Complete Ionic Equations
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Complete Ionic Equations

Complete ionic equations represent soluble ionic compounds as separated ions.

Ba(NO3)2 + CuSO4 rtarrow.gif (850 bytes) BaSO4(ppt) + Cu(NO3)2
Ba2+ + 2 NO3- + Cu2+ + SO42- rtarrow.gif (850 bytes) BaSO4(ppt) + Cu2+ + 2 NO3-

In the example shown above, barium nitrate exists in solution as separate barium ions and nitrate ions.  Copper(II) sulfate exists in solution as separate copper(II) ions and sulfate ions. After the barium and sulfate ions combine to form the solid barium sulfate precipitate, the copper(II) ions and the nitrate ions remain in solution. This representation is called the complete ionic equation. The barium and sulfate ions actually react to form the barium sulfate product. The copper(II) ions and the nitrate ions are not actually involved in the reaction. They are called spectator ions.


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