To balance the equation K2SO4 + NaOH = Na2SO4 + KOH 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 K2SO4 + b NaOH = c Na2SO4 + d KOH
Step 2: Create a System of Equations
Create an equation for each element (K, S, O, Na, H) where each term represents the number of atoms of the element in each reactant or product.
K: 2a + 0b = 0c + 1d S: 1a + 0b = 1c + 0d O: 4a + 1b = 4c + 1d Na: 0a + 1b = 2c + 0d H: 0a + 1b = 0c + 1d
Step 3: Solve For All Variables
Use substitution, Gaussian elimination, or a calculator to tát solve for each variable.
- 2a - 1d = 0
- 1a - 1c = 0
- 4a + 1b - 4c - 1d = 0
- 1b - 2c = 0
- 1b - 1d = 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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[ 2 0 0 -1 0] [ 1 0 -1 0 0] [ 4 1 -4 -1 0] [ 0 1 -2 0 0] [ 0 1 0 -1 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.
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- a = 1 (K2SO4)
- b = 2 (NaOH)
- c = 1 (Na2SO4)
- d = 2 (KOH)
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.
K2SO4 + 2 NaOH = Na2SO4 + 2 KOH
Since there is an equal number of each element in the reactants and products of K2SO4 + 2NaOH = Na2SO4 + 2KOH, the equation is balanced.