How to Balance the Net Ionic Equation for NaOH + CH3COOH

The reaction of Sodium hydroxide and Acetic acid (also called Ethanoic acid) represents a net ionic equation involving a strong base and a weak acid. Strong bases are considered strong electrolytes and will dissociate completely. This means that we will split them apart in the net ionic equation. Weak acids only dissociate partially and are not considered to split apart into ions when writing net ionic equations.

This reaction is considered a neutralization reaction. The base (NaOH) and weak acid (CH3COOH) react to produce a salt (NaNO3 and water (H2O).

Video: NaOH + CH3COOH (Net Ionic Equation)

To balance net ionic equations we follow these general rules:

  1. Write the balanced molecular equation.
  2. Write the state (s, l, g, aq) for each substance.
  3. Split strong electrolytes into ions (the complete ionic equation).
  4. Cross out the spectator ions on both sides of complete ionic equation.
  5. Write the remaining substances as the net ionic equation.

Note: charges in a net ionic equation are conserved. This means that the overall charge (called the net charge) on the reactants side (left) of the equation must equal to the net charge on the products side (right).

Video: How to Balance Net Ionic Equations

More Worked examples of Net Ionic Equations