How do you balance #CH_4 + O_2 -> CO_2 + H_2O#?

1 Answer
Feb 8, 2016

Answer:

#"Garbage out MUST equal GARBAGE in."#

Explanation:

#CH_4(g) + O_2(g) rarr CO_2(g) + H_2O(g)# #"UNBALANCED"#

The given reaction is balanced with respect to carbon, but IMBALANCED with respect to hydrogen and oxygen. Balance the hydrogen FIRST, and then the oxygen.

#CH_4(g) + 2O_2(g) rarr CO_2(g) + 2H_2O(g)# #"BALANCED"#

Typically, when you balance these combustion reactions (which are of course formal oxidation reduction reactions), you follow the order, (i) balance the carbons, and then (ii) the hydrogens, and then (iii) the oxygens.