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Chapter 11

Redox Reactions

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Define oxidation and reduction


Define the oxidation number from formulae
Describe tests for oxidising and reducing agents
Distinguish between oxidising and reducing agents
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Oxidation as the gain of oxygen
 Oxidation can be defined as the gain of oxygen by a substance.
 For example, when magnesium is burned in oxygen, it
changes into magnesium oxide. We say that the
magnesium is oxidised into magnesium oxide.
 The magnesium has gained oxygen to
become magnesium oxide.
Magnesium + Oxygen  Magnesium oxide
2Mg(s) + O2(g)  2MgO(s)

Oxygen added
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Reduction as the loss of oxygen

 Reduction can be defined as the loss or removal of


oxygen from a substance.

 For example, when copper(II) oxide is heated with


hydrogen, it changes to copper. We say that the
copper(II) oxide has been reduced to copper.
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions

Reduction as the loss of oxygen

 The copper(II) oxide has changed into


copper by its loss of oxygen.

Copper(II) oxide + Hydrogen  Copper + water


CuO(s) + H2(g)  Cu(s) + H2O(l)

Oxygen removed
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Oxidation as the loss of hydrogen
 Oxidation may also be defined as the loss or removal of
hydrogen from a substance.
 For example, hydrogen sulphide reacts with
chlorine to form sulphur and hydrogen chloride:
H2S(g) + Cl2(g) S(s) + 2HCl(g)

Hydrogen removed

 We say that the hydrogen sulphide is oxidised


to sulphur, because it has lost hydrogen.
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Reduction as the gain of hydrogen
 Conversely, reduction may be defined as the gain or addition
of hydrogen to a substance.
 For example, nitrogen reacts with hydrogen to
form ammonia in the Haber process:

N2(g) + 3H2(g)  2NH3(g)

Hydrogen added

 In this reaction, nitrogen is reduced to


ammonia, because it has gained hydrogen.
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Redox Reactions always occur together
 In a redox reaction, if one substance is oxidised, the other is
being reduced.
 E.g. The extraction of iron from iron(III) oxide in the blast furnace:

Fe2O3(s) + 3CO(g) 2Fe(l) + 3CO2(g)


Oxygen
Fe2O3 loses oxygen, added CO gains oxygen,
and is thus reduced. and is thus oxidised.
 We say that iron(III) oxide is reduced to iron, and carbon
monoxide is oxidised to carbon dioxide.
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Redox reactions always occur together
 For example, in the reaction of hydrogen sulphide with chlorine:

H2S(g) + Cl2(g)  S(s) + 2HCl(g)

Hydrogen
added
H2S loses hydrogen, Cl2 gains hydrogen,
and is thus oxidised. and is thus reduced.

 We say that hydrogen sulphide is oxidised to sulphur, and


chlorine is reduced to hydrogen chloride.
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Summary

Oxidation Reduction

Gain of oxygen Loss of oxygen

Loss of hydrogen Gain of hydrogen


Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Quick check 1
1. State which substance is oxidised. What substance has it
oxidised to? Give a reason for your answer.

(a) C + O2  CO2
(b) Mg + H2O  MgO + H2
(c) 2CO + O2  2CO2
(d) H2I + Cl2  2HCl + I2
(e) CuO + H2  Cu + H2O
(f) Cl2(g) + H2S(g)  2HCl(g) + S(s)
(g) 2NH3 + 3CuO  3Cu + N2 + 3H2O Solution
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Quick check 1 (cont’d)
2. State which substance is reduced. What substance has it been
reduced to? Give a reason for your answer.

(a) ZnO + H2  Zn + H2O


(b) CO2 + 2Mg  2MgO + C
(c) Mg + H2O  MgO + H2
(d) Fe2O3 + 3CO  2Fe + 3CO2
(e) H2 + Cl2  2HCl
(f) CuO + Mg  Cu + MgO
(g) FeS + 2HCl  FeCl2 + H2S
Solution
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions

Redox reactions in terms of electron transfer

 Redox reactions can take place even if


no oxygen or hydrogen is involved.
 A redox reaction is deemed to occur if there is
a transfer of electron(s) during the reaction.
 We define:
 Oxidation is the loss of electrons from an
atom or ion.
 Reduction is the gain of electrons by an atom or ion.
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions

Redox reactions in terms of electron transfer


 For example, when sodium and chlorine react to form sodium chloride:

 The sodium atom has transferred its outermost electron


to chlorine to form sodium chloride.
 The sodium atom has lost an electron, hence it is oxidised.
 The chlorine atom has gained an electron, hence it is reduced.
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions

Redox reactions in terms of electron transfer

Example 1: Reaction of sodium with chlorine


Na loses electrons (oxidation)

