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Atom balance

  1. Oct 2, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    One mole of CO and 1/2 mole of oxygen are mixed and the products consist of CO2, CO, O2, and O. Write the atom balance for C and O.

    2. Relevant equations

    Mass conservation

    3. The attempt at a solution
    1/2(O2)+CO2 -> aCO2 +bCO+cO2 +dO.
    a, b, c, d are unknowns.

    I make a table:

    Element Reactants Products
    C 1 a+b
    O 2 2a+b+2c+d

    Its unsolvable. 2 equations and 4 unknowns. But the answer is CO2 <-> CO+1/2(O2)

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 2, 2013 #2


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    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    It is solvable with a unique solution, if you consider a final state without CO (CO would just indicate your reaction was not complete) and take into account that O2 cannot be negative and O won't happen.
  4. Oct 3, 2013 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Strange question. How is atom balance defined?
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