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Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
Oxidation is the loss of electrons. Reduction is the gain of electrons. electrons

In the reaction of zinc atoms with copper(II) ions, the zinc atoms lose electrons and undergo oxidation. In other words, the zinc atoms are oxidized. Th copper(II) ions gain electrons and undergo reduction. I The (II) i i l t d d d ti In other words, the copper(II) ions are reduced. Because oxidation and reduction both occur in the reaction it is reaction, known as an oxidation-reduction reaction or redox reaction.

Notice that electrons are transferred from zinc atoms to copper(II) ions. The copper(II) i (II) ions are responsible for the oxidation of the zinc atoms. A reactant ibl f th id ti f th i t t t that oxidizes another reactant is called an oxidizing agent. The oxidizing agent accepts electrons in a redox reaction. In this reaction, copper(II) is the oxidizing agent. agent The zinc atoms are responsible for the reduction of the copper(II) ions A ions. reactant that reduces another reactant is called a reducing agent. The reducing agent gives or donates electrons in a redox reaction. In this reaction, zinc is the reducing agent agent. A redox reaction can also be defined as a reaction between an oxidizing agent and a reducing agent.

To monitor the transfer of electrons in a redox reaction you can reaction, represent the oxidation and reduction separately. A half-reaction is a balanced equation that shows the number of electrons involved in either oxidation or reduction. Because a redox reaction involves both oxidation and reduction, two half-reactions are needed to represent a redox reaction. One halfreaction shows oxidation, and the other half-reaction shows reduction. In most redox reactions, one substance is oxidized and a different substance is reduced. In a disproportionation reaction, however, a single element undergoes both oxidation and reduction in the same reaction. ti For example, a copper(I) solution undergoes disproportionation in the following reaction: 2Cu+(aq) Cu(s) + Cu2+(aq) In this reaction, some copper(I) ions gain electrons, while other copper(I) ions lose electrons. The two half-reactions are as follows. Oxidation: Cu+ (aq) Cu2+ (aq) + 1e Reduction: Cu+(aq) + 1e- Cu(s) Half reactions always come in pairs: an oxidation half reaction is Half-reactions half-reaction always accompanied by a reduction half-reaction, and vice versa.

Oxidation Numbers
Oxidation numbers are actual or hypothetical charges, assigned using a set of rules. Th are used t describe redox reactions with covalent They d to d ib d ti ith l t reactants or products. They are also used to identify redox reactions, reactions and to identify oxidizing and reducing agents agents. Consider Lewis Structures. Oxygen (electronegativity 3.44) is more electronegative than hydrogen (electronegativity 2.20). The electronegativity difference is less than 1.7, so the two hydrogen-oxygen bonds are polar covalent, not ionic. In each bond, the electrons are more strongly attracted to the oxygen atom than to the hydrogen atom.

To assign oxidation numbers to the atoms in a water molecule, you can consider all the bonding electrons to be owned by the owned more electronegative oxygen atom. Thus, each hydrogen atom in a water molecule is considered to have no electrons, as hydrogen would in a hydrogen ion, H+. Therefore, the element hydrogen is assigned an oxidation number of +1 in water On the other hand the oxygen atom in a water. hand, water molecule is considered to have a filled octet of electrons, as oxygen would in an oxide ion, O2. Therefore, the element oxygen is assigned an oxidation number of 2 in water. (Note: These are not ionic charges, since water is a covalent molecule. Also, note that the plus or minus sign in an oxidation number, number such as 2 is written before the number The plus or 2, number. minus sign in an ionic charge, such as 2-, is written after the number.)

Balancing Half-Reactions for Acidic Solutions

Step 1 Write an unbalanced half-reaction that shows the formulas of the given reactant(s) and product(s) product(s). Step 2 Balance any atoms other than oxygen and hydrogen first. Step 3 Balance any oxygen atoms by adding water molecules molecules. Step 4 Balance any hydrogen atoms by adding hydrogen ions. Step 5 Balance the charges by adding electrons b electrons.

Balancing Half-Reactions for Basic Solutions

Step 1 Write an unbalanced half-reaction that shows the formulas of the given reactant(s) and product(s). Step 2 Balance any atoms other than oxygen and hydrogen first. St 3 B l Step Balance any oxygen and h d d hydrogen atoms as if th conditions t the diti are acidic. Step 4 Adjust for basic conditions by adding to both sides the same number of hydroxide ions as the number of hydrogen ions already present. Step 5 Simplify the half-reaction by combining the hydrogen ions and hydroxide ions on the same side of the equation into water molecules. Step 6 Remove any water molecules present on both sides of the half-reaction. Step 7 Balance the charges by adding electrons

Steps for Balancing by the Half-Reaction Half Reaction Method

Step 1 Write an unbalanced net ionic equation, if it is not already given. Step 2 Divide the unbalanced net ionic equation into an oxidation half-reaction and a reduction half-reaction. To do this, you may need to assign oxidation numbers to all the elements in the net ionic equation to determine what is oxidized and what is reduced reduced. Step 3 Balance the oxidation half-reaction and the reduction halfreaction independently. Step 4 Determine the least common multiple (LCM) of the numbers of electrons in the oxidation half-reaction and the reduction halfreaction. Step 5 Use coefficients to write each half-reaction so that it includes p the LCM of the numbers of electrons. Step 6 Add the balanced half-reactions that include the equal numbers of electrons. S Step 7 R Remove the electrons f h l from b h sides of the equation. both id f h i Step 8 Remove any identical molecules or ions that are present on both sides of the equation. St 9 If you require a balanced chemical equation, i l d any Step i b l d h i l ti include spectator ions in the chemical formulas. Step 10 If necessary, include the states.

Balancing a Redox Reaction in Acidic Solution

Problem Write a balanced net ionic equation to show the reaction of perchlorate ions ClO4-, and nitrogen dioxide in ions, ClO4 acidic solution to produce chloride ions and nitrate ions. What Is Required? You need to write a balanced net ionic q equation for the given reaction. What Is Given? You know the identities of two reactants and two products, and th t the reaction takes place in acidic t d t d that th ti t k l i idi solution.

The Oxidation Number Method for Balancing Equations

St 1 W it an unbalanced equation, if it is not Step Write b l d ti i t given. Step 2 Determine whether the reaction is a redox reaction by assigning an oxidation number to each element wherever it appears in the equation. Step 3 If the reaction is a redox reaction, identify the element(s) that undergo an increase in oxidation number and the element(s) that undergo a decrease in oxidation number. Step 4 Find the numerical values of the increase and p the decrease in oxidation numbers.

St 5 D t Step Determine th smallest whole-number ratio of i the ll t h l b ti f the oxidized and reduced elements so that the total increase in oxidation numbers equals the total q decrease in oxidation numbers. Step 6 Use the smallest whole-number ratio to balance the numbers of atoms of the element(s) b l th b f t f th l t( ) oxidized and the element(s) reduced Step 7 Balance the other elements by inspection if inspection, possible. Step 8 For reactions that occur in acidic or basic p solutions, include water molecules, hydrogen ions, or hydroxide ions as needed to balance the equation.