How to Balance Chemical Equations in 5 Easy Steps: Balancing Equations Tutorial

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How to balance chemical equations in five easy steps.

Step one: Count the atoms on each side of the equation.

Let's count each type of atom. Sulfur I have eight.

Oxygen, I have two. On the product side, Sulfur I have one and oxygen I have two.

Note that if there's nothing after an element we assume that to be "1".

And that's it we're done with the first step. Smooth.

The big rule for balancing equations is that we can only change the coefficients.

Those are the numbers in front of the atoms.

The numbers after the atoms, the subscripts, CANNOT be changed

So let's balance this equation by changing the coefficients.

If there's no coefficient written we assume that it's "1". So right now there's a one in front of

each of these terms. We can see that we have two oxygens on each side of the

equation. So the oxygens are fine, but the sulfur atoms we have eight on the left

side, the reactants ,and only one on the right. To fix that I can change

the coefficient in front of the Sulfur on the right and make that eight.

So if I put in a here that means, eight times the one sulfur, that'll give me eight Sulfurs.

And now my Sulfurs on both sides are eight, but this eight here is also times the two oxygens

and that gives me sixteen oxygens. So I fixed the Sulfurs but the oxygens

aren't balanced. I can change the coefficient here though to eight,

eight times 2 equals 16. Now I have eights Sulfurs on each side and

I have 16 oxygens on each side of the equation. This equation is balanced.