Asking question of what is the maximum amount of something which can be produced from a given mixture of stuff. This is a fairly straight-forward sort of problem in the day-to-day world, but seems to cause a great deal of difficulty for lots of folks in chemistry. Let's start by looking at a non-chemical problem:
Consider you have to make a bunch of sandwichs for a party. The equation for the sandwichs (in slices) is:
2 Bread + 1 Cheese + 1 Meat 1 Sandwich
You have a 32 oz loaf of bread, 22 oz of sliced cheese and 32 oz of sliced meat. If bread slices weigh 1/2 oz, cheese slices 3/4 oz and meat slices 1 oz, how many sandwichs can you make?
Look at how many sandwichs can be made from each ingredient:
- If bread limits: (32 oz bread)(2 slices bread/oz bread)(1 sandwich/2slices bread) = 32 sandwichs
- If cheese limits: (22 oz cheese)(1 slice cheese/3/4 oz cheese)(1 sandwich/slice cheese) = 29.3 sandwiches
- If meat limits: (32 oz meat)(1 slice meat/oz meat)(1 sandwich/slice meat) = 32 sandwiches
Cheese limits and we can make 29 sandwichs.
Fe3O4 + 4 C 3 Fe + 4 CO
The trick here is to find the maximum amount of iron which could be made from each reactant.
The lesser amount will then be the max possible:
C: (3 mol Fe/ 4 mol C)(24.00 g C/ 12.01 g C/mol C) = 1.499 mole
Fe3O4: (3 mol Fe/ mol Fe3O4)(115.0 g Fe3O4/231.6 g Fe3O4/mol Fe3O4) = 1.490 mole
therefore Fe3O4 limits, can only make 1.490 moles Fe.
Grams = (1.490 moles Fe)(55.85 g Fe/mol Fe) = 83.217 g Fe = 83.22 g Fe
What is the maximum amount (moles) of hydrogen gas which may be produced by reacting 0.50 g of Zinc with 0.800 mole hydrogen ion? Show work!
Another frequent question arising in chemical processes is the percent yield. This deals with the question of how effective was a given process in producing a product. Its an important consideration because chemical reactions rarely go completely to products. The maximum possible yield for a reaction is known as the Theoretical Yield.
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© R A Paselk
Last modified 11 February 2015