2.2 Some further examples of chemical equations
In this section you will get some practice constructing chemical equations.
If you watched the ‘trailer’ for this module, you will have seen a young chemist combining hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2) to form water (with a bang!). Write a balanced chemical equation for this reaction.
Next, a chemical equation to represent a reaction on which our very existence depends.
The reaction of the simple sugar glucose is vital to the generation of energy within the body. Glucose has a complicated molecular structure but it can be represented by the formula C6 H12O6.
The chemical equation for the reaction between glucose and oxygen to give carbon dioxide and water is:
Show that this equation is balanced.
On the left of the equation, there are 6 carbon atoms, 12 hydrogen atoms and 6 oxygen atoms from glucose and a further 12 oxygen atoms from oxygen molecules, a total of 6C, 12H and 18O. On the right, there are 6 carbon and 12 oxygen atoms from carbon dioxide plus 12 hydrogen atoms and 6 oxygen atoms from water, a total of 6C, 12H and 18O. This is a balanced chemical equation. And, as ever, the atoms have simply been rearranged in the reaction.
So, up to this point, you have seen how a balanced chemical equation can encompass a lot of information about a reaction.
It not only identifies the reactants and products and their respective formulas but also indicates the relative numbers of each reactant molecule and the relative numbers of each product molecule. It also shows, in the example above, that carbon from the glucose molecules ends up in carbon dioxide molecules, the hydrogen produces water and the oxygen in the product molecules comes both from the glucose molecules and from molecular oxygen.
Now for some more practice.
Write balanced equations for the reactions represented in (a)–(d).
The balanced equations are as follows.
As promised in the introduction, in this part of the module you will be making a few excursions into the word of explosive materials and looking at the chemical reactions involved. Your starting point, in the next section is gunpowder.