, or molecule gains one or more electrons, it is reduced.
How can a chemical reaction be identified as a redox reaction?
If either of the elements oxygen or hydrogen is a reactant or a product in the reaction, then
the reaction must be redox, according to the old definitions of oxidation and reduction. The
following equations represent examples of redox reactions: oxygen or hydrogen is involved
in each. NB Hydrogen is H , not H .
Many reactions do not involve elemental oxygen or hydrogen. To decide if a reaction is
redox, involving transfer of electrons from one atom, ion, or molecule to another, oxidation
states may be used. The idea of oxidation state is explained on the following pages.
When elements combine to form compounds, they either transfer electrons completely from
atoms of one kind to atoms of another, or they transfer electrons partially by sharing them
between different atoms. This was explained in pages 11 to 16.
Oxidation state is a way to describe the number of electrons that have been transferred or
shared between atoms of different kinds.
RULE ONE states that uncombined elements have an oxidation state = zero, since
there are no electrons being shared with atoms of other elements.
2 2
In simple ionic compounds, such as Na S or CaI , each atom has either gained or lost one
or more electrons, forming ions such as Na , Ca , S , I .
+ 2+ 2- -
RULE TWO states that the oxidation state of a simple ion is the same as the charge
on the ion. It is usually written with the sign before the number.
For example, in Na S, the oxidation state of sodium is +1, of sulfur is -2; in
CaI , the oxidation state of calcium is +2, of iodide is -1.
Oxygen and hydrogen are found in very many different compounds. When oxygen, which
has electron shells 2,6, forms a compound, it gains two electrons (either by complete
transfer or by sharing) to achieve full electron shells 2,8. Hydrogen has a single electron in
its first shell, which it may lose to other atoms, to form an H ion.
RULE THREE states that in its compounds, oxygen has an oxidation state = -2,
while hydrogen has an oxidation state = +1. (In just a few compounds
this rule is not observed: in peroxides, containing the peroxide group O ,
and in metal hydrides, in which hydrogen is combined directly with a
metal, for example, calcium hydride, CaH .)
RULE FOUR: the total oxidation states of an ion equals the charge of the ion. The
total oxidation states of an uncharged molecule = zero.
EXAMPLES: Oxidation states of elements in compounds containing three or more
different elements can be determined in the following way:
a) If the compound is a molecule (see page 15), give hydrogen a value = +1,
oxygen a value = -2. Give the other element a value such that the total of all the
oxidation states = 0.
For example, it is evident that the oxidation state
of nitrogen in nitric acid = +5.
b) If the compound is ionic, divide it into its ions and deal with each ion
separately. Apply the same rules as above in part a), but let the total of all
oxidation states equal the charge of the ion. For
example, the oxidation state of sulfur in calcium
sulfate, CaSO , is the same as the oxidation state of
sulfur in the sulfate ion, SO , by itself. The oxidation
state of sulfur in sulfate = +6.
Further examples:
What are oxidation states of nitrogen and phosphorus in ammonium dihydrogenphosphate?
4 2 4 4 2 4
The formula is NH H PO , which can be separated into the ions NH and H PO . Treating
+ -
each kind of ion separately, according to the rules above:
The oxidation states are: nitrogen = -3, phosphorus = +5
Oxidation states may have fractional values: for example,
3 8
the oxidation state of carbon in propane, C H , is - .
The same element may have different oxidation states in different compounds: using sulfur
as an example:
Name of ion Formula Oxidation
Name of ion Formula Oxidation
sulfide S -2 sulfite SO +4
2- 2-
2 3 4
thiosulfate S O +2 sulfate SO +6
2- 2-
4 6 2 8
tetrathionate S O +2 persulfate S O +7
2- 2-
In addition, sulfur as the uncombined element has oxidation state = 0.
If the same element can exist at different oxidation states, then it must be possible for it to
change from one oxidation state to another.
Returning to the original question on page 25: How can a chemical reaction be identified
as a redox reaction?
If two elements in a reaction change in oxidation state, one increasing, the other
decreasing, then the reaction is a redox reaction.
The rules for writing balanced redox equation by this method are set out with an example.
Balance the equation :
1. Check that the equation is a redox equation: write oxidation states under key elements,
and show that one element increases in oxidation state while the other decreases.
2. Insert coefficients so that the total decrease in oxidation state of one element equals the
total increase in oxidation state of the other element:
3. Balance oxygen by adding water: 4H O on the right will balance oxygen.
4. Balance hydrogen by adding H : 6H on the left will balance hydrogen. The balanced
+ +
equation is
5. Spectator ions (nitrate in this example) can be added if required: 6NO on each side:
Further example:
Balance :
1. Balance any elements other than oxygen or hydrogen, then write in the oxidation states
of those elements that change in oxidation state:
2. The loss of oxidation state by chromium = 2 x (-3) = -6. The gain by one sulfur = +2.
Three sulfite ions will therefore increase total oxidation state by +6, to balance the loss
by chromium. Sulfite and sulfate should have coefficients = 3:
3. Balance oxygen by adding water:
4. Balance hydrogen by adding H :
5. Check the balancing, including the balancing of charges. In the equation above, charges
on left = (2-) + 3(2-) + 8(+) = 0. Charges on right = 2(3+) + 3(2-) = 0.
6. Add spectator ions if required.
Summary of procedures:
a) Write the unbalanced equation, excluding spectator ions, ensuring that all formulae
are correct.
b) Check that the equation is redox by writing oxidation states under the elements
c) Balance all elements other than oxygen and hydrogen by inserting appropriate
d) Calculate changes in oxidation states, and insert coefficients so that the total increase
in oxidation state of one element is balanced exactly by the total loss of oxidation
state by the other element.
e) Balance oxygen by adding a suitable amount of water.
f) Balance hydrogen by adding a suitable amount of H .
g) Check the balancing, including the balancing of charge.
h) Add spectator ions if required.
1. Permanganate ions + iodide ions give manganese(II) ions + iodine.
2. Iron(III) chloride + sodium sulfide give iron(II) chloride, sodium chloride, and sulfur.
3. Iron(II) ions + silver ions give silver metal + iron(III) ions.
4. Silver ions + methanal (HCHO) give silver metal + formic acid (HCOOH).
2 2
5. Tin(II) ions + hydrogen peroxide (H O ) give tin(IV) hydroxide (s)
6. Nitric acid + zinc metal give zinc nitrate + nitrogen dioxide
7. Potassium dichromate + oxalic acid give chromium(III) ions + carbon dioxide.
8. Permanganate ions + hydrogen sulfide give manganese dioxide + sulfur.
9. Copper(II) ions + potassium iodide give copper(I) iodide(s) + iodine.
10. Potassium chlorate + hydrochloric acid give chlorine gas + potassium chloride.
Comparing different methods for balancing redox equations:
If the objective is simply to balance an equation, and the equation can be balanced easily BY
INSPECTION, then it may be balanced that way. Balancing by inspection is described on
pages 18 to 23. Most of the examples given involve only exchanges of ions, and only the
reaction of acids and metals on page 20, and combustion reactions on page 21, are
examples of redox. Among the redox equations listed for balancing on page 29, some can
be balanced quite easily by inspection.
