Year 11 chemistry:balancing chemical equations, reactions of metals and acids

Chemistry has its own language with words and sentences.

Chemistry has its own language with words and sentences.

To a chemist the words are chemical formulae. When chemical formulae are joined together in a sentence we call this a chemical equation.

Hydrogen and oxygen mixtures explode when lit. In a test tube this explosion is heard as a “pop”. We call the test for hydrogen “the pop test”

The space shuttle is launched into space with three main engines. Each engine produces 1.8 Meganewtons of thrust. The engines are powered by liquid hydrogen and oxygen fuel stored in the large central rust coloured tank.

The space shuttle is blasted into space on the back of a mega “pop test” The two tanks on either side of the shuttle are solid fuel boosters.

Hydrogen molecules and oxygen molecules react with each other to form water molecules. A chemist rewrites this sentence as a word equation

hydrogen + oxygen —–> water

Chemists use chemical formulae instead of words. Finally chemists need to count the numbers of atoms involved. We need to have the same numbers of atoms after the reaction that we had at the start.

When we do this we end up with a fully balanced chemical equation. As far as NCEA level 1 is concerned here are the steps.

  • word equation…..achievement
  • with chemical formulae……merit
  • a fully balanced chemical equation…..excellence

Check out the video to see how we get a fully balanced equation for the “pop test”

try balancing the equations that describe metals reacting with acids.

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