Monday, January 23, 2012

Chemical Equilibrium #5: Steps for Solving an Equilibrium Question

Although equilibrium questions are generally straight-forward, they require a lot of steps, and as a result it is very easy to make a mistake while solving them.

So I have come up with a step-by-step procedure to ensure that the solution is 100% error-free:
  1. Balance the chemical equation(s)
  2. Set up an ICE table: make sure that all values are filled into the appropriate spaces and that the variables all have correct coefficients. Also make sure that all values have the correct number of decimal places
  3. Write out the equilibrium law and solve: make sure that each reactant has the correct exponent
  4. Plug the answer back into the equilibrium law, and make sure that all the values match with those of the question
  5. Look at your answer, and see if it seems strange. If so, (e.g., a pH of 6.8 for an acid), repeat all the steps