To balance the equation Mg + HCl = MgCl2 + H2 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.
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Step 1: Label Each Compound With a Variable
Label each compound (reactant or product) in the equation with a variable lớn represent the unknown coefficients.
a Mg + b HCl = c MgCl2 + d H2
Step 2: Create a System of Equations
Create an equation for each element (Mg, H, Cl) where each term represents the number of atoms of the element in each reactant or product.
Mg: 1a + 0b = 1c + 0d H: 0a + 1b = 0c + 2d Cl: 0a + 1b = 2c + 0d
Step 3: Solve For All Variables
Use substitution, Gaussian elimination, or a calculator lớn solve for each variable.
- 1a - 1c = 0
- 1b - 2d = 0
- 1b - 2c = 0
Use your graphing calculator's rref() function (or an online rref calculator) lớn convert the following matrix into reduced row-echelon-form:
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[ 1 0 -1 0 0] [ 0 1 0 -2 0] [ 0 1 -2 0 0]
The resulting matrix can be used lớn determine the coefficients. In the case of a single solution, the last column of the matrix will contain the coefficients.
Simplify the result lớn get the lowest, whole integer values.
- a = 1 (Mg)
- b = 2 (HCl)
- c = 1 (MgCl2)
- d = 1 (H2)
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.
Mg + 2 HCl = MgCl2 + H2
Since there is an equal number of each element in the reactants and products of Mg + 2HCl = MgCl2 + H2, the equation is balanced.
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