# What is the balanced molecular, ionic, and net ionic equation for: Solutions of acetic acid and sodium nitrite are mixed.?

Aug 12, 2016

See below.

#### Explanation:

The reaction between two solutions of acetic acid ($C {H}_{3} C O O H$ and sodium nitrite ($N a N {O}_{2}$) could be written in three different ways:

The Molecular equation:
$C {H}_{3} C O O H \left(a q\right) + N a N {O}_{2} \left(a q\right) \to C {H}_{3} C O O N a \left(a q\right) + H N {O}_{2} \left(a q\right)$

The ionic equation:
$C {H}_{3} C O {O}^{-} \left(a q\right) + {H}^{+} \left(a q\right) + N {a}^{+} \left(a q\right) + N {O}_{2}^{-} \left(a q\right) \to C {H}_{3} C O {O}^{-} \left(a q\right) + {H}^{+} \left(a q\right) + N {a}^{+} \left(a q\right) + N {O}_{2}^{-} \left(a q\right)$

The net ionic equation:
$C {H}_{3} C O {O}^{-} \left(a q\right) + {H}^{+} \left(a q\right) + N {a}^{+} \left(a q\right) + N {O}_{2}^{-} \left(a q\right) \to C {H}_{3} C O {O}^{-} \left(a q\right) + {H}^{+} \left(a q\right) + N {a}^{+} \left(a q\right) + N {O}_{2}^{-} \left(a q\right)$

In this case, since all ions are in solution, and remain in solution after mixing, the net ionic equation will be the same as the ionic equation.

Moreover, in a more complex way to explain this, since acetic acid is a weaker acid than nitrous acid, the reaction will favour the side where acetic acid is; which is the left side.

Note that reactions between an acid and a base favour the formation of the weaker acid.

An example where ionic equation would be different than the net ionic equation is the following.
If we mix a solution of silver nitrate ($A g N {O}_{3}$) and a solution of sodium chloride ($N a C l$):

The ionic equation:
$A {g}^{+} \left(a q\right) + N {O}_{3}^{-} \left(a q\right) + N {a}^{+} \left(a q\right) + C {l}^{-} \left(a q\right) \to A g C l \left(s\right) + N {a}^{+} \left(a q\right) + N {O}_{3}^{-} \left(a q\right)$

The net ionic equation:
$A {g}^{+} \left(a q\right) + C {l}^{-} \left(a q\right) \to A g C l \left(s\right)$

Here the two equations are different because $A g C l$ precipitates out of the aqueous solution.

I hope you find this helpful.