Calculating Atom Economy

  • Along with the percentage yield, atom economy is used to analyse the efficiency of reactions.
  • Most reactions produce more than one product and very often some of them are not useful.
  • Atom economy studies the amount of reactants that get turned into useful products.
  • It illustrates what percentage of the mass of reactants become useful products.
  • It is used extensively in the analysis of systems and procedures in industries, in an effort to obtain sustainable development.
  • It is also a very important analysis for economical reasons as companies prefer to use processes with higher atom economies.
  • The higher the atom economy of a process then the more sustainable that process is.
  • The equation for calculating atom economy is:

Atom economy equation, IGCSE & GCSE Chemistry revision notes

Example
Hydrogen gas is obtained from methane in a process called steam-methane reforming. The reaction is as follows:

CH4 (g) + H2O (g) → CO (g) + 3H2 (g)

Calculate the atom economy of this reaction.

Calculating Atom Economy Table, IGCSE & GCSE Chemistry revision notes

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Morgan Curtin Chemistry

Author: Morgan

Morgan’s passion for the Periodic Table begun on his 10th birthday when he received his first Chemistry set. After studying the subject at university he went on to become a fully fledged Chemistry teacher, and now works in an international school in Madrid! In his spare time he helps create our fantastic resources to help you ace your exams.