To balance the equation FeCl3 + KOH = Fe(OH)3 + KCl using the algebraic method step-by-step, you must have experience solving systems of linear equations. The most common methods are substitution/elimination and linear algebra, but any similar method will work.
Step 1: Label Each Compound With a Variable
Label each compound (reactant or product) in the equation with a variable to tát represent the unknown coefficients.
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a FeCl3 + b KOH = c Fe(OH)3 + d KCl
Step 2: Create a System of Equations
Create an equation for each element (Fe, Cl, K, O, H) where each term represents the number of atoms of the element in each reactant or product.
Fe: 1a + 0b = 1c + 0d Cl: 3a + 0b = 0c + 1d K: 0a + 1b = 0c + 1d O: 0a + 1b = 3c + 0d H: 0a + 1b = 3c + 0d
Step 3: Solve For All Variables
Use substitution, Gaussian elimination, or a calculator to tát solve for each variable.
- 1a - 1c = 0
- 3a - 1d = 0
- 1b - 1d = 0
- 1b - 3c = 0
- 1b - 3c = 0
Use your graphing calculator's rref() function (or an online rref calculator) to tát convert the following matrix into reduced row-echelon-form:
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[ 1 0 -1 0 0] [ 3 0 0 -1 0] [ 0 1 0 -1 0] [ 0 1 -3 0 0] [ 0 1 -3 0 0]
The resulting matrix can be used to tát determine the coefficients. In the case of a single solution, the last column of the matrix will contain the coefficients.
Simplify the result to tát get the lowest, whole integer values.
- a = 1 (FeCl3)
- b = 3 (KOH)
- c = 1 (Fe(OH)3)
- d = 3 (KCl)
Step 4: Substitute Coefficients and Verify Result
Count the number of atoms of each element on each side of the equation and verify that all elements and electrons (if there are charges/ions) are balanced.
FeCl3 + 3 KOH = Fe(OH)3 + 3 KCl
Since there is an equal number of each element in the reactants and products of FeCl3 + 3KOH = Fe(OH)3 + 3KCl, the equation is balanced.