Question
Asked Nov 18, 2019
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When gaseous sulfur dioxide is bubbled into a nitric acid solution, sulfuric acid and gaseous nitrogen dioxide form. Write a balanced equation for this oxidation-reduction reaction.

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Expert Answer

Step 1

As no medium has been mentioned, I am considering acidic medium. In acidic medium this oxidation-reduction reaction can be balanced as given below.

SO2 + HNO H2SO, +NO2
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SO2 + HNO H2SO, +NO2

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Step 2

Divide the reaction into two half-reaction:

The oxidation state of S is changing from +4 to +6, means oxidation of S atom is taking place with transferring of 2 moles of electrons.

The oxidation state of N is changing from +5 to +4 means reduction of N atom is taking place with transferring one mole of electron.

Oxidation half-reaction: SO2 H,SO, 2e
Reduction half-reaction: HNO3 +e NO2
Balance all other atoms except H and O atoms:
It is balanced. So this step can be avoided.
Oxidation half-reaction: SO2 H2S02 2e
Reduction half-reaction: HNO3 +e ->NO,
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Oxidation half-reaction: SO2 H,SO, 2e Reduction half-reaction: HNO3 +e NO2 Balance all other atoms except H and O atoms: It is balanced. So this step can be avoided. Oxidation half-reaction: SO2 H2S02 2e Reduction half-reaction: HNO3 +e ->NO,

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Step 3

Balance the charge by adding a H+ ion to the si...

Oxidation half-reaction: SO, -»H,SO +2e 2H
4
Reduction half-reaction: HNO e +H >NO2
Balance oxygen atom by adding water:
Oxidation half-reaction: SO2 2H0-»H,SO2e +2H
Reduction half-reaction: HNO e +H NO2H,O
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Oxidation half-reaction: SO, -»H,SO +2e 2H 4 Reduction half-reaction: HNO e +H >NO2 Balance oxygen atom by adding water: Oxidation half-reaction: SO2 2H0-»H,SO2e +2H Reduction half-reaction: HNO e +H NO2H,O

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