What Is the Purpose of Balancing Chemical Equations?

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When you take out your ice cubes pack out of the freezer and forget it on the slab after using. It is clear that when you come you will receive a packet of water instead of Ice.

Of course it’s the melting procedure but what kind of change happens with ice? The change that happens to ice cubes is a physical change.

However, if you forget your bronze bracelet out of a jewelry box during monsoon season you will receive it all tarnished covered in green patina. It remains the same bracelet and would not melt like ice cubes yet a certain kind of change has also occurred to it.

This change in the appearance of the bracelet didn’t represent the physical change as with ice cubes. Instead, it’s a chemical reaction which occurred to bring chemical change.

The subject of chemistry revolves around studying all such chemical changes taking place. The chemical changes or chemical reactions are presented in the form of chemical equations.

In this article we are going to explore what is chemical reaction and chemical equations along with its types and the purpose of balancing chemical equations.

This article highlights the chemical reaction and chemical equations. You will also find types of chemical equations and the purpose of balancing chemical equations.

What is Chemical Reaction?

A process or a chemical change which changes reactants to the products is termed as chemical reaction. During such chemical processes, chemical bonds are broken and new bonds are formed.

Both reactants and products have the same amount of atoms after the completion of a reaction. A chemical equation describes the chemical change occurring between certain reactants.

Types of chemical reactions

Chemical reactions are classified in different types on the basis of reactants and chemical changes. These types also find what changes occur and what products are formed. Chemical reaction has 5 major types which are:

Synthesis reactions

A synthesis reaction involves a combination of two or more components to create a more complex one. In a synthesis reaction, the product is always a compound while reactants may be element or compound. In general form the synthesis reaction is as follows:

A + B → AB

Ammonia and Iron sulfide are few examples of synthesis reactions.


3 H2(g) + N2(g) → 2 NH3(g)

Iron sulfide:

8 Fe + S8 → 8 FeS

Decomposition reactions

In decomposition reactions, reactants behave chemically in contrast to synthesis reactions. A highly complex reactant splits into simpler products during a decomposition reaction. In general form the decomposition reaction is as follows:

AB → A + B

In the decomposition reaction the potassium chlorate is decomposed into potassium chloride and oxygen.

2 KClO → KCl2 + O2

Single-replacement reactions

The single displacement reaction is also known as the single replacement reaction during which in a compound a pure element swaps with another element. And it is generally expressed in this manner:

A + BC —> AC + B

Double-replacement reactions

The type of chemical reaction during which two cations of the reactants are swaps to create two totally distinct products, is known as double displacement. The double replacement or single displacement reaction has a general chemical equation as follows:

AB + CD —> AD + CB

Combustion reactions

An exothermic redox chemical reaction in which fuel reacts to form gases along with oxygen is termed as a combustion reaction. However, a type of energy is generally required to initiate such reactions, the energy is also needed for the reaction to keep going.

For a combustion reaction to occur completely, excess amount of oxygen must have to be present while liberating primary oxides. Therefore, the oxygen present must be double or triple the predicted quantity determined by stoichiometry in order to achieve complete combustion.

What are chemical equations?

The symbolic (comprising symbols and formulae of elements and compounds) representation of a chemical reaction in which the reactants are presented on the left side while on the right the products are present.

However, the reactant and products in a chemical equation are separated by an arrow, which is read as yield. While the direction of reaction is determined by a single or double arrow.

In addition to reactants and products, some other constituents that are present in a chemical equation include, coefficients and superscripts. The number of substance’s moles in a chemical reaction are represented by coefficients.

Types of chemical equations

Generally, the chemical equations have following two types:

Balanced chemical equation

A chemical equation having an equal number of atoms and as well as masses of all elements on each side of the equation is termed as the balanced chemical equation.

Moreover, in a balanced chemical equation the net charge on products should have to be equal to the net charge on reactants, in case of ionic compounds.

Unbalanced chemical equation

Contrarily, an unbalanced equation is the chemical equation in which the number of atoms of reactants are not equal to the products’ number of atoms. Or in other words we can say that in an unbalanced equation the number of atoms on both sides of the arrow are not equal.

However, we can define it as, such an equation that contains an uneven number of atoms in one or more reactants and products, as it fulfills the law of conservation of mass.

Purpose of balancing chemical equations

Equation balancing is the process of equalizing the numbers of all types of atoms on both sides of an equation. Equation balancing is a fundamental procedure in chemical reactions representation.

Moreover, writing and balancing chemical equations is a crucial skill for students of chemistry. Especially in cases where just reactants are provided they have to anticipate chemical reaction’s products.

However, chiefly to validate the law of conservation of mass which stipulates that the reactants’ mass should be equal to the products’ mass during a chemical reaction.

During the balancing of a chemical equation we make sure the number and types of atoms remains same on both sides of the equation. Thus while equation balancing the law of conservation of mass is being fulfilled as equation balancing preserves the overall mass of a system.

Furthermore, a balanced chemical equation conveys if the reactants and products are solid, aqueous, liquid or gas state in a reaction i.e. the physical states.

In addition, the variations in heat that might occur during a chemical process are not mentioned in an unbalanced equation. The heat symbol in contrast is mentioned in a balanced chemical equation. Therefore, a balanced chemical equation also represents whether the reaction is endothermic or exothermic.


Considering all the above explanation provided it is assumed that, chemical reactions are represented symbolically by chemical equations. There are different types of chemical equation but all of them have reactants on left while products on right hand side.

Moreover, chemical equation can either be balanced or imbalanced however the standard way to write it is in balanced form. In accordance with the rule of mass conservation, the mass of the products should be equal to the mass of the reactants when a chemical reaction happens. Therefore, to make sure in the chemical process, the quantity of atoms in every element does not vary the chemical equations are balanced.

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