What happens if I mix this with that?
The answer to that question is the very heart of predicting the products of a chemical reaction. Predicting products of chemical reactions is a process by which potential reactants are scrutinized to determine if they will react and if so what product(s) will be formed.
What happens if I mix this baking soda with vinegar?
What happens if I let this spilled gasoline sit on the painted garage floor?
What happens if I pour bleach directly onto my clothes?
Predicting chemical reactions does not only take place in the lab, but actually is a part of everyday life! However, in the lab, we can be more specific and isolate the this and the that more.
So… here we go! This is going to be long, so get comfy. Maybe a soda or cup of coffee?
So, a very quick review of chemical reactions…
- You start off with some reactants.
- Something happens.
- There are some products.
- Reactions are dictated by the law of conservation of matter such that…
- The number of and type of atoms on the reactant side is equal to the number of and type of atoms on the product side.
- The total mass on the reactant side is equal to the total mass on the product side (ignoring mass/energy E=mc2 stuff)
- Compounds form in fixed, specific ratios of atoms.
H2O is not the same as H2O2. The first is water. The second is peroxide. You die if you don't drink the first. You die if you DO drink the second.
2H2 + O2 → 2H2O6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6 + 6O2SiCl4 + 6H2O → H4SiO4 + 6HCl2Al + 6HCl → 2AlCl3 + 3H2Na2CO3 + 2HCl → 2NaCl + H2O + CO2