To balance the equation Al2(SO4)3 + HCl = H2SO4 + AlCl3 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 tướng represent the unknown coefficients.
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a Al2(SO4)3 + b HCl = c H2SO4 + d AlCl3
Step 2: Create a System of Equations
Create an equation for each element (Al, S, O, H, Cl) where each term represents the number of atoms of the element in each reactant or product.
Al: 2a + 0b = 0c + 1d S: 3a + 0b = 1c + 0d O: 12a + 0b = 4c + 0d H: 0a + 1b = 2c + 0d Cl: 0a + 1b = 0c + 3d
Step 3: Solve For All Variables
Use substitution, Gaussian elimination, or a calculator to tướng solve for each variable.
- 2a - 1d = 0
- 3a - 1c = 0
- 12a - 4c = 0
- 1b - 2c = 0
- 1b - 3d = 0
Use your graphing calculator's rref() function (or an online rref calculator) to tướng convert the following matrix into reduced row-echelon-form:
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[ 2 0 0 -1 0] [ 3 0 -1 0 0] [ 12 0 -4 0 0] [ 0 1 -2 0 0] [ 0 1 0 -3 0]
The resulting matrix can be used to tướng determine the coefficients. In the case of a single solution, the last column of the matrix will contain the coefficients.
Simplify the result to tướng get the lowest, whole integer values.
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- a = 1 (Al2(SO4)3)
- b = 6 (HCl)
- c = 3 (H2SO4)
- d = 2 (AlCl3)
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.
Al2(SO4)3 + 6 HCl = 3 H2SO4 + 2 AlCl3
Since there is an equal number of each element in the reactants and products of Al2(SO4)3 + 6HCl = 3H2SO4 + 2AlCl3, the equation is balanced.