Net ionic equations are a type of chemical equation that only shows the species that are directly involved in a chemical reaction. They leave out any spectator ions that do not take part in the reaction. In chemistry, it can be hard to write net ionic equations, but it is an important skill to have. Here are some tips for writing net ionic equations:
Figure out the response. Find the chemical reaction for which you want to write the net ionic equation. The chemical equation may need to be balanced first.
Find out what state the matter is in. In the chemical equation, write the state of matter (solid, liquid, gas, or water) for each reactant and each product.
Pick out the ions. Find out which of the species are ions and which aren’t. In a net ionic equation, only the ions that take part in the reaction are shown. Ions that watch the reaction but don’t take part are left out.
Write the equation for the net ions. Write the chemical equation, but leave out any ions that are just there to watch. Only the ions that take part in the reaction should be shown in the equation that is made.
Check your answer. Make sure that the charges on both sides of the net ionic equation are the same.
Here’s an example of what a net ionic equation looks like:
Reaction: NaOH (aq) + HCl (aq) → NaCl (aq) + H2O (l)
NaOH (aq) + HCl (aq) = NaCl (aq) + H2O when the chemical equation is balanced (l)
NaOH (aq) + HCl (aq) = NaCl (aq) + H2O (aq) (l)
How to tell what the ions are: NaOH (aq) has Na+ and OH- ions, and HCl (aq) has H+ and Cl- ions.
Write the net ionic equation: Na+ (aq) + OH- (aq) + H+ (aq) + Cl- (aq) Na+ (aq) + Cl- (aq) + H2O (l)
Checking the equation: The charges on both sides are the same, so the equation is balanced.
In chemistry, being able to write net ionic equations is a useful skill that can help you understand how chemical reactions work. To write a net ionic equation, you need to name the reaction, figure out the state of the matter, name the ions, write the net ionic equation, and make sure it is balanced and has the right amount of charge. You can get good at writing net ionic equations if you do it often enough.