The OXIDATION-STATE METHOD, described in pages 28 - 29, is a useful and quick method
for balancing redox equations that cannot be balanced by inspection. It does not have a
good theoretical basis, and occasionally it may be difficult to apply.
The HALF-EQUATION METHOD has a strong theoretical basis, and is therefore a more
important method, even though not always the quickest method to balance an equation. It
is important that students know how to use half-equations, since they have other
applications besides as a way of balancing equations, notably in situations involving cells
and electrolysis.
Some background theory:
On page 25, it was stated that oxidation is a loss of one or more electrons by an atom, ion,
or molecule, whereas reduction is a gain of one or more electrons by an atom, ion or
There are two ways to remember which is loss, which is gain of electrons.
a) When an atom is oxidised, its oxidation state becomes more positive; it increases.
When an atom is reduced, its oxidation state becomes less positive or more
negative, that is, it is reduced. Gain of (negative) electrons effectively makes the
atom less positive or more negative, that is, gain of electrons reduces the atom.
The same idea applies, of course, to molecules and ions: reduction involves gain
of electrons.
b) Think of a simple example of an element combining with oxygen, for example,
magnesium plus oxygen forms magnesium oxide.
It should be clear that electrons have been transferred from magnesium to oxygen.
Magnesium has lost electrons in the process of combining with oxygen, that is,
while being oxidised. Oxygen has been reduced by magnesium by gaining electrons
from it.
If there is ever any hesitation about whether oxidation is a loss or a gain of
electrons, use this simple example (or any like it) as a way of remembering.
The equations written to show electrons (written as e ) are called half-equations.
Note that it is not usual to write a half equation with "- e ”, as
Such an equation is properly written with a positive sign before the electrons, as
Every redox reaction is comprised of two separate components:
1) an oxidation half-reaction, which concerns the atom, molecule or ion that is
oxidised, that is, which loses electrons, and
2) a reduction half-reaction, which concerns the atom, molecule or ion that is
reduced, that is, which gains electrons.
Both of these must be involved, and each can be expressed by a half-equation. For example,
consider the reaction between zinc and sulfuric acid, that produces hydrogen gas and zinc
sulfate in solution:
Written without the sulfate spectator ions, the equation is:
The reaction is redox, because zinc is oxidised, while hydrogen ions are reduced. The
equation can be separated into two half equations:
Any redox equation can be separated into two half-equations. For example,
If the second half-equation is simplified, the two half-equations are
It should be noticed that electrons are always shown in a redox half-equation, but that the
electrons cancel out when the two half-equations are added together. The "simplified" half-
equations shown above cannot be added together unless the second one has been multiplied
by three, so that the electron numbers are the same in both half-equations.
It should also be noticed that when the half-equations are properly added together, it may
be necessary to simplify the equation with respect to water and hydrogen ions:
How to write balanced redox equations:
Manganese dioxide + hydrochloric acid produces manganese(II) ions + chlorine gas
Step one: write the equation in unbalanced form:
Step two: separate the unbalanced equation into two unbalanced half-equations:
Step three: balance either or both equations for any elements other than oxygen or
hydrogen. (NB this is a step often overlooked by students! Be careful!).
Step four: balance oxygen by adding water:
Step five: Balance hydrogen by adding H :
Step six: Add electrons to balance charge:
NB the electrons should be on the left-hand-side of one equation and on the right-hand-side
of the other. If this is not so, then either the substances shown on the left of the half-
equations will not react with each other in the way that the half-equations show, or else an
error has been made in writing and balancing the half-equations.
Step seven: If the electrons numbers in the two equations are not equal, multiply one or
both equations by factors so that the numbers of electrons become equal. This
step is not necessary in the example being used, since both equations have 2e .
A second example below shows the application of step seven.
Step eight: Add the two equations, so that the electrons are cancelled out.
Step nine: Simplify the equation so that water and H each appear in only one place:
Step ten: Add spectator ions if required: in this example, chloride ions.
Second example:
Potassium hydroxide solution heated with iodine produces potassium iodate and iodide.
Step one:
Iodine is reduced from oxidation state 0 to -1, and is also oxidised from
oxidation state 0 to +5. This is a redox reaction.
Step two: NB spectator ions are not written.
Step three:
Step four:
Step five: :
Step six:
Step seven:
Step eight:
Step nine: Simplify the equation:
Step ten: Add spectator ions if required: in this example, potassium ions.
This equation is correct and balanced, but it does not agree with the original
unbalanced equation at step one, which has KOH as a reactant.
If 6OH is added to each side of the equation, then 6KOH appears on the left,
and 6HOH (or 6H O) on the right. The water cancels from left and right, leaving
3H O on the right.
A redox reaction of this kind, in which the same reactant is both oxidised and reduced
simultaneously (it oxidises and reduces itself) is called disproportionation.
For practice exercises, the equations on page 29 can be balanced by the half equation
Further examples for balancing:
1. Silver metal + nitric acid give silver nitrate + nitric oxide (NO)
2. Calcium hydroxide + chlorine give calcium chloride + calcium hypochlorite
3. Copper + (concentrated) sulfuric acid give copper sulfate + sulfur dioxide
4. Nitric acid + iodide ions give nitric oxide + iodine
5. Nitric acid + sulfide ions give nitrogen dioxide + sulfur
6. Iron(III) chloride + iodide ions give iron(II) chloride + iodine.
4 6
7. Thiosulfate ions + iodine give tetrathionate ions (S O ) + iodide ions.
8. Ammonium ions + nitrite ions give nitrogen gas + water
9. Manganese dioxide + hydrochloric acid give manganese(II) ions + chlorine gas
10. Potassium dichromate + sulfur dioxide give chromium(III) sulfate + potassium sulfate
The definitions given here do not allow for the existence of different isotopes of
elements. This omission does not affect the validity of the methods described.
Detailed treatment of this topic should consider the presence of isotopes.
The purpose of this section is to present some methods for calculating both how much of
each reactant is used in a chemical reaction, and how much of each product is formed.
In this section theoretical details are kept to the minimum necessary for a mastery of
calculation methods to be achieved. It is desirable, however, that at some stage students
learn of the historical development of the ideas applied here, and of the underlying theory.
It is assumed that students have a good mastery of basic arithmetic and algebra,
especially of calculations involving ratios and proportions.
It is assumed also that students are able to both read and write chemical formulae and
equations, accurately and with fair confidence. Until such knowledge and skills have been
acquired, it is difficult to achieve success with mole calculations.
There are three basic requirements to be mastered in this section:
1) to calculate masses of reactants that will be consumed in a reaction, and the masses
of products likely to be formed from a given mass of reactants.
2) to calculate what volume of gas may be either consumed or produced in a reaction
3) to calculate what volumes and concentrations of solutions of reactants should be
mixed to produce predicted concentrations of products in the solution.
Atoms of different elements have different masses. It is possible both to measure the mass
of individual atoms, and to measure the relative masses of different kinds of atoms. Actual
masses of atoms are very small (an atom of carbon has mass = 2 x 10 g approx), so the
masses are given in atomic mass units (amu).
The mass of an atom of carbon has been selected as a standard for comparing the masses
of atoms: an atom of carbon has been assigned a mass of 12.00 amu. The relative atomic
mass of an atom of any other element is given in proportion to the mass of an atom of
carbon. For example, the relative atomic mass of an oxygen atom is given as 16.00 amu,
which indicates that an atom of oxygen is times more massive than an atom of carbon.
