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What is a stoichiometric coefficient?

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Quick Answer

The stoichiometric coefficient is the number written in front of each component of a balanced equation to indicate the amount of that component needed for the reaction. The stoichiometric coefficient is used in the calculations of stoichiometry.

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For example, in the balanced chemical equation Fe2O3 + 3 CO = 3 CO2 + 2 Fe, the stoichiometric coefficient of Fe2O3 is one, and the stoichiometric coefficient of CO is three. On the other side of the equation, the stoichiometric coefficient of CO2 is three, and the stoichiometric coefficient of Fe is two. The stoichiometric coefficient can be a fraction, but is typically written as a whole number.

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