Stoichiometry is the calculation of relative quantities of reactants and products in chemical reactions. Stoichiometry is founded on the law of conservation of mass where the total mass of the reactants equals the total mass of the products leading to the insight that the relations among quantities of reactants and products typically form a ratio of positive integers. Practically, this means that if the amounts of the separate reactants are known the amount of the product can be calculated. Conversely, if one reactant has a known quantity and the quantity of product can be empirically determined, the amount of the other reactants can be determined, also by calculation.
As seen in the image to the right, where the balanced equation is:
4 + 2O
2 → CO
2 + 2H