The relative atomic mass of hydrogen = 1.00 amu; an atom of hydrogen has of the
mass of an atom of carbon.
The relative atomic masses (ram) of some common elements are listed below:
Element ram Element ram Element ram
Aluminium 27.0 Gold 197.0 Oxygen 16.0
Barium 137.3 Hydrogen 1.0 Phosphorus 31.0
Bromine 79.9 Iodine 126.9 Potassium 39.1
Calcium 40.1 Iron 55.8 Silicon 28.1
Carbon 12.0 Lead 207.2 Silver 107.9
Chlorine 35.5 Magnesium 24.3 Sodium 23.0
Chromium 52.0 Manganese 54.9 Sulfur 32.1
Cobalt 58.9 Mercury 200.6 Tin 118.7
Copper 63.5 Nickel 58.7 Titanium 47.9
Fluorine 19.0 Nitrogen 14.0 Zinc 65.4
The mass of one mole of an element is the relative atomic mass of an
element, stated in grams.
A mole is defined as the number of atoms in 12.00 g of pure carbon. The
value of this number is 6.023 x 10 . It is called the Avogadro Number, symbol N .
One mole of any element also contains 6.023 x 10 , or N , atoms.
The mass of one mole of any compound can be calculated by adding the relative atomic
masses of all atoms in the formula, and stating the total in grams.
Compound Formula Sum of masses of atoms in
Mass of
one mole
Water H O (1.0 x 2) + 16.0 18.0 g
Carbon dioxide CO 12.0 + (16.0 x 2) 44.0 g
Sodium chloride NaCl 23.0 + 35.5 58.5 g
Calcium sulfate CaSO 40.1 + 32.1 + (16.0 x 4) 136.2 g
3 2
Lead nitrate Pb(NO ) 207.2 + 2(14.0 + 16.0 x 3) 331.2 g
4 3 4
Ammonium phosphate (NH ) PO 3(14.0 + 1.0 x 4) + 31.0 + (16.0 x
149.0 g
The mass of one mole of a substance is the MOLAR MASS, for which the symbol is M.
One mole of any substance contains N , or 6.023 x 10 , of each particle present.
One mole of with
contains the following
numbers of molecules
or ions
and the following
numbers of atoms
2 A A
Water H O N molecules of water 2 x N atoms of hydrogen,
N atoms of oxygen
2 A
Carbon dioxide CO N molecules of carbon
N atoms of carbon,
2 x N atoms of oxygen
Sodium chloride NaCl N sodium ions and
N chloride ions
N atoms of sodium,
N atoms of chlorine
4 A
Calcium sulfate CaSO N calcium ions and
N sulfate ions
N atoms of calcium,
N atoms of sulfur,
4 x N atoms of oxygen
3 2 A
Lead nitrate Pb(NO ) N lead ions and
2 x N nitrate ions
N atoms of lead,
2 x N atoms of nitrogen,
6 x N atoms of oxygen.
4 3 4 A
Ammonium phosphate (NH ) PO 3 x N ammonium ions
and N phosphate ions
3 x N atoms of nitrogen,
12 x N atoms of hydrogen,
N atoms of phosphorus,
4 x N atoms of oxygen
The proportion by mass of an element in a compound can be calculated easily by using
molar masses.
For example, the proportion of sodium present in sodium chloride, NaCl, is the ratio of the
mass of one mole of sodium to the mass of one mole of sodium chloride, expressed as a
Proportion of sodium in sodium chloride = = 0.393
Percentage composition of sodium in sodium chloride = 39.3%.
4 3
What is the percentage composition of nitrogen in ammonium nitrate, NH NO ?
Molar mass of ammonium nitrate = 80.0 g
Mass of nitrogen in one mole of ammonium nitrate = 2 x 14.0 g = 28.0
Percentage composiition of nitrogen in ammonium nitrate = = 35.0%.
A balanced chemical equation is a way of describing the relative quantities of reactants and
products that are involved in a reaction. The coefficients may be read to indicate the relative
numbers of atoms, ions, or molecules involved in the reaction.
It is more useful to read the coefficients as indicating the numbers of moles of each
substance involved.
The following equation, for magnesium metal burning in oxygen, can be
read "two atoms of magnesium combine with one molecule of oxygen to
form two 'molecules' (actually ions Mg and O ) of magnesium oxide."
2+ 2-
A better way to read it is "two moles of magnesium metal combine with one
mole of oxygen gas to form two moles of magnesium oxide".
From this, the relative masses of the reactants and products can be predicted:
2 moles 1 mole 2 moles
2 x 24.3 g 32.0 g 2 x 40.3 g
If the relative masses of reactants and products in a reaction can be predicted from a
balanced equation and knowledge of molar masses, then the actual mass of any reactant or
product can be calculated by the use of ratios.
Example one:
What mass of sodium carbonate will be obtained if 3.36 g of pure sodium hydrogen-
carbonate is heated? (The other products of the reaction are carbon dioxide and water.)
1) Write a balanced equation:
2) Write mole ratios
underneath equation: 2 moles 1 mole
3) Calculate molar masses
and write them under: 2 x 84.0 g 106.0 g
4) Write in known value,
and "x" for unknown: 3.36 g x g
Use ratio to calculate x: = x = = 2.12 g
The mass of sodium carbonate formed by heating 3.36 g of sodium hydrogencarbonate
= 2.12 g.
Example two:
What mass of carbon will be converted to carbon monoxide in reducing 1000 g of iron(III)
oxide to iron metal? What masses of iron and carbon monoxide should be formed?
Note that with three "unknowns" in this problem, three algbraic symbols, x, y, z, are used.
The values of x, y, and z are calculated by simple ratio:
= = =
Mass of carbon converted = x = 226 g
Mass of iron formed = y = 700 g
Mass of carbon monoxide formed = z = 526 g
The total mass of reactants should equal the total mass of products:
1000 g + 226 g = 700 g + 526 g
Example three:
What mass of lead can be extracted by heating 120 g of solid lead sulfide in air, forming
lead oxide and sulfur dioxide, then heating the lead oxide with carbon, to form metallic lead
and carbon monoxide?
This problem can be solved as above, by writing the equations and carrying out all ratio
calculations. An alternative method uses percentage composition: the problem can be
summed up as "how much lead can be separated from 120 g of lead sulfide?"
Molar mass of PbS = (207.2 + 32.1) g = 239.3 g.
Percentage of lead in lead sulfide = = 86.6%
86.6% of 120 g = 104 g = mass of lead that can be extracted from 120 g of lead sulfide.
1. What mass of copper can be extracted from 5.0 g of copper(II) sulfate by dissolving the
copper sulfate in water and adding zinc metal? (The other product is zinc sulfate).
2. What mass of potassium iodide is needed to react exactly with 8.0 g of lead nitrate, to
form lead iodide? (The other product is potassium nitrate).
3. When calcium carbonate is heated strongly, it forms calcium oxide and carbon dioxide.
What mass of calcium carbonate is needed to make 50.0 g of calcium oxide?
