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Limiting Reactants and %


Limiting Factors
Limiting factors are those factors which
control the speed or the outcome of a
reaction or a situation
Have you ever been behind a school bus in
the morning?
You can only go as fast as the bus in front
of you.
The bus one limiting factor preventing you
from getting to school on time.

Limiting Reactants
Ingredients for making Smores:
2 graham crackers
1 marshmallow
1 Hershey bar
How many Smores can you make with 14 graham
crackers, 5 marshmallows, and 6 Hershey bars?
5 Smores
How many of each ingredient are left over?
0 marshmallows
4 graham crackers
1 Hershey bar

Limiting Reactant
The limiting reactant is the reactant
which controls the rate of reaction or
the amount of product that can be
The limiting reactant is determined
using stoichiometric relationships

The reactant that you have more
than you need to perform a chemical
reaction is called the excess reactant
It is not completely used up in a
chemical reaction.

Heres an example
You are making ham and cheese
sandwiches and you have:
5 pieces of ham
5 pieces of cheese
8 pieces of bread

Which of these ingredients do you have

more than enough of (excess reactant)?
Which of these do you not have enough of
(limiting reactant?

Yield is how much product that you
In industry, the amount of yield needs to
be calculated so that production
schedules can be made
You also need to know how much product
you are going to be making so that you
will have the appropriate size collection

Real or Not?
Actual yield refers to the amount of
product that is actually generated
Theoretical yield refers to the
amount of product that you expect
to generate

Calculating Yield
In order to calculate the theoretical
yield you need to
Write a balanced chemical equation.
Calculate the amount of product produced
from each reactant individually.
The reactant that produces the least
amount of product is the limiting reactant.
The reactant that you have enough of is
the excess reactant.

Percentage Yield
You recently bought
a new car. The EPA
sticker says that you
should get 28 mpg
in average driving.
Your actual miles
per gallon turns out
to be less than 28

Theoretical Yield vs. Actual

You perform a massmass calculation to
determine how much
chemical should be
produced in a reaction.
The actual results of
the experiment
produce less chemical
than calculated.

Calculating Percent Yield

1. Calculate the theoretical yield
(mass-mass calculation).
2. Determine the actual yield.
3. Calculate the % yield
% Yield = Actual yield x 100
Theoretical yield

A Percent Yield Problem

A chemist starts with 1.75 g of salicylic
acid (C7H6O3) and excess methanol (CH3OH)
and reports the production of 1.42 g oil of
wintergreen (C8H8O3) in the following
C7H6O3 + CH3OH C8H8O3 + H2O
What is the percent yield for this reaction?

Solving the Problem

1.75 g


C7H6O3 + CH3OH C8H8O3 + H2O

3. 1.75 g x 1 mol =

0.0127 mol C7H6O3

g O x 1 molC H O =
4. 0. 0127 mol138
C7 H
6 3
8 8 3
1 mol C7H6O3

0.0127 mol C8H8O3 x

152 g =
1 mol

0.0127 mol C8H8O3

1.93 g C8H8O3

% Yield cont.
6. (Actual Yield Theoretical Yield) x 100

(1.42 g 1.93 g) x 100 =

73.6 % Yield

Practice Problems
1. A chemist carried out a reaction that should produce 21.8 g
of a product, according to a mass-mass calculation.
However, the chemist was able to recover only 13.9 g of
the product. What percentage yield did the chemist get?
2. A calculation indicates that 82.2 g of a product should be
obtained from a certain reaction. If a chemist actually gets
30.7 g, what is the percentage yield?
3. Chromium(III) hydroxide will dissolve in sodium
hydroxide according to the following equation:
NaOH + Cr(OH)3 NaCr(OH)4

If you begin with 66.0 g of Cr(OH)3 and obtain 38.4 g of

product, what is your % yield?


(13.9g / 21.8g) x 100 = 63.8%


(30.7g / 82.2g) x 100 = 37.3%


NaOH + Cr(OH)3 NaCr(OH)4

66.0g Cr(OH)3 x 1mol/103g = 0.641mol Cr(OH)3
= 0.641mol NaCr(OH)4 x 143g / 1mol NaCr(OH)4 =
91.66g NaCr(OH)4
(38.4g / 91.7g) x 100 = 41.9%

Practice Problem
Identify the limiting reactant and the
theoretical yield of H3PO3 if 225 g of PCl3 is
mixed with 125 g of H2O



PCl3 + 3H2O H3PO3 + 3HCl

Convert each mass to moles:
225 g PCl3 x 1 mol/137 g = 1.64 mol PCl3
125 g H2O x 1 mol/ 18 g = 6.94 mol H2O
1.64 mol PCl3 requires 4.92 mol H2O
PCl3 is the limiting reactant
1.64 mol PCl3 = 1.64 mol H3PO3
1.64 mol H3PO3 x 82 g/1 mol = 134 g H3PO3

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