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Interactive Java Based Web Site For Teaching Chemical Reaction Stoichiometry

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.364.1 - 3.364.11

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Paper Authors

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William R. Smith

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Ronald W. Missen

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Ishuwa Sikaneta

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3513

Interactive Java-based Web Site for Teaching Chemical Reaction Stoichiometry

William R. Smith, Ishuwa Sikaneta/Ronald W. Missen University of Guelph/University of Toronto

1 Introduction Chemical reaction stoichiometry (CRS) is a branch of chemical stoichiometry dealing with the constraints, in the form of chemical equations, placed on changes in the composition of a closed reacting system by the requirement for conservation of the amount of each atomic species. This simple conservation concept has far-reaching consequences for all of chemistry and chemical engineering, including reaction kinetics and reactor design, reaction equilib- rium, and reaction “book-keeping” in general. If chemical equations are to be used to express this concept, it is important to have a universal, systematic method for generating a proper set for any system under consideration. However, many methods currently in use, partic- ularly in introductory teaching, do not properly or fully exploit the concept, and may give incomplete or misleading results; their scope is very limited, rendering them obsolete for general use.

To understand the role played by CRS, we believe that it is desirable to study it in its own right, “uncontaminated” by implications stemming from such things as reaction networks, reaction mechanisms, and equilibrium. Conversely, CRS does not contribute to intrinsic predictive information for kinetics or equilibrium, but only provides constraints on any pre- dictions.

The universal, systematic method we describe in this paper and implement on the web site is not new, and has been described extensively elsewhere1, 2 . As an aid to the efficiency of learning new material, i.e., CRS, it builds on a student’s existing knowledge of very basic material (in addition to the concept of atomic conservation): the representation of a chem- ical species by a molecular formula, and the solution of sets of linear algebraic equations. For want of a better name, here we call it the matrix reduction method (MRM); it can be implemented by hand-calculation, and, for convenience in complex cases, can be easily pro- grammed for implementation by computer. A new Java applet for the latter is introduced in this paper and on the web site.


Smith, W. R., & Missen, R. W., & Sikaneta, I. (1998, June), Interactive Java Based Web Site For Teaching Chemical Reaction Stoichiometry Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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