Today we began to learn about limiting reagents in chemical reactions. Limiting reagents are the ones that are used up first. It doesn’t matter how much we have of the other reagents –> once one is gone, the reaction is over. Knowing how much product you will form is the difference between a sweet paper mache volcano and getting chewed out for ruining your parent’s tablecloth (again).
In order to determine the limiting reagent, we need three background skills:
- We need to be able to balance chemical equations
- We need to be able to calculate molar masses
- We need to be able to predict product formation using dimensional analysis
That last one is always the most difficult, but we will get more practice with the whole deal tomorrow.
Aim: How can we determine the limiting reagent in a chemical reaction?