2Na + Cl2 2Na+ + 2Cl-

Cl2 gains electrons (reduction)


 We say that sodium is oxidised (loss of electron) and chlorine is
reduced (gain of electron) to form sodium chloride.
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Redox Reactions In Terms of Electron Transfer

Example 2: Reaction of magnesium with hydrochloric acid


Mg loses electrons (oxidation)

Mg + 2H+Cl-  Mg2+Cl-2 + H2

H+ gains electrons (reduction)


 We say that magnesium is oxidised to
magnesium chloride. (loss of electrons)
 We say that hydrochloricacid is
reduced to hydrogen. (gain of electron).
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions

Redox reactions in terms of electron transfer

Example 3: Reaction of iron(II) chloride with chlorine.


Fe2+ loses electron to become Fe3+ (Oxidation)

2Fe2+Cl-2 + Cl2  2Fe3+Cl-3

Cl gains electron to become Cl- (Reduction)

 Iron(II) chloride is oxidised to iron(III) chloride (loss of electrons)


 Chlorine is reduced to iron(III) chloride (gain of electrons)
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Oxidation States
 To determine if an atom or ion has gained or lost electrons, we can
look at its oxidation state (or oxidation number).
 All free (uncombined) elements are assigned an oxidation state of
zero:
E.g. Na0, Mg0, Fe0, Cu0, H20, Cl20, O20
 The oxidation state of an element in a compound is equal to the
charge on the ion:
 E.g. H+, Na+, K+ (oxidation state +1);
Cl-, Br-, I- (oxidation state -1);
Mg2+, Ca2+, Zn2+, Fe2+(oxidation state +2);
O2-, S2-, (oxidation state -2);
Fe3+, Al3+ (oxidation state +3)
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Redox reactions as changes in
oxidation state
 When an atom or ion loses an electron, it is oxidised and its
oxidation state increases:
E.g. Na0  Na+ + e- (From 0  +1)
E.g. Fe2+  Fe3+ + e- (From +2  +3)
 When an atom or ion gains an electron, it is reduced and its
oxidation state decreases:
E.g. Cl0 + e-  Cl- (From 0  -1)
E.g. Mg2+ + 2e-  Mg (From +2  0)
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Redox reactions as changes in
oxidation state
Example 1: Reaction of magnesium with hydrochloric acid

Step 1: Write down the balanced chemical equation.


0 + - 2+ -
Mg + 2H Cl  Mg Cl2 + H2 0

Step 2: Write down the oxidation number of each


atom or ion in the equation.
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Redox reactions as changes in
oxidation state
Step 3: Look for an atom or ion which has changed its oxidation
number in going from left to right in the equation.
Oxidation (from 0 to +2)

0 + - 2+ - 0
Mg + 2H Cl  Mg Cl2 + H2

Reduction (from + 1 to 0)
Step 4: Determine whether it is oxidation (increase in
oxidation state) or reduction (decrease in
oxidation state).
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Redox reactions as changes in
oxidation state
Example 2: Reaction of potassium iodide with chlorine.
Chlorine is reduced to KCl
( decrease in oxidation state)

2K+ I− + Cl20  2K+ Cl− + I20

Potassium iodide is oxidised to iodine.


( increase in oxidation state)
 Notice that there is no changein K+ (in KI) to K+ (in KCl);
hence the potassium ion has not been oxidised or reduced.
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Determination of Oxidation States
in a Compound
 Atoms in covalent and complex compounds can be given
oxidation states, assuming they are ionic.
 Oxidation states of all atoms in a compound must add up to zero
 Example: Find the oxidation state of Mn in KMnO4.
KMnO4 +1 + x + 4(-2) = 0
x = +7
K+ 4(O2-)
(+1) x (-2)
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Summary

Oxidation Reduction
Gain of oxygen Loss of oxygen
Loss of hydrogen Gain of hydrogen
Loss of electron(s) Gain of electron(s)
(Increase in oxidation state) (Decrease in oxidation state)
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Quick check 2
1. State which substance is oxidised. What substance has it been
oxidised to? State a reason for your answer.

(a) Zn + 2HCl  ZnCl2 + H2


(b) Mg + H2SO4  MgSO4 + H2
(c) Fe + Cl2  FeCl2
(d) Zn + CuSO4  ZnSO4 + Cu
(e) Fe + Pb(NO3)2  Fe(NO3)2 + Pb
(f) 2KI + Br2  2KBr + I2
Solution
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Quick check 2 (cont’d)
2. State which substance is reduced. What substance has it
been reduced to? State a reason for your answer.

