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.