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How do i balance this chem equation?/can i use decimals & fractions?

  1. Sep 2, 2011 #1
    the question asks me to balance the following equation

    C2H3NO + H2O ---> C2H8N2O + 2CO2

    i attempted to balance it

    2C2H3NO + H2O ---> C2H8N2O + 2CO2


    i cant get all the oxygens to be equal, if someone can show me how to do this last step, id appreciate it

    also can one use decimals/fractions to balance a tricky equation?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2011 #2
    That reaction can't be balanced. The numbers are just incompatible. Perhaps there's a typo in the question?

    There's nothing essentially wrong with using fractions, but it's customary to clear them out in presenting the answer.
     
  4. Sep 2, 2011 #3
    man this is the 10th time theres been a typo, this chemistry textbook is full of em.. :(
     
  5. Sep 2, 2011 #4

    Borek

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    It can be balanced with CO as a product.
     
  6. Sep 2, 2011 #5
    can you show me how?
     
  7. Sep 2, 2011 #6

    Borek

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    Try, it is not that hard. Just write CO instead of CO2. That's not the same reaction, but perhaps that's the mistake they did.
     
  8. Sep 2, 2011 #7
    Absolutely. The chemical equation is an empirical device and as such, represents moles of species reacting and not just single molecules so it's perfectably acceptable to say, 1/2 of a mole is used in this equation as opposed to saying 1/2 of a molecule.
     
  9. Sep 2, 2011 #8
    Or maybe C2H8N2 on the right-hand side? I'm not sure C2H8N2O is even possible.
     
  10. Sep 2, 2011 #9

    Borek

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    Note: it is perfectly acceptable to use fraction during balancing, however, it is less so after that. Correctly balanced equation should have lowest possible integer coefficients. This is "only" a convention, however, you will often face this convention looking for thermodynamical data (for example think reaction quotient, think equilibrium constants). Thus it is better to avoid fractions in the final equations.
     
  11. Sep 2, 2011 #10

    Borek

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    As good guess as every other :smile:

    http://www.chembase.com/mf_C2H8N2O.htm [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  12. Sep 2, 2011 #11
    Sorry, didn't notice someone had answered it previously. Just saw it in the thread list and remined me once when I was in lab and a bunch of students I was teaching chemistry marched in and confronted me on the matter insisting a reaction couldn't be balanced.
     
  13. Sep 3, 2011 #12
    well using the help you guys have given me i have attempted to balance it again on the premise the 2CO2 is actually a CO

    and voila!


    2C2H3NO + H2O ----> C2H8N2O + 2CO
     
  14. Sep 3, 2011 #13
    But does it make sense though? You studying chemistry right? Is that reaction reasonable? I don't know. Just seems to me sayin' it's CO just to make the problem easier is not really being a chemist. You won't be able to get away with that in your senior year. On what chemical grounds are you basing your decision? Maybe you need to research it. All else fails, well you got a lab right? Just be careful.
     
  15. Sep 3, 2011 #14

    Borek

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    Please reread the earlier discussion. We pointed supernova to the modifications of the original equation that allow it to be balanced. There in obvious problem with the original question, these modifications at least allow supernova to train balancing skills.
     
  16. Sep 3, 2011 #15
    You're right. Sorry.
     
  17. Sep 3, 2011 #16

    Ygggdrasil

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    Science Advisor

  18. Sep 4, 2011 #17
    hm... yes the question asked me to balance part of the reaction that took place at the bhopal plant incident, so you would be correct i think, either case the original equation is a typo in the book


    Ill post some attachements for further clarification :)

    hopefully this will shed some more light on the matter :)

    the 2nd attachment has the original equation i posted earlier, which turned out to be weird, after a bit of work and help from members we figured the equation was off probably a typo(there are many in my book), so i changed the euqation and balanced it, in previous posts in this thread
     

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    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
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