How to Find Limiting Reactant – A Comprehensive Guide for Zeromedia

Halo Zeromedia! Have you ever wondered why reactions sometimes produce less product than expected? This can be due to the presence of limiting reactants. In this article, we will discuss the concept of limiting reactants and explore how to find them in a given reaction. So, let’s dive in!

What is a Limiting Reactant?

In a chemical reaction, the limiting reactant is the substance that is completely consumed during the reaction and determines the amount of product that can be formed. The other reactants, called excess reactants, are present in excess and do not affect the amount of product formed.

Example:

Consider the reaction between hydrogen gas and oxygen gas to form water:

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2H2 + O2 → 2H2O

In this reaction, hydrogen gas and oxygen gas are the reactants, and water is the product. The coefficient in front of each reactant shows how many molecules of each reactant are needed to produce a certain amount of product. In this case, 2 molecules of H2 react with 1 molecule of O2 to form 2 molecules of H2O.

Let’s say we have 4 molecules of H2 and 3 molecules of O2 available for this reaction. To determine the limiting reactant, we need to compare the number of moles of each reactant and see which one produces the least amount of product. Let’s see how to do that.

How to Find Limiting Reactant?

Step 1: Write the Balanced Equation

The first step in finding the limiting reactant is to write the balanced equation for the reaction. This means making sure that the number of atoms of each element is equal on both sides of the equation.

Step 2: Calculate the Number of Moles for Each Reactant

Next, we need to calculate the number of moles for each reactant. This can be done using the given amount of each reactant (in grams or liters) and their respective molar masses or by using the Ideal Gas Law.

Step 3: Determine the Limiting Reactant

Now that we have the number of moles for each reactant, we can determine the limiting reactant by comparing their respective moles. The reactant that produces the least amount of product is the limiting reactant.

Step 4: Calculate the Amount of Product

Finally, we can calculate the amount of product formed using the limiting reactant. This can be done by multiplying the moles of the limiting reactant by the stoichiometric coefficient of the product in the balanced equation.

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Example:

Let’s use the example reaction we discussed earlier and see how to find the limiting reactant:

2H2 + O2 → 2H2O

Given: 4g H2, 3g O2

Step 1: Write the Balanced Equation

We already have the balanced equation above.

Step 2: Calculate the Number of Moles for Each Reactant

Using the molar masses of H2 (2g/mol) and O2 (32g/mol), we can calculate the number of moles for each reactant:

4g H2: (4g)/(2g/mol) = 2 moles H2

3g O2: (3g)/(32g/mol) = 0.094 moles O2

Step 3: Determine the Limiting Reactant

Comparing the number of moles for each reactant, we can see that oxygen gas produces the least amount of product. Therefore, O2 is the limiting reactant in this reaction.

Step 4: Calculate the Amount of Product

To calculate the amount of product formed, we can use the moles of the limiting reactant and the stoichiometric coefficient of the product in the balanced equation:

0.094 moles O2 × (2 moles H2O)/(1 mole O2) = 0.188 moles H2O

Therefore, the maximum amount of water that can be formed in this reaction is 0.188 moles.

Table of Examples:

Reaction Given Limiting Reactant Amount of Product
Pb(NO3)2 + 2KI → 2KNO3 + PbI2 4g Pb(NO3)2, 6g KI Pb(NO3)2 2.67g PbI2
2Fe + 3Cl2 → 2FeCl3 10g Fe, 20g Cl2 Fe 22.5g FeCl3

FAQ:

Q1: What happens if we have excess reactants?

A1: Excess reactants do not affect the amount of product formed and are left over after the reaction is complete.

Q2: Can the limiting reactant be different for different products?

A2: Yes, the limiting reactant can be different for different products in the same reaction.

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Q3: Can the limiting reactant be a catalyst?

A3: No, a catalyst is not a reactant and is not consumed during the reaction.

Q4: Can we use volume instead of mass to find the limiting reactant?

A4: Yes, we can use the volume of gases at standard temperature and pressure (STP) to find the number of moles and then use the same method as with mass to find the limiting reactant.

Goodbye Zeromedia, we hope you found this article helpful and informative. Stay tuned for more interesting articles!

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