# The incandescent white of a fireworks display is caused by the reaction of phosphorous with O_2 to give P_4O_10. What is the balanced chemical equation for the reaction?

Aug 21, 2017

$4 P + 5 {O}_{2} \rightarrow {P}_{4} {O}_{10}$

#### Explanation:

Note that phosphorous is $P$.
$\therefore P + {O}_{2} \rightarrow {P}_{4} {O}_{10}$

We have 1 P on the LHS, and 4 on the RHS.
We have 2 O on the LHS, and 10 on the RHS.

We cannot balance a chemical equation by adding, subtracting or dividing atoms, the only way to balance is by multiplication.

Let's multiply the LHS by $5$ to balance the oxygen.

$P + 5 {O}_{2} \rightarrow {P}_{4} {O}_{10}$

Now let's multiply the phosphorus on the LHS by $4$.

$4 P + 5 {O}_{2} \rightarrow {P}_{4} {O}_{10}$