Even though chemical compounds are broken up and new compounds are formed during a chemical reaction, atoms in the reactants do not disappear nor do new atoms appear to form the products. In chemical reactions, atoms are never created or destroyed. The same atoms that were present in the reactants are present in the products - they are merely reorganized into different arrangements. In a complete chemical equation, the two sides of the equation must be present on the reactant and the product sides of the equation. There are two types of numbers that appear in chemical equations.
Balancing Chemical Equations
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8.3: How to Write Balanced Chemical Equations
Rust is a fact of life on Earth as well as at least one other planet in the solar system: Mars. The reddish tinge of that planet is largely due to the presence of iron oxide, or rust, on its surface. Rust is the result of the combination of iron with oxygen in a process called oxidation, and the presence of rust on Mars suggests there may have been more molecular oxygen on the planet in the past, although carbon dioxide, which is the main component of Mars' present atmosphere, can also supply oxygen. Besides gaseous oxygen, the formation of rust needs water because it's a two-step process.
A chemical equation is a written description of what happens in a chemical reaction. The starting materials, called reactants , are listed on the lefthand side of the equation. Next comes an arrow that indicates the direction of the reaction. The righthand side of the reaction lists the substances that are made, called products.