4. Sodium carbonate reacts with hydrochloric acid to form sodium chloride, water, and
carbon dioxide. Some hydrochloric acid was added to some sodium carbonate: 6.0 g of
sodium chloride were formed. What mass of carbon dioxide was produced?
5. What mass of lead oxide would need to be reacted with nitric acid to produce 10.0g of
lead nitrate?
Chemical reactants combine in definite proportions which can be predicted from the
equation for the reaction. A word used to describe this is STOICHIOMETRY.
Consider the reaction
2 4 2 4
"The stoichiometric ratio of KOH to H SO is two moles of KOH to one mole of H SO ."
2 4
"The stoichiometry of this reaction requires 98.1 g of H SO for 112.2 g of KOH."
2 4
"If the reactants, H SO and KOH, are mixed in stoichiometric proportion, then the
product will contain only potassium sulfate and water."
The situation often exists, however, where reactants are not mixed in stoichiometric
2 4
proportions. For example, if 12.0 g of KOH is mixed with 10.0 g of H SO , how much
potassium sulfate will be present when the reaction is completed?
2 4
It should not be assumed that 12.0 g of KOH and 10.0 g of H SO is in stoichiometric
proportion. If they are not in stoichiometric proportion, then at the end of the reaction,
2 4
there will be either an excess of KOH or an excess of H SO mixed with the potassium
sulfate product. How can this be checked by calculation?
2 4
Step one Assume H SO to be excess. This means that all of the KOH will be used up.
2 4
Use the mass of KOH present to calculate the mass of H SO used.
= x = 10.5 g
2 4
The mass of H SO needed to react with 12.0 g of KOH is greater than the 10.0 g provided.
2 4
The assumption that H SO is present in excess is false. KOH is in excess.
2 4
Step two KOH is in excess, which means that all the H SO will be used up. Use the mass
2 4 2 4
of H SO present to calculate the mass of KOH used and the mass of K SO
formed in the reaction. The mass of unused KOH can also be calculated.
= = x = 11.4 g y = 17.8 g
2 4
Mass of KOH used = 11.4 g Excess KOH = 0.6 g Mass of K SO made = 17.8 g
It may be possible, by looking carefully at the quantities of reactants, to decide which one
is in excess without having to do a trial-and-error calculation like the one above.
For example: What mass of zinc sulfate will be obtained by treating 20.0 g of zinc oxide
with 1.0 g of sulfuric acid?
It should be obvious at a glance that zinc oxide is in excess, and that it is the sulfuric acid
that will be completely used up. The equation can be rewritten, therefore:
= = x = 1.6 g y = 0.83 g
2 4
Only 0.83 g of zinc oxide reacts with 1.0 g of H SO , leaving 19.2 g of ZnO unreacted.
1.6 g of zinc sulfate is formed.
In some situations, it is stated clearly that an excess of one reactant is used, so the
calculation can be very straightforward.
For example: 5.0 g of magnesium metal is dissolved in excess hydrochloric acid. What
mass of magnesium chloride will be formed?
= x = 19.6 g Mass of magnesium chloride = 19.6 g
1. Manganese dioxide, MnO , reacts with concentrated HCl to form manganese(II)
chloride, chlorine gas, and water. What mass of chlorine gas will be formed if excess HCl
is added to 6.0 g of manganese dioxide?
2. Iron(III) oxide reacts with carbon at very high temperatures to form iron metal and
carbon monoxide gas. If 2000 g of iron oxide is heated with 500 g of carbon in a furnace,
which reactant will be in excess, and by how much?
4 2
3. 50.0 g of copper(II) sulfate crystals (CuSO .5H O) are dissolved in water, and zinc metal
is added. The zinc displaces the copper: metallic copper and zinc sulfate are formed.
Will 12.0 g of zinc be sufficient to displace all the copper?
This statement about gases is, in fact, only approximately true. In this book, it is
accepted without qualification that the molar volume of any gas = 22.4 L at STP.
The actual pressure of the atmosphere varies with weather conditions.
The standard atmosphere is a unit used in chemistry: it is exactly 101.3 kPa.
The unit is usually named simply as atmospheres (atm).
Methods for calculating volumes of gases at various temperatures and pressures
can be found in many text-books, under such headings as Boyle's Law, Charles'
Law, Combined Gas Law, Universal (or Ideal) Gas Equation.
Many chemical reactions involve gases either as reactants or as products. It is often more
useful to calculate quantities of gases as volumes rather than as masses.
It is a fact about gases that the same number of moles of any gas occupies the same volume,
provided that the volumes are measured at the same temperature and pressure.
At Standard Temperature and Pressure, the volume of 1.0 mole of any gas is 22.4 litres.
This volume, 22.4 L at STP, is called the molar volume of a gas.
Standard Temperature and Pressure is commonly written as STP.
Standard temperature = 0 C, standard pressure = 101.3 kilopascals or 1.0 atmospheres .
o 2
The volume of a gas at temperatures and pressures other than STP can be calculated easily .
For current purposes, however, all calculations will assume that a gas is at STP.
Calculations may be set out in the same way as calculations involving masses, except that
when volumes of gases are involved, for every mole of gas write 22.4 L under the equation.
Example one: What volume of hydrogen at STP will be produced when 5.0 g of iron is
treated with excess hydrochloric acid?
When calculating using ratios, it is important to ensure that the units used in each ratio are
the same. In the calculation below, 5.0 grams are divided by 55.8 grams, and x litres are
divided by 22.4 litres.
= x = 2.0 L Volume of hydrogen formed = 2.0 litres at STP
Example two: Hydrogen chloride gas and ammonia gas combine readily to form solid
ammonium chloride. What volume of each gas (at STP) will combine to
form 25.0 g of solid ammonium chloride?
= x = 10.5 L
3 4
10.5 litres each of HCl and NH (at STP) are needed to make 25.0 g of NH Cl.
Excess reactants may have to be considered in reactions involving gases
Example three: 1.5 L (at STP) of carbon dioxide gas is passed into a solution containing
5.0 g of sodium hydroxide. Will all the sodium hydroxide be converted to
sodium carbonate?
= x = 1.4 L
2 2 3
Only 1.4 L at STP of CO are needed to convert 5.0 g of NaOH to Na CO . Since 1.5 L
2 2 3
of CO are passed through the solution, all the NaOH will be converted to Na CO .
(In this situation, the excess CO will form hydrogencarbonate ions at room temperature.)
2 2
1. If manganese dioxide is added to hydrogen peroxide, the H O decomposes to form
2 2
oxygen gas and water. What mass of H O has decomposed to produce 1.5 L of oxygen
gas (at STP)?
2. What volumes (at STP) of hydrogen and oxygen gas are produced by decomposition of
1.0 g of pure water?
3. What volume of ammonia gas (at STP) and what mass of pure sulfuric acid must react
to produce 20.0 g of ammonium sulfate?
4. Carbon monoxide gas reacts with heated copper(II) oxide to produce copper metal and
carbon dioxide gas. Excess CO gas is allowed to react with 20.0 g of CuO until it has
been converted completely to copper. What volume of CO (at STP) is produced?
