Problem: The fuel in high-efficiency natural gas vehicles consists primarily of methane CH4.How much heat is produced in burning 6 mol of CH4 under standard conditions if reactants and products are brought to 298 K and H2 O(l) is formed?

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We’re being asked to determine the amount of heat produced by burning 6 mol of CH4 under standard conditions


The heat produced by the combustion reaction is equivalent to the standard enthalpy change of formation (ΔH˚f) for CH4. Recall that ΔH˚rxn can be calculated from the enthalpy of formation (ΔH˚f) of the reactants and products involved


H°rxn = H°f, products - H°f, reactants  


We will do the following steps:

Step 1: Write and balance the combustion reaction

Step 2: Calculate ΔH˚rxn for the combustion of per mole of methane

Step 3: Calculate ΔH˚rxn for the combustion of 6 mole of methane


Step 1: Write and balance the combustion reaction 


Recall that for compounds composed of C and H, the combustion reaction looks like this:


CxH+ O2 (excess) x CO2 + y H2O


The combustion reaction produces CO2 and H2O.


The chemical equation for the combustion of CH4 reaction is:

CH4(g) + O2(g) → CO2(g) + H2O(l)


This equation is not yet balanced. To balance it, we have to make sure that the number of elements on both sides is equal.


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Problem Details

The fuel in high-efficiency natural gas vehicles consists primarily of methane CH4.

How much heat is produced in burning 6 mol of CH4 under standard conditions if reactants and products are brought to 298 K and H2 O(l) is formed?

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What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Enthalpy of Formation concept. You can view video lessons to learn Enthalpy of Formation. Or if you need more Enthalpy of Formation practice, you can also practice Enthalpy of Formation practice problems.

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Bliem's class at UNC.