Fundamental aspects of any chemical equation:

  1. The substances undergoing reaction are called reactants, and their formulas are placed on the left side of the equation.
  2. The substances generated by the reaction are called products, and their formulas are placed on the right sight of the equation.
  3. Plus signs (+) separate individual reactant and product formulas, and an arrow (⟶) separates the reactant and product (left and right) sides of the equation.
  4. The relative numbers of reactant and product species are represented by coefficients (numbers placed immediately to the left of each formula). A coefficient of 1 is typically omitted.
SymbolMeaning
+used to separate one reactant or product from another
used to separate the reactants from the products – it is pronounced “yields” or “produces” when the equation is read
used when the reaction can proceed in both directions – this is called an equilibrium arrow and will be used later in the course
(g)indicates that the substance is in a gaseous state
an alternative way of representing a substance in a gaseous state
(s)indicates that the substance is in a solid state
an alternative way of representing a substance in a solid state
(aq)indicates that the substance is dissolved in water – the aq comes from aqueous
indicates that heat is applied to make the reaction proceed

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