Stoichiometry Introduction

In A Nutshell

We know what you're thinking. You hate stoichiometry. You can't spell it, you can't pronounce it, and it involves all sorts of calculations that make you go nuts. Your friends and classmates all hate it, too, and your teacher keeps using the word stoichiometry like it's some sort of magic spell.

It's okay. Forget anything you might have heard about stoichiometry because we're going to start from scratch.

First things first, what is stoichiometry? The best definition for stoichiometry is the simple one: it's a way to figure out how much stuff you're going to make in a chemical reaction, or how much stuff you'll need to make a chemical reaction do what you want.

When we put it that way, stoichiometry isn't so bad. We can deal with the crazy name if it's that simple.

Let's think of one of our favorite chemical reactions: making a cheeseburger. Okay, maybe it's not a chemical reaction, but the concept is the same. For every cheeseburger we need a bun, a meat/veggie patty, and two slices of cheese. When we're really hungry and want more than one cheeseburger, we can put our mad stoichiometry skills to use and figure out how much of each ingredient we need. For example, if we want to make four cheeseburgers, we need four buns, four patties, and eight slices of cheese. That is delicious stoichiometry in action.

Of course, it's not entirely that simple. To be a master at stoichiometry you also have to be a master at unit conversion. Once we get through with this guide, you'll want to invite stoichiometry it to all the parties and fun times.