This question was posted yesterday and recently closed as a duplicate. I think as originally posed, the question was a duplicate, but I believe the OP had clarified before it was closed that his question was less about the fact that certain equations could be balanced multiple ways and more about how one determines the observed reaction. He was wondering whether the true reaction could be determined theoretically or if it required some experimental input.

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    $\begingroup$ I cannot speak for any of the close voters, but imo the linked question has a lot of fluff. The short section that might make it not a duplicate is put right at the end of a bunch of text that heavily suggests that it is a duplicate. $\endgroup$ Apr 24, 2017 at 15:57
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    $\begingroup$ The fact that the OP edited the question sufficiently that the one posted answer became obsolete (see OP's comment here) to my mind also argues in favor of leaving it closed. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Apr 24, 2017 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ Considering I'm not a mod, I would happily "overturn community decision". Voting to reopen because it's not a duplicate, merely related. $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Apr 25, 2017 at 13:56

1 Answer 1


I personally do not agree with the verdict of the jury. I think the two questions are sufficiently different. I would reopen it; but I am not overturning the community decision.

On what factors does the true reaction Stoichiometry depend when there are multiple valid options?

This question in principle deals with the problem how to find the correct value for the free variable when solving chemical equations algebraically. It does not question the possibility of the existence of such a thing, but rather what boundary conditions need to be employed. And I do not see how the currently given answer is an attempt at answering at all in any state as it only tried to correct a mistake in one of the equations (see hBy2Py's comment above).

If the question would not have used an example with xenon, but instead something equally as valid, would it still be closed of the question below? For example, borrowed from How to write the balanced equation of the reaction of potassium nitrate, carbon, and sulfur? $$\ce{aKNO3 + bC + cS -> dSO2 + eCO2 + fN2 + gK2O}$$

Can a chemical reaction have two balanced equations?

This question basically only asks if one question can be described by two different reaction equations and what the implications of this are. The concept behind it is different. From my personal point of view, this question is less interesting.


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