Asked Dec 5, 2019

How do you know if a reaction is a redox reaction? 


Expert Answer

Step 1

Redox reaction is the reaction in which oxidation and reduction both takes place or are the reactions in which one species is reduced and another is oxidized. Therefore, the oxidation state of the species involved must change.

Hence, a redox reaction contains both the two processes :

  • Reduction: A process in which an atom gains an electron and therefore decreases (or reduces its oxidation number). Basically, the positive character of the species is reduced.
  • Oxidation: A process in which an atom loses an electron and therefore increases its oxidation number. In other words, the positive character of the species is increased.
Step 2

For example :

  1. Zn + 2 H+ → Zn2+ + H2

Here, oxidation number of Zn changes from 0 (Zn) to +2 (Zn2+) undergoing oxidation and that of H changes from +1 (H+) to 0 (H2) undergoing reduction. Since, this reaction involves both oxidation and reduction, it is a redox reaction.

Step 3
  1. 2 H2 + O2 → 2 H2O

Here, oxidation number of hydrogen changes from 0 (in H2) to +1 (in H2O) undergoing oxidation and that of oxygen changes from 0 (in O2) to -2 in (H2O) unde...

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