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Chemistry LibreTexts

3: Stoichiometry: Chemical Formulas and Equations

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  • Stoichiometry is the calculation of relative quantities of reactants and products in chemical reactions. Stoichiometry is founded on the law of conservation of mass where the total mass of the reactants equals the total mass of the products leading to the insight that the relations among quantities of reactants and products typically form a ratio of positive integers. This means that if the amounts of the separate reactants are known, then the amount of the product can be calculated. Conversely, if one reactant has a known quantity and the quantity of product can be empirically determined, then the amount of the other reactants can also be calculated.

    We begin this chapter by describing the relationship between the mass of a sample of a substance and its composition. We then develop methods for determining the quantities of compounds produced or consumed in chemical reactions, and we describe some fundamental types of chemical reactions. By applying the concepts and skills introduced in this chapter, you will be able to explain what happens to the sugar in a candy bar you eat, what reaction occurs in a battery when you start your car, what may be causing the “ozone hole” over Antarctica, and how we might prevent the hole’s growth.

    • 3.1: Chemical Equations
      A chemical reaction is described by a chemical equation that gives the identities and quantities of the reactants and the products. In a chemical reaction, one or more substances are transformed to new substances. A chemical reaction is described by a chemical equation, an expression that gives the identities and quantities of the substances involved in a reaction. A chemical equation shows the starting compound(s)—the reactants—on the left and the final compound(s)—the products—on the right.
    • 3.2: Some Simple Patterns of Chemical Reactivity
      By recognizing general patterns of chemical reactivity, you will be able to successfully predict the products formed by a given combination of reactants We can often predict a reaction if we have seen a similar reaction before.
    • 3.3: Formula Masses
      The empirical formula of a substance can be calculated from its percent composition, and the molecular formula can be determined from the empirical formula and the compound’s molar mass. The empirical formula of a substance can be calculated from the experimentally determined percent composition, the percentage of each element present in a pure substance by mass. In many cases, these percentages can be determined by combustion analysis.
    • 3.4: Avogadro's Number and the Mole
      The molecular mass and the formula mass of a compound are obtained by adding together the atomic masses of the atoms present in the molecular formula or empirical formula, respectively; the units of both are atomic mass units (amu). The mole is defined as the amount of substance that contains the number of carbon atoms in exactly 12 g of carbon-12, Avogadro’s number (\(6.022 \times 10^{23}\)) of atoms of carbon-12.
    • 3.5: Empirical Formulas from Analysis
      Molecular formulas tell you how many atoms of each element are in a compound, and empirical formulas tell you the simplest or most reduced ratio of elements in a compound. If a compound's molecular formula cannot be reduced any more, then the empirical formula is the same as the molecular formula. Combustion analysis can determine the empirical formula of a compound, but cannot determine the molecular formula (other techniques can though).
    • 3.6: Quantitative Information from Balanced Equations
      Either the masses or the volumes of solutions of reactants and products can be used to determine the amounts of other species in the balanced chemical equation. Quantitative calculations that involve the stoichiometry of reactions in solution use volumes of solutions of known concentration instead of masses of reactants or products. The coefficients in the balanced chemical equation tell how many moles of reactants are needed and how many moles of product can be produced.
    • 3.7: Limiting Reactants
      The stoichiometry of a balanced chemical equation identifies the maximum amount of product that can be obtained. The stoichiometry of a reaction describes the relative amounts of reactants and products in a balanced chemical equation. A stoichiometric quantity of a reactant is the amount necessary to react completely with the other reactant(s). If a reactant remains unconsumed after complete reaction has occurred, it is in excess. The reactant that is consumed first is the limiting reagent.
    • 3.E: Stoichiometry (Exercises)
      These are homework exercises to accompany the Textmap created for "Chemistry: The Central Science" by Brown et al.
    • 3.S: Stoichiometry (Summary)
      This is the summary Module for the chapter "Stoichiometry" in the Brown et al. General Chemistry Textmap.