Can you determine the limiting reactant just by comparing the masses of the reactants?

Question:

Can you determine the limiting reactant just by comparing the masses of the reactants?

Limiting Reactants:

An irreversible chemical reaction is limited by the number of reactants. When the mass of one of the reactants has been used up completely, the reaction will end, even if there is an excess of other reactants.

Answer and Explanation: 1

When determining the limiting reactant, the moles of the reactants need to be compared, not the masses because the mass does not account for the molar mass of each reactant and the molar ratios from the balanced equation. To determine the limiting reactant, convert the masses of each reactant species to moles by dividing each by its respective molar mass and then compare all of the species by multiplying the moles of one of the reactants by the molar ratios of the other reactants.


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Limiting Reactants & Calculating Excess Reactants

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Chapter 9 / Lesson 5
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Learn how to find the limiting and excess reactants in a chemical reaction. See example problems that calculate the limiting and excess reactants.


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