5. Lead sulfide, heated in air, produces lead oxide and sulfur dioxide gas. Oxygen makes
up one-fifth of the volume of pure air (most of the rest is nitrogen gas).
a) What volume of oxygen will react with 1.0 tonne (= 1 000 000 g) of lead sulfide?
b) Assuming that all the oygen in the air used combines with sulfur, what volume of air
is needed to react with 1.0 tonne of lead sulfide?
One litre = 1 000 mL. Since 1.0 mL = 1.0 cm , then 1.000 litre = 1000 cm .
1 3 3
One decimetre (dm) = metre = 10 cm.
(1.0 dm) = (10 cm) .
3 3
1.0 dm = 1000 cm = 1.000 L.
3 3
Many chemical reactions take place in aqueous (water) solution. Quantities of such
solutions are measured as volumes, while the amounts of solute present in a given volume
of solution are the concentrations of the solutions.
The concentrations of solutions are commonly stated in moles (of solute) per litre (of
solution)(mol. L ), or as Molarity (M), which means the same. In practical terms, however,
amounts of solutes have to be measured as mass, for example in grams. It is not possible
to measure the number of moles of a solid directly with a balance or any other instrument.
Concentrations of solutions can also be expressed, therefore, in grams (of solute) per litre
(of solution) (g. L ).
Grams per litre is therefore a practical way to express concentration of solute in a solution.
Moles per litre, or molarity, is more important in making calculations and predictions about
chemical reactions.
Volumes of solutions are defined in litres, (L), (which is sometimes expressed as dm , or
cubic decimetres ). Millilitres (mL) are also used widely, but may have to be converted to
litres for some calculations.
It is important, therefore, to be able to convert grams to moles and moles to grams for any
Number of moles = or n =
This can also be written:
Actual mass (grams) = Number of moles x Molar mass, or m = n x M
Concentration of a solution can be expressed as a formula:
Concentration (in mol. L ) = or C =
This can also be written:
Number of moles of solute = Concentration (mol. L ) x Volume of solution (litres)
or n = C x V
It is suggested strongly that these formulae be remembered as word formulae, rather than
as algebraic formulae. With word formulae, the student is remembering the meanings of the
parts of each formula. It is easy, with the algebraic formulae, to confuse n and m and M.
Example one:
A solution of sodium hydroxide has a concentration = 0.50 mol. L (also written as
0.50M). How many grams of sodium hydroxide are dissolved in 1.000 L of solution?
Calculate first the number of moles in the 1.000 L of solution.
Concentration = 0.50M = =
Number of moles of solute = 0.50 x 1.000 = 0.50 mol
Sodium hydroxide: formula = NaOH, molar mass = (23.0 + 16.0 + 1.0) g = 40.0 g
One mole of NaOH = 40.0 g, so 0.50 mol of NaOH = 20.0 g.
20.0 g of solid sodium hydroxide dissolved in 1.000 L solution makes a solution of
concentration = 0.50M.
Example two:
What mass of lead nitrate should be dissolved in 250 mL of water to make a solution
of concentration 0.040M?
3 2
Lead nitrate: formula = Pb(NO ) , molar mass = 331.2 g 250 mL = 0.250 L
Concentration = 0.040M = =
Number of moles of solute = 0.040 x 0.250 = 0.010 mol
Mass of lead nitrate required = (0.010 x 331.2) g = 3.31 g.
Example three:
What is the concentration of the solution if 10.0 g of sodium carbonate is dissolved
in 200 mL of solution?
2 3
Sodium carbonate: formula = Na CO , molar mass = 106.0 g 200 mL = 0.200 L
2 3
Number of moles of Na CO in 10.0 g = = 0.0943 mol.
Concentration = = = 0.47 M
Example four:
What volume of solution must be made if 5.10 g of silver nitrate is to be dissolved to
make a solution of concentration = 0.050M?
Silver nitrate: formula = AgNO , molar mass = 169.9 g
Number of moles of silver nitrate = = = 0.0300 mol
Concentration = 0.050 =
Volume = L = 0.600 L = 600 mL
Calculations of this kind should be practised until they can be done quickly and easily.
1. How many moles of calcium hydroxide are needed to make 2.000 L of 0.001M
solution? What mass of calcium hydroxide would be required?
2, What volume of 0.05M potassium sulfate contains 50.0 g of potassium sulfate? (Hint:
first convert the number of grams to number of moles.)
4 2
3. What is the concentration of magnesium sulfate if 20.0 g of crystals (MgSO .7H O) are
dissolved in 500 mL of solution?
4. What is the mass of hydrogen chloride in 2.50L of 10.5M hydrochloric acid solution?
(Hydrochloric acid is a solution of hydrogen chloride gas in water. "Concentrated
hydrochloric acid" is approximately 10.5M).
5. What mass of iron(II) sulfate is present in 25.00 mL of 0.10M solution?
Consider a solution made by dissolving one mole of solid calcium chloride in one litre of
water to make a solution that is 1.00M in calcium chloride.
The one litre of solution contains 1.00 mol of CaCl . It can also be said to contain 1.00 mol
of calcium ions and 2.00 mol of chloride ions.
This can be shown symbolically [CaCl ] = 1.00M [Ca ] = 1.00M [Cl ] = 2.00M
2+ -
(The square brackets, [ ], mean "concentration of ".)
Further examples:
1. What is the concentration of ammonium ions in 0.25M ammonium sulfate solution?
4 2 4
Formula for ammonium sulfate is (NH ) SO . In a given volume of solution, there are
twice as many moles of ammonium ions as there are moles of ammonium sulfate or of
sulfate alone.
4 4 4 2 4
[NH ] = 2[SO ] = 2[(NH ) SO ]
+ 2-
Therefore [NH ] = 0.50M
2. What is the concentration of nitrate ion in 0.40M aluminium nitrate solution?
3 3
Formula for aluminium nitrate is Al(NO ) .
Therefore [NO ] = 1.20M
3. What are the concentrations of iron(III) and of sulfate ions in 0.10M iron(III) sulfate?
2 4 3
Formula for iron(III) sulfate is Fe (SO )
Therefore [Fe ] = 0.20M and [SO ] = 0.30M
3+ 2-
4. In a solution of silver sulfate in water, the concentration of silver ions is 0.0004M. What
is the concentration of sulfate ions in the solution?
2 4
Formula for silver sulfate is Ag SO
4 4
[Ag ] = 2[SO ] Therefore [SO ] = 0.0002M
+ 2- 2-
1. What is the concentration of
a) lead ions in a 0.02M solution of lead nitrate?
b) nitrate ions in a 1.0M solution of zinc nitrate?
c) ammonium ions in a 0.40M solution of ammonium chloride?
d) iron(III) ions in a solution of iron(III) nitrate where [NO ] = 0.45M?
e) iodide ions in a solution of magnesium iodide where [Mg ] = 0.20M
2. What mass of solid would need to be dissolved in 250 mL of water to make a solution
in which
a) [Cl ] = 0.50M, using potassium chloride?
b) [SO ] = 0.50M, using sodium sulfate?
4 2
c) [Fe ] = 0.05M, using iron(II) sulfate-7-water (FeSO .7H O)?
d) [NH ] = 0.02M, using ammonium hydrogenphosphate?
e) [Cl ] = 0.60M, using iron(III) chloride?
