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How to Count Atoms. Coefficient. If an element or molecule has a LARGE number (called a coefficient) in front of it, this is how many of each atom there are. The LARGE number (coefficient) applies to every element that follows. Example: 4 Na – FOUR Sodium atoms

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coefficient
Coefficient
  • If an element or molecule has a LARGE number (called a coefficient) in front of it, this is how many of each atom there are.
  • The LARGE number (coefficient) applies to every element that follows.
  • Example:

4Na –FOUR Sodium atoms

2HCl –TWO Hydrogen atoms and

TWO Chlorine atoms

subscript
Subscript
  • If an element has a small number directly after it, this is how many of that particular atom there are.
  • Example

H2O – TWO Hydrogen atoms and

ONE Oxygen atom

C2H4 – TWO Carbon atoms and

FOUR Hydrogen atoms

remember
REMEMBER
  • IF AN ATOM DOES NOT HAVE A NUMBER IN FRONT OR BEHIND, IT IS ALWAYS

ONE

putting the two together
Putting the Two Together
  • If you have coefficients AND subscripts, multiply the coefficient by the subscript.
  • Example:

2MnO4 –TWO Manganese atoms and

EIGHT(2 x 4) Oxygen atoms

3HPO4 –THREE Hydrogen atoms and

THREE Phosphorous atoms and

TWELVE(3 x 4) Oxygen atoms

brackets
Brackets
  • If there are brackets within your molecule...
  • A) The coefficient STILL applies to all atoms within the molecule
  • B) a subscript still applies to the atom it DIRECTLY follows.
  • C) A subscript directly OUTSIDE the bracketapplies to ALL atoms INSIDE the bracket
examples
EXAMPLES

Al(NO3)3 –ONE Aluminum atom,

THREE Nitrogen atoms (1 x 3), and

NINE Oxygen atoms (3 x 3)

3Au2(SeO4)3 –SIX Gold atoms (3 x 2),

NINE Selenium atoms (3 x 3), and

THIRTY-SIX Oxygen atoms (3 x 4 x 3).