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Determining the Limiting Reactant

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How far can you go?

It's Road Trip Time!

Credit: David Bailey
Source: http://flic.kr/p/83Trft
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

[Figure1]

Limiting reactant describes the reactant that will run out sooner than the other, and percent yield describes how much in reality the product was produced.  Not only does it apply to chemistry in stoichometry, it also can apply to real life scenairos, such as road trips.  

Creative Applications

You are on a road trip to Los Angeles with 2 friends.  You have enough gas for your car for 500 miles and $200 in cash.  A car trip to LA requires both gas for 400 miles and  $400 cash for three people.  

1.  Based on the these requirements, will you and your 2 friends be able to make it down to LA? Why or why not? Which item will run out first?

2. If you were to go on with the trip and stop whenever one of the two items ran out, how far could you go?  How much excess gas/money would be left?

3. On that day, there was a lot of traffic getting on the road.  Sadly, you had to use more gas and ended up traveling 50 less miles.  What is the percent of road actually traveled compared to what theoretically be traveled?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: David Bailey; Source: http://flic.kr/p/83Trft; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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