3. What is the molarity of chloride ions in each of the following solutions?
a) 5.85 g of sodium chloride are dissolved in 500 mL of solution.
b) 1.1 g of calcium chloride is dissolved in 100.0 mL of solution.
c) 13.3 g of aluminium chloride dissolve in 600 mL of solution.
d) 9.5 g of magnesium chloride and 0.74 g of potassium chloride are dissolved together
in 250 mL of solution.
e) 1.47 g each of zinc chloride, potassium chloride, and iron(III) chloride are dissolved
together in 750 mL of solution.
4. To make a solution that is 0.10M in chloride, what volume of solution should be made
a) if 10.7 g of ammonium chloride is dissolved to make the solution?
b) if 22.2 g of calcium chloride is dissolved to make the solution?
The basic procedure here is similar to that for other calculations:
1) Write a balanced equation.
2) Write mole ratios under the equation, to show the ratio of moles of reactants to moles
of products.
3) Write in the given data for concentrations and volumes, writing x for unknown values.
4) Convert values of concentration and volume to moles.
5) Use ratios to calculate x. The ratio between the actual numbers of moles of the reactants
(line 4 in example one on the next page) and the number of moles shown in the equation
(line two in example one on the next page) are equal (line 5 in example one on the next
(Examples next page)
Example one:
What volume of 0.25M hydrochloric acid will exactly neutralise 40.0 mL of 2.00M sodium
hydroxide solution?
1) Write a balanced equation:
2) Write mole ratios under the equation.
3) Write in the given data for concentrations
and volumes, writing x for unknown values.
4) Convert values of concentration and volume
to moles.
5) Use ratios to calculate x: =
The factor "/1000" converts the given volumes from millilitres to litres. Since it is a
common factor, it is cancelled from the next step.
x = = 320 mL
Example two:
Silver nitrate solution of concentration 0.025M is added to 50.0 mL of sodium sulfide
solution, causing silver sulfide to precipitate. 21.5 mL of the silver nitrate solution was just
sufficient to precipitate all the sulfide ions present. What was the concentration of sulfide
ions in the sodium sulfide solution?
1) Write a balanced equation.
2) Write mole ratios under the equation.
3) Write in the given data for concentrations and volumes, writing x for unknown values.
4) Convert values of concentration and volume to moles.
When the factor 1000 has been cancelled, as in the previous example, the product of
the concentration and volume in millilitres can be stated in millilmoles (mmol).
5) Use ratios to calculate x. The ratios are . If the units used in both ratios are
the same, the ratio can be calculated in the usual way.
Molarity of Na S = x = = 0.0054M = 5.4 × 10 M
NB the concentrations of sodium ions and of nitrate ions in the mixture are equal.
[Na ] = 2 × ( ) × 5.4 × 10 M = 0.0075M, [NO ] = ( ) × 0.025M = 0.0075M
+ -3 -
Example three:
When iron(II) sulfate solution is added to a solution of potassium cyanide, it reacts to form
the hexacyanoferrate(II) ion, Fe(CN) . What is the largest volume of 0.50M iron(II) sulfate
solution that would react completely with 120.0 mL of 0.40M KCN solution?
"Largest volume that would react" is the volume that is needed to react exactly. If a
smaller volume were used, there would be excess of cyanide solution.
= x = = 16.0 mL
Example four:
This example varies from the previous ones in that it involves an excess of one reactant.
30.0 mL of 0.25M sodium hydroxide solution is added to 12.5 mL of 0.40M sulfuric acid
solution. What is the concentration of unreacted sodium hydroxide or sulfuric acid in the
solution after the solutions are mixed?
= 7.5 mmol = 5.0 mmol
2 4
The equation shows that 2 mol of NaOH react with 1mol of H SO , so 7.5 mmol of NaOH
2 4
require only 3.75 mmol of H SO for complete reaction. Sulfuric acid is in excess; the
2 4
excess of H SO is (5.0 - 3.75)mmol = 1.25 mmol, or 1.25 x 10 mol.
Students uncomfortable with using millimoles can work with moles by inserting the factor
1000 to convert millilitres to litres wherever necessary: for example, the calculation above
would appear as
= 7.5 × 10 mol = 5.0 × 10 mol
-3 -3
2 4 2 4
To calculate the concentration of H SO in the final solution: the number of moles of H SO is
known, as is the volume of the solution : (30.0 + 12.5) mL = 42.5 mL = 42.5 × 10 L.
The relationship concentration = can be used:
2 4 4
Concentration of H SO = = 0.024M (Actually, HSO ions are formed.)
Example five: This is a more difficult problem.
What volume of 0.10M silver nitrate solution should be added to 25.00 mL of 0.10M
calcium chloride solution to leave a final chloride concentration = 0.05M?
The student must be aware of several things. Silver ions form insoluble AgCl when chloride
is present. The initial concentration of calcium chloride is given as 0.10M, but the chloride
concentration is 0.20M. It is inferred from the wording of the question that calcium
chloride will be present in excess.
A chemical problem, however complex it may seem, should be started by writing a
chemical equation and filling in the data under the equation in the way demonstrated
previously. Unknown quantities, such as, in this case, the volume of silver nitrate solution,
should be written as an algebraic symbol (such as x). Additional information may need to
be inserted in the space under the equation.
In problems such as this, it is often easier to use an ionic equation than a molecular
equation (see pages 23 - 24).
Total volume of solution after mixing = (25.00 + x) mL
Concentration of chloride, [Cl ], after mixing = = 0.05M
The equation in the previous line can be solved to give x = 23.0 mL
1. What volume of 0.12M potassium hydroxide will exactly neutralise 40.0 mL of 0.15M
nitric acid?
2. What volume of 0.010M calcium hydroxide solution ("lime water") is neutralised exactly
by 25.00 mL of 0.026M hydrochloric acid?
3. What is the concentration of lead ions in a solution if they are completely precipitated
from 24.0 mL of solution by 32.0 mL of 0.28M potassium iodide. (Lead iodide is
insoluble in cold water.)
4. What is the smallest concentration of sulfate ions that must be present for 22.0 mL of
sodium sulfate solution to precipitate all the barium in 20.0 mL of 0.15M barium
chloride solution? (Barium sulfate is insoluble in water).
5. 25.0 mL of 0.065M sodium hydroxide solution is mixed with an equal volume of
0.030M sulfuric acid solution. What is the concentration of sodium hydroxide in the
mixed solution?
6. Mercury(II) and iodide ions react to form an ion HgI (called tetraiodomercury(II)).
What is the smallest volume of 0.40M potassium iodide solution that should be mixed
with 10.0 mL of 0.10M mercury(II) chloride to convert all the mercury(II) ions to
tetraiodomercury(II) ions?
7. Potassium dichromate solution is mixed with acidified sodium oxalate solution. The
products of the reaction are chromium(III) ions and carbon dioxide. (See page 7 for
formulae, page 28 or page 30 for methods of balancing equations.) 20.0 mL of 0.025M
potassium dichromate solution was reduced completely by 30.0 mL of sodium oxalate
solution. What is the concentration of chromium(III) in the final solution?
NB there is a quick way to calculate the answer to this question.
8. Equal volumes of 0.020M sodium carbonate and 0.030M calcium nitrate solutions are
mixed. What are the concentrations in the final mixture of
a) sodium ions? b) nitrate ions? c) calcium ions? d) carbonate ions?
