Problem: Imagine you mix 16.05 g of methane (CH4) gas and 96.00 g of oxygen (O2) gas and then ignite the mixture. After a bright flash and a loud bang, some water droplets form on the inside of the reaction vessel.Will anything be left over? What? How much?

FREE Expert Solution

We’re being asked to determine which is the reactant in excess and determine the amount remaining if any.


For this problem, we need to do the following steps:

Step 1: Write and balance a chemical equation for the given reaction.

Step 2: Determine the limiting reactant and calculate the mass of CO2 formed.

Step 3: Calculate the remaining reactant in excess.



Step 1: We have a combustion reaction:


CH4 + O2 → CO2 + H2O


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


Balance H: We have 4 H on the reactant side and 2 H on the product side – add a coefficient of 2 to H2O:


CH4 + O2 → CO22 H2O


Balance O: We have 2 O on the reactant side and 4 O on the product side –  add a coefficient of 2 to O2:


CH42 O2 → CO22 H2O


Now that we have a balanced equation, we can determine how much CO2 is produced.


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Problem Details

Imagine you mix 16.05 g of methane (CH4) gas and 96.00 g of oxygen (O2) gas and then ignite the mixture. After a bright flash and a loud bang, some water droplets form on the inside of the reaction vessel.

Will anything be left over? What? How much?

Frequently Asked Questions

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 Limiting Reagent concept. You can view video lessons to learn Limiting Reagent. Or if you need more Limiting Reagent practice, you can also practice Limiting Reagent practice problems.

What professor is this problem relevant for?

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