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Balancing a complex Chemical equation

  1. Jan 23, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Balance the following Chemistry equation, you are allowed to add H{+} and H2O where needed
    Given
    C6H5OCl + NO3- --> N2 + Cl- + CO2

    2. The attempt at a solution
    Balance the carbon first:
    C6H5OCl + NO3- --> N2 + Cl- + 6CO2

    Increase Oxygen O in NO3{-} to compensate; also increase N on RHS
    C6H5OCl + 4NO3- --> 2N2 + Cl- + 6CO2

    Bring out the H{+} and O{2-} on RHS
    C6H5OCl + 4NO3- --> 2N2 + Cl- + 6CO2 + H2O + 3H+

    Multiply both sides by 2
    2C6H5OCl + 8NO3- --> 4N2 + 2Cl- + 12CO2 + 2H2O + 6H+

    Compensate for 6H{+} on RHS by increasing NO3 by 1 to form H2O on RHS
    2C6H5OCl + 9NO3- --> 4N2 + 2Cl- + 12CO2 + 5H2O + N3-

    At this point I would assume that H{+} Is required on the LHS to give N2 and H2O on RHS
    2C6H5OCl + 10NO3- + 2H+ --> 5N2 + 2Cl- + 12CO2 + 6H2O

    Which is looking pretty good so far-- except the charges on either side are not balanced. And this would be the point where I am stuck. Was there supposed to be a different approach to this? I appreciate your time. Thank you.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 23, 2013 #2

    Borek

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    This is a redox reaction and these are usually difficult to balance by inspection. Try either one of the redox methods (half reactions or oxidation numbers), or use algebraic approach. All these are described here: balancing and stoichiometry.
     
  4. Jan 23, 2013 #3

    SteamKing

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    Perhaps the NO3 radical comes from an acid which is added to the other organic compound.
     
  5. Jan 23, 2013 #4
    Excellent, I think this would be very helpful. Thank you very much.

    @SteamKing: HNO3 could very well be the said acid but I gather that it isn't of much interest at the moment?
     
  6. Jan 23, 2013 #5

    Borek

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    NO3- is not a radical, just an ion, product of the nitric acid dissociation.
     
  7. Jan 23, 2013 #6

    SteamKing

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    And maybe some of the H+ ions come from said nitric acid dissociation?
     
  8. Jan 24, 2013 #7

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    Yes. And it is also possible to balance the reaction using HNO3 as a reactant and HCl as a product.
     
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