NB calcium carbonate is insoluble in water.
9. If hydrogen peroxide solution is added to acidified potassium permanganate solution,
the permanganate ions are reduced to Mn and oxygen gas is produced. What volume
of 0.040M hydrogen peroxide will exactly reduce 20.00 mL of 0.0080M potassium
permanganate solution? (See page 28 or page 30 for method to balance equation).
10. Excess solid zinc oxide is reacted with 40.0 mL of 1.0M hydrochloric acid until all of
the acid has reacted. What is the concentration of zinc ions in the final solution? How
many moles of zinc chloride will have been formed?
The following exercises are more difficult. Remember that even if you cannot see how
to solve a problem, start by writing an equation (molecular or ionic - see page 23) and
then entering mole ratios and given data under the equation, using algebraic symbols
for thm quantities that are unknown and have to be found.
11. Both lead chloride and lead bromide are insoluble in cold water. 20.0 mL of 0.12M
sodium chloride solution are added to 50.0 mL of 0.05M lead nitrate solution. What
volume of 0.20M potassium bromide solution would be needed to precipitate the
remaining lead from the solution?
12. Barium sulfate and zinc hydroxide are both insoluble in water. Both substances will be
precipitated if barium hydroxide solution and zinc sulfate solution are mixed. If 20.0 mL
of barium hydroxide solution reacts exactly with 60 mL of zinc sulfate solution, what
is the ratio of the concentrations of the two solutions?
13. Barium sulfate is insoluble in water. What volume of 0.10M barium hydroxide solution
should be added to 20.0 mL of 0.15M sulfuric acid solution so that the concentration
of sulfuric acid in the final solution is 0.10M?
Calculations about the amounts of reactants and products in chemical reactions often
involve some combination of mass, gas volume, and volume and concentration of solutions.
There may be more than one method to obtain a solution to a problem, but it is still always
necessary to start with a balanced equation.
In the first line under the equation, write the mole ratio from the equation.
Then, in the second line,
a) where masses are involved, write in the molar masses of the materials
concerned, multiplied by the number of moles shown in the equation.
b) where gas volumes are involved (at STP), write in 22.4 L, multiplied by the
number of moles of gas shown in the equation.
c) where solution volumes and concentrations are involved, do not enter any
values in the second line.
In the third line, enter the values given in the question, using algebraic symbols for
unknown values that must be calculated. Where solution volumes and
concentrations are involved, calculate and enter the number of moles present.
Ratios can then be written, using , , and .
It should be checked that units of mass and volume used are the same.
Example one:
What volume of carbon dioxide gas (at STP) can be obtained by heating 20.0 g of solid zinc
= x = L = 3.57 L
Example two:
Calculate the mass of magnesium that will dissolve in 100.0 mL of 0.50M hydrochloric acid.
What volume of hydrogen will be produced?
= =
x = mass of Mg used = = 0.61 g, y = volume of H produced =
= 0.56 L
Example three:
If carbon dioxide gas is passed into a solution of calcium hydroxide (lime water), calcium
carbonate settles as an insoluble precipitate. Carbon dioxide was passed into 500 mL of lime
water until all the calcium hydroxide had been turned into calcium carbonate. The calcium
carbonate formed was separated, dried, and weighed. There was 0.40 g of dried calcium
carbonate. What was the molarity of the original calcium hydroxide solution?
NB that in this question, an excess of carbon dioxide is used, so the gas volume need not
be considered in the calculation.
= x = M = 0.008M = 8 x 10 M
Molarity of calcium hydroxide = 0.008M = 8 x 10 M
Example four:
When hydrogen sulfide gas is passed into a solution containing copper(II) ions, insoluble
copper(II) sulfide is formed.
a) Will 200 mL of hydrogen sulfide gas (at STP) be sufficient to remove all copper ions
from 50 mL of 0.10M copper(II) sulfate solution?
b) What mass of copper(II) sulfide will be formed if all the copper is precipitated?
It is not clear from inspection of the data whether there is enough H S present to turn all
copper(II) to CuS. It is suggested, therefore, that the volume of H S that will precipitate
0.0050 mol of Cu as CuS be calculated. Let the volume of H S needed be y L.
= y = (0.0050 x 22.4)L = 0.112 L = 112 mL
200 mL of H S provides an excess of gas, and all the copper will form CuS.
Now the mass of CuS, which is x g, can be calculated:
= x = (95.6 x 0.0050) g = 0.48 g
Example five: This is a more difficult problem.
Potassium permanganate solution reacts with sodium oxalate solution (for oxalate ion, see
page 7), in the presence of excess sulfuric acid, to produce Mn ions and carbon dioxide.
Enough 0.040M sodium oxalate solution must be made to react with 1.000 L of 0.020M
potassium permanganate solution.
What mass of sodium oxalate solid should be dissolved, in how much water, to make the
required solution?
As usual, it is necessary to start with an equation, and to write the mole ratios of reactants and/or
products under the equation. If data are entered under the equation in the usual way, a method of
solution may become apparent.
There are however, two choices: should the volume and concentration of the sodium oxalate
solution be written under the equation, or the required mass of sodium oxalate? Either course may
be followed, as is demonstrated below.
Methods for writing a balanced redox equation are explained on pages 28 and 30.
Method one: using volume and concentration of sodium oxalate:
x = ( )L = 1.25 L = volume of 0.040M sodium oxalate solution needed.
Number of moles of sodium oxalate needed (see page 44) = 0.040 x 1.25 = 0.050 mol
2 2 4
Molar mass of sodium oxalate, Na C O = 134.0
Mass of sodium oxalate required (see page 44) = (0.050 x 134.0) g = 6.7 g
Method two: using mass of sodium oxalate:
4 2 4 2 2
2MnO (aq) + 5C O (aq) + 16H (aq) 6 2Mn (aq) + 10CO (g) + 8H O(l)
- 2- + 2+
2 mol 5 mol
= 0.020mol x g
x = = 6.7 g = mass of sodium oxalate needed to make the solution.
The number of moles of sodium oxalate = = 0.050 mol.
Concentration = , so 0.040M =
2 2 4 2 4
V = L = 1.25 L, which will dissolve 6.7 g of Na C O to make [C O ] = 0.040M
Example six: Another more difficult problem.
It is not possible to make a solution of iodine of exactly known concentration by weighing
a sample of solid iodine and dissolving it in a known volume of solvent.
One way to make a solution of iodine of exactly known concentration is to add dilute
3 3
sulfuric acid and bromate ions (BrO ), as potassium bromate (KBrO ), to a solution
containing excess potassium iodide. The bromate oxidises iodide to iodine, and is itself
reduced to bromide.
What mass of potassium bromate should be used, and what is the minimum mass of
potassium iodide needed, to make 1.000L of 0.0100M iodine solution?
It is easier to write a balanced ionic equation first, but this should then have spectator ions
inserted to make it a molecular equation, since masses have to be calculated for both
KBrO and KI. (See pages 23, 24, 28, 30 for methods of writing equations).
The question asks for "the minimum mass of potassium iodide needed". In the calculation
below, the stoichiometric (see page 40) mass of potassium iodide is calculated: this is the
"minimum mass needed". More than the minimum is then used to make the solution.
