Welcome back to our series on stoichiometry. In our last post, we discussed the importance of unit conversion and how to convert between different units of measurement. In this post, we will continue our discussion on stoichiometry and focus on how to set up and solve stoichiometry problems using conversion factors.
The first step in solving a stoichiometry problem is to identify the starting point and the target point. This information may include the amount of a certain object or substance in different units, such as length, weight, or volume.
The next step is to determine the conversion factor that relates the starting point and the target point. A conversion factor is a ratio that expresses how one unit is related to another unit, and it is usually given as a fraction.
For example, let's say we want to convert 10 miles per hour (mph) to kilometers per hour (kph). The conversion factor between miles and kilometers is 1.609, so we can write a conversion factor as:
1 mile / 1.609 kilometers
To convert 10 mph to kph, we can use the conversion factor to write:
When we’re multiplying fractions, we apply the law (n/n=1). If we have a common number or unit in both the numerator and denominator on the same side of the equal sign we “cancel them out”. This is how we know which conversion statement to use. If we’re starting with miles as our unit, and we want kilometers as our final unit, we will ensure to choose the conversion statement that has miles in the denominator.
Once we have the conversion factor, we can use it to set up a stoichiometry problem and solve for the unknown variable. Stoichiometry problems may involve multiple steps and require multiple conversion factors to reach the final answer.
The process of stoichiometry, breaking down a problem into smaller steps and using conversion factors to reach the final answer, can also be seen as a metaphor for the spiritual journey. Just as we break down a complex problem into smaller steps, we can approach our spiritual growth one step at a time, learning and growing along the way. The process of stoichiometry reminds us that even the most complex problem can be solved by taking it step by step, and the same is true for our spiritual journey. By focusing on each step along the way, we can deepen our understanding and connection to the divine, and become more grounded in our faith and spiritual practice.