The reason to write a chemical equation is to express what we believe is actually happening in a chemical reaction. One of the most useful applications of the concept of principal species is in writing net ionic equations. These are equations that focus on the principal substances and ions involved in a reaction--the principal species --ignoring those spectator ions that really don't get involved. For more information on classifying electrolytes, click here.
How would you balance the following equation: LiOH + HNO3?
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There are different ways to write equations for chemical reactions. Some of the most common are unbalanced equations, which indicate the species involved; balanced chemical equations , which indicate number and type of species; molecular equations , which express compounds as molecules instead of component ions; and net ionic equations, which only deal with the species that contribute to a reaction. Basically, you need to know how to write the first two types of reactions to get the net ionic equation. The net ionic equation is a chemical equation for a reaction that lists only those species participating in the reaction.