Ch.4 - Chemical Quantities & Aqueous ReactionsSee all chapters
All Chapters
Ch.1 - Intro to General Chemistry
Ch.2 - Atoms & Elements
Ch.3 - Chemical Reactions
BONUS: Lab Techniques and Procedures
BONUS: Mathematical Operations and Functions
Ch.4 - Chemical Quantities & Aqueous Reactions
Ch.5 - Gases
Ch.6 - Thermochemistry
Ch.7 - Quantum Mechanics
Ch.8 - Periodic Properties of the Elements
Ch.9 - Bonding & Molecular Structure
Ch.10 - Molecular Shapes & Valence Bond Theory
Ch.11 - Liquids, Solids & Intermolecular Forces
Ch.12 - Solutions
Ch.13 - Chemical Kinetics
Ch.14 - Chemical Equilibrium
Ch.15 - Acid and Base Equilibrium
Ch.16 - Aqueous Equilibrium
Ch. 17 - Chemical Thermodynamics
Ch.18 - Electrochemistry
Ch.19 - Nuclear Chemistry
Ch.20 - Organic Chemistry
Ch.22 - Chemistry of the Nonmetals
Ch.23 - Transition Metals and Coordination Compounds
Jules Bruno

A molecular equation is represented by a balanced chemical equation where the reactants and products are written in their neutral forms. By eliminating its spectator ions the molecular equation is transformed into the net ionic equation

How to determine the Net Ionic Equation

A molecular equation can only result if you produce a solid, liquid or gas as a product. To determine if these states of matter are formed you use the solubility rules and your understanding of weak and strong electrolytes

Take for instance the acid-base reaction between hydrochloric acid, HCl, and sodium hydroxide, NaOH. 

STEP 1: Write the molecular equation and determine the phases of your products. 

Acid-Base-Molecular-Equation-chemical-formulaAcid-Base-Molecular-Equation

In this example the chemical reaction occurs because a liquid was formed. Chemical reactions that produce a solid as a product are termed precipitation reactions. 

STEP 2: Based on your understanding of soluble ionic compounds and electrolytes we must give the total or complete ionic equation. Keep in mind that if the coefficients of the compounds were different they would change the number of each ion produced.  

Total-Complete-Ionic-EquationTotal or Complete Ionic Equation

In this step we break up only the soluble aqueous compounds into ions, while solids, liquids and gases stay intact. 

STEP 3: The spectator ions represent the ions that remain unchanged in a chemical reaction. They look the same on both sides of the chemical equation. 

Total-Complete-Ionic-Equation-Spectator-IonsTotal or Complete Ionic Equation (Spectator Ions)

The spectator ions represent the ions that haven’t reacted and remain suspended and dissolved in the solution. 

Eliminating-Spectator-IonsEliminating Spectator Ions

Eliminating the spectator ions gives the net ionic equation. 

Net-Ionic-Equation-Reacting-MoleculesNet Ionic Equation


Jules Bruno

Jules felt a void in his life after his English degree from Duke, so he started tutoring in 2007 and got a B.S. in Chemistry from FIU. He’s exceptionally skilled at making concepts dead simple and helping students in covalent bonds of knowledge.