When balancing a chemical equation, can you adjust the number that is subscripted to a substance formula?

1 Answer
Mar 4, 2017

Answer:

#"Usually no, in that the subscripts relate to a particular formula......"#

Explanation:

Consider the combustion of alkanes, methane for a start:

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

The stoichiometric coefficients (from the left the #1#, the #2#, the #1#, the #2#) MAY BE adjusted, i.e. simply by using say #32*g# of methane; of course the mass of dioxygen must be increased proportionately.

The subscripts, that which represents the number of atoms in a molecule, are FIXED, because these represent actual molecules, actual chemical species.