# Balance the Chemical Equation

• student34
In summary, a student performs a single replacement reaction by dipping a strip of copper metal, Cu(s), into an aqueous solution of silver nitrate, AgN03(aq), to produce silver, Ag(s). The equation is 2AgN03(aq) + Cu(s) = 2Ag(s) + Cu(N03)2(aq).
student34

## Homework Statement

A student performs a single replacement reaction by dipping a strip of copper metal, Cu(s), into an aqueous solution of silver nitrate, AgN03(aq), to produce silver, Ag(s). Write the balanced equation.

## The Attempt at a Solution

The answer has, 2AgN03(aq) + Cu(s) = 2Ag(s) + Cu(N03)2(aq).

This only makes sense to me if it is copper II metal. Doesn't it have to specify? How else would I know?

I know that there is some naming rule that says something about if there is nothing specified, then it is one or the other. But I have seen copper II specified before.

student34 said:
How else would I know?
This is among a whole lot of other information that just has to stick in your memory. "The plus II oxidation state for Cu" is the one you commonly encounter. There isn't any convincing argument for stability of nine electrons in the 4s and 3d orbitals (Cu+2) being greater than that of ten electrons (Cu+), so don't feel you've missed seeing something that should be obvious to you --- it isn't obvious to anyone.

student34
Bystander said:
This is among a whole lot of other information that just has to stick in your memory. "The plus II oxidation state for Cu" is the one you commonly encounter. There isn't any convincing argument for stability of nine electrons in the 4s and 3d orbitals (Cu+2) being greater than that of ten electrons (Cu+), so don't feel you've missed seeing something that should be obvious to you --- it isn't obvious to anyone.
Shouldn't they have put "copper II" instead of just "copper"? That is what throws me off.

No, no need for that. Cu(I) is quite rare. You may expect Cu(I) in questions related to some quite specific copper chemistry, but not when it comes to a general copper reaction in the solution.

student34

I would first clarify with the student what they mean by "copper metal". In chemistry, there are two common forms of copper: copper(I) and copper(II). Copper(I) is usually referred to as "copper metal" while copper(II) is commonly called "copper(II) metal" or "copper(II) ion". It is important to specify which form of copper is being used in the reaction because it affects the overall charge and reactivity of the compounds involved.

If the student is referring to copper(II) metal, then the equation they have provided is correct. However, if they are referring to copper(I) metal, then the equation should be 2AgNO3(aq) + 2Cu(s) = 2Ag(s) + 2CuNO3(aq). This is because copper(I) has a +1 charge, while copper(II) has a +2 charge.

In general, it is important to specify the oxidation state of each chemical species in a chemical equation to ensure accuracy and clarity. This can be done by using Roman numerals in parentheses after the element's name, such as copper(II) or by using the appropriate prefixes, such as di- for two and tri- for three.

In summary, to write a balanced chemical equation, it is important to specify the oxidation state of each element and to clarify any potential confusion with naming conventions.

## 1. What is a chemical equation?

A chemical equation is a symbolic representation of a chemical reaction, showing the reactants on the left side and the products on the right side. It also includes the chemical formulas and coefficients to balance the number of atoms on each side.

## 2. Why is it important to balance a chemical equation?

Balancing a chemical equation is important because it ensures that the law of conservation of mass is followed. This means that the total number of atoms of each element is the same on both sides of the equation, indicating that no atoms are created or destroyed during the reaction.

## 3. How do you balance a chemical equation?

To balance a chemical equation, you need to adjust the coefficients in front of the chemical formulas until the number of atoms of each element is the same on both sides. You can also use the "trial and error" method or a systematic approach such as the "balancing by inspection" method.

## 4. What are the steps to balance a chemical equation?

The steps to balance a chemical equation are as follows:

1. Write the unbalanced equation using the correct chemical formulas for the reactants and products.

2. Count the number of atoms of each element on both sides of the equation.

3. Start balancing with the most complex or largest molecule.

4. Change the coefficients in front of the chemical formulas to balance the number of atoms of each element.

5. Check if the number of atoms of each element is the same on both sides and make adjustments if necessary.

## 5. Are there any rules to follow when balancing a chemical equation?

Yes, there are some rules to follow when balancing a chemical equation:

1. Start by balancing the elements that appear only once on each side of the equation.

2. Balance the elements that appear in two or more compounds on one side of the equation.

3. Do not change the subscripts in a chemical formula, only the coefficients.

4. Check if the final balanced equation also follows the law of conservation of charge (the total charge on both sides should be the same).

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