# I need help balancing this equation

I know this is elementary stuff, but I'm in Gen Chem 1 and this is the only thing I am having trouble with. I am fine balancing most equations, but when there are odd numbers of certain elements I get sort of confused. For example:

C2H6 + O2 $\rightarrow$ CO2 + H2O

## The Attempt at a Solution

I have tried several times, but the closest I could get was:

2C2H6 + 5O2 $\rightarrow$ 2CO2 + 6H2O

It is the Oxygen andHydrogen being uneven that is screwing me up. Right away I realize I have 3 Oxygen on the right and 2 on the left, so the first thing I tried to do was make both sides have 6 oxygen...

C2H6 + 3O2 $\rightarrow$ CO2 + 4H2O

But then that leaves me with 8 Hydrogen on the right, and only 6 on the left...I can't think of any ways to get that 6 to equal 8! Then I tried for 12 Oxygen on both sides instead of 6...then my problem is still Hydrogen.

So maybe y'all see what I'm confused about...like I said, this is the only thing I am having trouble with so far in Gen Chem is balancing this specific type of equation, and we have our first test on Tuesday! So hopefully someone can help :)

Borek
Mentor
Let's start with 1 molecule of C2H6. It is obvious we will produce two CO2 and three H2O:

C2H6 + xO2 → 2CO2 + 3H2O

Can you find x? It will be a fraction now - but you can multiply everything by some small integer to get rid of the denominator...

It would be 3$\frac{1}{2}$, yes? So I should then multiply by a small integer to get rid of denom, multiply all by 2? Does that include the 3.5?

Borek
Mentor
Yes, multiply 3.5 as well.