# How Do You Calculate the Amount of Each Ingredient Needed to Make Gunpowder?

• b14him88
In summary, the conversation is about finding out how many grams of each substance are needed to make gun powder for a chemistry class. The equation is given but the individual amounts are unknown. The person needs advice on how to approach the problem and is unsure of the first step. They mention stoichiometry and balancing equations. The expert explains that a balanced equation gives the ratios of atoms involved in the reaction, but to find the ratios of weights, one must know the weights of each atom. They use the example of the reaction for water to explain how to calculate the weights of each element needed for the reaction. They also mention that the final product may include other compounds, so not all of the ingredients will be used up.
b14him88
I need some help on how to find out how many grams of each substance i need to make gun powder for my Chemisty class. I have the equation its 2KNO3+3C+S -->3CO2 + K2S+ N2 I know that there are 10 grams but i have to figure out how many grams are for each substance. I'd just like someone point me in the right direction. I'm not sure what to do first. I know i need to use stoikiometry to figure it out. but if someone could just give me a little advice on what to do first. i would appreciate it a lot. thank you. as far as i know i have balanced the equation correctly but if someone sees a mistake, let me know please. thanks again.

-Janelle

b14him88 said:
I need some help on how to find out how many grams of each substance i need to make gun powder for my Chemisty class. I have the equation its 2KNO3+3C+S -->3CO2 + K2S+ N2 I know that there are 10 grams but i have to figure out how many grams are for each substance. I'd just like someone point me in the right direction. I'm not sure what to do first. I know i need to use stoikiometry to figure it out. but if someone could just give me a little advice on what to do first. i would appreciate it a lot. thank you. as far as i know i have balanced the equation correctly but if someone sees a mistake, let me know please. thanks again.

-Janelle

I do hope this is purely an academic exercise and you are not trying to actually make this stuff. A balanced equation tells you how many atoms of each element are involved in the reaction. If you have exactly the right ratios for the number of atoms, you will have a complete reaction. Since atoms of different elements have different weights, knowing the ratios of the numbers is not the same as knowing the ratios of the weights, but if you know the number ratios, and the weights of each atom, you can figure out the ratios of weights.

For example, the reaction for water is

2H2+O2 -->2H2O

4 hydrogen atoms and 2 oxygen atoms combine to form two water molecules. In atomic mass units (amu), the weight of hydrogen is about 1 and the weight of oxygen is about 16. If A is some unspecified multiplying factor measured in grams per amu, you would need to have

A*4*1amu + A*2*16amu = grams of water formed.

You could sove this equation for A. Then you could find the weight of each element needed for the reaction.

Oh geez.. you totally confused me with everything u said. and yes i am making gun powder @ school in my chemistry class- that is if i figure out the equation. the amu stuff..yeah idk what ur talking about. all i know if that we have to figure out the moles, the g/mol, and the mass. maybe u could put it in lamens terms so i can understand? thanks for the attempt though- sorry that I am dumb lol.

b14him88 said:
Oh geez.. you totally confused me with everything u said. and yes i am making gun powder @ school in my chemistry class- that is if i figure out the equation. the amu stuff..yeah idk what ur talking about. all i know if that we have to figure out the moles, the g/mol, and the mass. maybe u could put it in lamens terms so i can understand? thanks for the attempt though- sorry that I am dumb lol.

In terms of moles and grams per mole then- The reaction for water is

2H2+O2 -->2H2O

2 hydrogen molecules and 1 oxygen molecule combine to form two water molecules. In terms of moles, 2 moles of hydrogen molecules and one mole of oxygen molecules combine to form two moles of water molecules. If A is some unspecified multiplying factor, you would need to have

A*(2 moles hydrogen)*(2 grams/mole) + A*(1 mole oxygen)*(32 grams/mole) = A*(2 moles water)*(18 grams/mole) = # grams of water formed.

If A = 1 you would get 4 grams hydrogen + 32 grams oxygen --> 36 grams of water (2 moles)

If A = 1/2 you would get 18 grams of water (1 mole)
etc.

If you wanted 10 grams of water, you would find the value of A that will give you 10 grams of water. That would be

A = 10 grams/(4 grams + 32 grams) = 5/18

So you would need (5/18)*2 moles of hydrogen or 5/9 moles and (5/18)*1 moles of oxygen or 5/18 moles and the result would be

(5/18)*(2 moles hydrogen)*(2 grams/mole) + (5/18)*(1 mole oxygen)*(32 grams/mole) = 10 grams of water

So now you know how many moles of hydrogen you need, and you can figure out how many grams that is because you know there are 2 grams per mole. You also know how many moles of oxygen you need and you can figure out haw many grams that is.

Follow the same steps for your reaction, and you will arrive at the number of grams of each compound needed. In your problem you have to also take into consideration that the product of the reaction includes other compounds besides the one you are trying to produce, so not all of the ingredients are turned into desired products. You should be able to figure out how to extend the water example to the more general case.

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## 1. What is stoichiometry and why is it important in gun powder?

Stoichiometry is the branch of chemistry that deals with the quantitative relationships between reactants and products in a chemical reaction. In gun powder, it is used to determine the ideal ratio of chemicals to produce the desired explosive effect.

## 2. What are the main components of gun powder and their roles in stoichiometry?

The main components of gun powder are potassium nitrate (also known as saltpeter), charcoal, and sulfur. Potassium nitrate provides oxygen for the combustion reaction, charcoal acts as a fuel source, and sulfur helps to lower the ignition temperature.

## 3. How does stoichiometry affect the power and effectiveness of gun powder?

The precise balance of chemicals in gun powder, determined by stoichiometry, directly affects the power and effectiveness of the explosive. If the ratio is off, the gun powder may not ignite or produce enough force to propel a bullet.

## 4. Can stoichiometry be used to create different types of gun powder for different purposes?

Yes, stoichiometry can be used to create different types of gun powder by adjusting the ratios of the three main components. For example, a higher ratio of sulfur may produce a more powerful and faster burning powder, while a lower ratio may produce a slower burning powder for use in shotguns.

## 5. How is stoichiometry for gun powder different from other chemical reactions?

The stoichiometry for gun powder is unique in that it involves a highly precise and controlled reaction, as even small variations in the ratio of components can greatly affect the explosive power. Additionally, the end product of gun powder is not a single compound, but a mixture of gases and solids.

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