# Algebraic method to balance redox equations

• diffrac
In summary, the conversation discusses the use of the algebraic method to solve redox equations and how it can be applied to equations with and without superscripts. It is mentioned that when everything is neutral on both sides of the reaction, there is no need to separately balance the charges. Additionally, the use of additional identities is suggested to balance equations with charged and uncharged species. It is recommended to use and tags to properly format the equations.
diffrac
Hi all,

I'm learning how to solve redox equations. I found the algebraic method to solve equations such as this one:
Fe$^{2+}$ + Cr$_{2}$O$_{7}$$^{2-}$ +H$^{+}$$\rightarrow$ Fe$^{3+}$ + Cr$^{3+}$ + H$_{2}$0
and i was able to solve it.

What I don't see is how to use that algebraic method to solve an equation without superscripts; since it doesn't allow you to balance the charges, right?
like for example: NaOH + Cr(OH)$_{3}$ + NaClO$\rightarrow$ Na$_{2}$CrO$_{4}$ +NaCl + H$_{2}$O

If everything is neutral (on both sides of the reaction) there is no need to separately balance the charge. But you can always write an additional identity

$$0\times a_1 + 0\times a_2 + ... = 0\times b_1 + 0\times b_2 + ...$$

(assuming ai are stoichiometric coefficients on the LHS of the equation, and bi are coefficients on the RHS).

Compare ChemBuddy lecture on the algebraic method of reaction equation balancing - it shows how to balance both equations with charged and uncharged species.

Use [noparse] and [/noparse] tags to format the formulas, don't mix normal text with LaTeX, it is not guaranteed to work OK.

## 1. What is the algebraic method used for balancing redox equations?

The algebraic method is a mathematical approach used to balance redox equations, which involves assigning oxidation numbers to the elements in the reactants and products and using a series of algebraic steps to ensure that the total charges and numbers of atoms on both sides of the equation are equal.

## 2. How is the algebraic method different from other methods of balancing redox equations?

The algebraic method is different from other methods, such as the half-reaction method, in that it does not require the use of half reactions or the balancing of charges. Instead, it relies on the conservation of mass and charge to balance the equation.

## 3. What are the steps involved in using the algebraic method to balance a redox equation?

The steps involved in using the algebraic method include assigning oxidation numbers, writing out the unbalanced equation, setting up an algebraic equation for each element involved, solving for the missing coefficients, and checking that the equation is balanced by ensuring that the total charges and numbers of atoms are equal on both sides.

## 4. Why is the algebraic method preferred by some scientists for balancing redox equations?

The algebraic method is preferred by some scientists because it is a more systematic and mathematical approach, making it easier to understand and apply. It also does not require the use of any memorization or special rules, making it more versatile and adaptable for different types of redox equations.

## 5. Are there any limitations to using the algebraic method for balancing redox equations?

While the algebraic method is a useful tool for balancing most redox equations, it may not work for more complex or non-standard equations. In these cases, other methods, such as the half-reaction method, may be more suitable. Additionally, the algebraic method can be more time-consuming and tedious compared to other methods, so it may not be the preferred approach for all scientists.

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