# Can you put a higher reaction coefficient when balancing equations?

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For example, for #SO_2 + O_2 -> SO_3# the balanced equation is #2SO_2 + O_2 -> 2SO_3# but can it also be #4SO_2 + O_2 -> 4SO_3# ?

For example, for

##### 2 Answers

Well we usually use the simplest whole number ratio.....

#### Explanation:

And thus we want....

But

Some chemists like to introduce half-integral coefficients into the equation.

Here, I find that the half-integral coefficient makes assessment of the stoichiometry, the arithmetic, a bit easier. Every stoichiometric equation MUST be absolutely balanced with respect to mass and charge.

And see this old answer.

Yes, you can put *all* the reaction coefficient higher.

So, "...can it also be

No, it can't because the equation is not balanced respect to oxygen.

#### Explanation:

Once you have correctly balanced the equation:

you can use any multiple of *all* coefficients, as in:

given that the equation remains balanced.