I want to know if ALL equations have to be balanced? Say for example if Hydrogen gas (H2) burns in air (O2) to form water (H2O) I get the following:

H2 + O2 --> H2O. Means that balanced would be 2H2 + O2 --> 2H2O.

I dont understand why this also is not correct:

H2 + O2 --> H2O + O- (anion)

Isnt the above also correct since the Oxygen atom from the reactants is displaced? Doesnt it still abide by the law of conservation?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yes, all equations have to be balanced, not only in all elements, but in charge as well (which your last equation is not), otherwise they make no sense. Also, welcome to Chem.SE. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin May 5 '16 at 10:34
  • $\begingroup$ See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charge_conservation $\endgroup$ – CoffeeIsLife May 5 '16 at 13:04

I don't think that the 3rd equation is correct because yes it is balanced but look at the product it yields. In an experiment 2H2 + O2 always produce water with no oxygen anion.

If you draw the lewis structure of the last equation the charge of O is not going to be negative. It will still be neutral because no electrons are added. Hope that helps.thank you.

  • $\begingroup$ It is not balanced, because it does not conserve charge. $\endgroup$ – bon May 6 '16 at 12:37

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