= =
x = mass of potassium bromate needed = ( ) = 0.557 g
y = minimum mass of potassium iodide needed = ( ) = 3.32 g
The main difficulty with a question like this is in interpreting the question. Once the
equation has been written and the data written in under the equation, it is no more difficult
than any of the preceding ones.
Summing up, therefore: for problems involving stoichiometry (see page 40):
Exercises on stoichiometry: mass, gas volume, and solution volume and
concentration are involved together in these exercises.
Assume that all gas volumes are given at STP (see page 42).
1. Ammonia gas can be produced by heating a mixture of solid sodium hydroxide with
solid ammonium sulfate. What mass of ammonium sulfate should be heated with excess
sodium hydroxide to produce 2.00 L of ammonia gas?
2. Hydrochloric acid is a solution in water of hydrogen chloride gas. What will be the
concentration of the hydrochloric acid if 400 mL of hydrogen chloride are dissolved in
100 mL of water?
3. Will 10.0 mL of 0.20M calcium chloride solution be sufficient to precipitate all of the
silver from 60.0 mL of 0.020M silver nitrate solution?
4. Excess solid zinc carbonate is treated with 40.0 mL of 2.0M hydrochloric acid. What
volume of carbon dioxide is likely to be formed? What will be the concentrations of zinc
and chloride ions in the final solution? (NB zinc chloride is very soluble in water.)
5. Potassium dihydrogenphosphate is going to be made by reacting solid potassium
carbonate with 100.0 mL of 1.00M phosphoric acid (see page 7 for formulae, page 5
for names and formulae of acids). What mass of potassium carbonate is needed?
6. A 25.00mL sample of 0.1012M hydrochloric acid is exactly neutralised by 23.47 mL
of sodium hydroxide solution. It needed 27.33 mL of the same sodium hydroxide
solution to neutralise a second 25.00 mL sample of hydrochloric acid. What is the
concentration of the second sample of hydrochloric acid?
(HINT: there is a short way to solve this problem, that does not require that the
concentration of the sodium hydroxide solution be calculated.)
7. To make 10.0 g of lead iodide, lead nitrate is going to be mixed with 100.0 mL of
0.50M potassium iodide solution. What mass of solid lead nitrate is required? How
much excess potassium iodide is being used?
8 18
8. Petrol is mainly octane, C H . The mass of 1.00 L of octane is 698 g. What volume of
carbon dioxide, and what mass of water, are formed when 1.00 L of petrol is burned
to form carbon dioxide and water only?
9. When potassium chloride is oxidised, chlorine gas is formed. What volume of chlorine
would be formed if 20.0 g of potassium chloride is oxidised? (HINT: is a full equation
necessary? See page 30).
10. Carbon dioxide and water only are formed when 2.00L of methane gas (CH ) is burnt.
If all of the carbon dioxide formed is passed into a solution containing excess barium
hydroxide, what mass of barium carbonate should be formed?
11. A 20.00 g sample of a mixture of calcium carbonate and calcium sulfate was treated
with excess hydrochloric acid. The carbon dioxide produced was all recovered and its
mass was found to be 3.30 g. What mass of calcium sulfate was present in the sample?
Page 15: writing formula:
3 2 3 3 2 2 2 3
a) CaO b) LiF c) Na N d) K S e) AlCl f) Ca N g) Li S h) AlN i) Al O
Page 29: equations for balancing:
Page 34: equations for balancing:
Page 39:
1. 2.0 g 2. 8.0 g 3. 89.2 g 4. 2.3 g 5. 6.7 g
Page 41:
1. 4.9 g 2. C is in excess by 49 g 3. No: 13.1 g of zinc are needed
Page 43:
2 2 3 2 4
1. 4.6 g 2. H = 1.24 L O = 0.62 L 3. NH = 6.8 L H SO = 14.8 g
4. 5.6 L 5. a) 1.4 x 10 L of oxygen b) 7.0 x 10 L of air.
5 5
Page 46:
1. 0.002 mol, 0.15 g 2. 5.74 L 3. 0.162M 4. 958 g 5. 0.38 g
Page 47:
1. a) 0.02M b) 2.0M c) 0.40M d) 0.15M e) 0.40M 2. a) 9.3 g b) 17.8 g c) 3.5 g
d) 0.33 g e) 8.1 g 3. a) 0.20M b) 0.20M c) 0.50M d) 0.84M e) 0.091M
4. a) 2.0 L b) 4.0 L
Page 50:
1. 50.0 mL 2. 32.5 mL 3. 0.19M 4. 0.14M 5. 2.5 x 10 M 6. 10.0 mL
7. 0.020M
The "quick way" mentioned recognises that one mole of dichromate ions produces two
2 7
moles of Cr ions. As the solution volume increases from 20 mL to 50 mL, [Cr O ]
3+ 2-
2 7
decreases from 0.025M to 0.010M. However, at the same time, Cr O ions are
2 7
changed to Cr ions, so [Cr O ] = 0.010M becomes [Cr ] = 0.020M
3+ 2- 3+
8. a) 0.020M b) 0.030M c) 0.0050M d) zero
Explanation: initially, since equal volumes are mixed, the volume doubles so the con-
centations of the ions is halved, so [Na ] = 0.020M (0.040M in the initial solution
2 3 3 3
because of two sodium ions in Na CO ), [CO ] = 0.010M, [Ca ] = 0.015M, [NO ]
2- 2+ -
= 0.030M (initially doubled like the sodium ions). The amount of calcium ions exceeds
the amount of carbonate ions, so in the reaction all the carbonate precipitates, leaving
0.005 mol L of calcium ions in the solution. Sodium and nitrate ions are spectator
ions, so are unaffected by the reaction.
2 4
9. 10.0 mL 10. [Zn ] = 0.5M, 0.040 mol 11. 13.0 mL 12. [Ba(OH) ] = 3 x [ZnSO ]
13. This problem resembles Example five on page 50. The method of solution suggested
below is a little different from that used on page 50.
Let volume of Ba(OH) solution = x
2 4
Initial amount of H SO = 20.0 × 0.15 = 3.00 mmol
Amount of barium hydroxide added = 0.10x mmol = amount of sulfuric acid reacted.
2 4
Final [H SO ] = (3.00 - 0.10x) mmol
Final volume of mixture = (20.0 + x) mL
2 4
Final [H SO ] = = 0.10
This solves to give x = 5.0 mL
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1. 5.9 g 2. 0.18M 3. Yes: there are 4 mmol of Cl to 1.2 mmol of Ag
- +
4. 0.90 L of CO , [Zn ] = 1.0M, [Cl ] = 2.0M 5. 6.91 g 6. 0.1178M
2+ -
7. 7.2 g of lead nitrate; excess KI = 0.0067 mol or 13 mL of the solution used.
2 2
8. Volume of CO = 1097 L at STP, mass of H O = 992 g
9. 3.0 L Explanation about use of a half-equation: the question does not say what oxidises
the chloride, so only a half equation can be written. Potassium is a spectator ion, and
must be included in the equation since the question involves a mass of KCl. (It is
assumed in the equation that KCl is a solid, although the question does not say so.)
10. 17.6 g 11. 12.49 g of CaSO