(a) CuO + Mg  MgO + Cu


(b) 2Fe3+ + 2Cl-  2Fe2+ + Cl2
(c) 2Na + Cl2  2NaCl
(d) Zn + CuSO4  ZnSO4 + Cu
(e) Mg + H2SO4  MgSO4 + H2

3. State the oxidation state of nitrogen in the following:


(i) NO, (ii) N2O, (iii) NO2, (iv) NO3-
Solution
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Oxidising Agents and Reducing Agents
 Consider the burning of magnesium in
oxygen to form magnesium oxide:

2Mg(s) + O2(g) 2MgO(s)


 In the above reaction, magnesium is
oxidised into magnesium oxide by oxygen.

 Oxygen is called the oxidising agent.


Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Oxidising Agents
Definition:
An oxidising agent is a substance which causes
oxidation. It acts as an acceptor of electrons.

2Mg(s) + O2(g) 2MgO(s)

 In the above reaction, oxygen has received or


accepted 2 electrons from magnesium to
form magnesium oxide.
 Hence oxygen is the oxidising agent.
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Oxidising Agents

 Other examples of oxidising agents are:


 chlorine and bromine
 potassium manganate(VII)
 potassium dichromate(VI)
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Reducing Agents

 Consider the reaction between heated


copper(II) oxide and hydrogen.

CuO(s) + H2(g) Cu(s) + H2O(g)

 Copper(II) oxide is reduced to copper by


hydrogen.
 Hydrogen is called the reducing agent.
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Reducing Agents
Definition:
A reducing agent is a substance which causes
reduction. It acts as a donor of electrons.

CuO(s) + H2(g) Cu(s) + H2O(g)

 In the above reaction, hydrogen has given


away (donated) 2 electrons to the
copper(II) ion which then becomes copper.
 Hence hydrogen is the reducing agent.
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Reducing Agents
 Other examples of reducing agents are:
 carbon
 carbon monoxide
 reactive metals like potassium, sodium, magnesium and aluminium
 potassium iodide
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Oxidising Agents and Reducing Agents
 Since redox reactions always occur together, an oxidising agent
will be the substance reduced in the reaction.
 Similarly, a reducing agent will be the substance oxidised in the
reaction.
H2S(g) + Cl2(g)  S(s) + 2HCl(g)

H2S is oxidised to Chlorine is reduced to HCl


sulphur by chlorine. by hydrogen sulphide.

Cl2 is the oxidising agent. H2S is the reducing agent.


Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Worked Example
Consider the
following reaction:
Fe2O3(s) + 3CO(g) 2Fe(l) + 3CO2(g)

(a) Which substance is oxidised?


Carbon monoxide is oxidised (gain of oxygen)
Ans: ________________________________________
(b) Which substance is reduced?
Iron(III) oxide is reduced (loss of oxygen)
Ans: ________________________________________
(c) Which is the oxidising agent?
Iron(III) oxide is the oxidising agent.
Ans: ________________________________________
(d) Which is the reducing agent?
Carbon monoxide is the reducing agent.
Ans: ________________________________________
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Test for oxidising agent
 To test if an unknown substance is an oxidising agent, add a
solution of potassium iodide to it.
 If the mixture turns reddish brown due to the liberation of iodine
from the potassium iodide, then the unknown substance is an
oxidising agent.

Potassium iodide
solution added
Mixture turns
unknown
reddish brown
solution
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Test for reducing agent

 To test if an unknown substance is a reducing agent, add an


acidified solution of potassium dichromate(VI) to it.

 If the mixture turns from yellow/orange to green, then the


unknown substance is a reducing agent.
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Quick check 3
1. In each of the following reactions, state
(i) the substance oxidised, (ii) the substance reduced, (iii) the
oxidising agent and (iv) the reducing agent.
(a) ZnO + CO  Zn + CO2
(b) Al2O3 + 3Mg  2Al + 3MgO
(c) 2FeCl2 + Cl2  2FeCl3

2. (a) Define oxidation in terms of electron transfer.


(b) Give an example of a redox reaction, including a
chemical equation with state symbols.
State clearly in your example, which substance is
oxidised and which substance is reduced. Solution
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Solution to Quick check 1
1. (a) C + O2  CO2
Carbon is oxidised into carbon dioxide. (gain of oxygen)
(b) Mg + H2O  MgO + H2
Magnesium is oxidised into magnesium oxide. (gain of oxygen)
(c) 2CO + O2  2CO2
Carbon monoxide is oxidised into carbon dioxide. (gain of oxygen)
(d) H2I + Cl2  2HCl + I2
Hydrogen iodide is oxidised into iodine. (loss of hydrogen)
(e) CuO + H2  Cu + H2O
Hydrogen is oxidised into water. (gain of oxygen)
(f) Cl2(g) + H2S(g)  2HCl(g) + S(s)
Hydrogen sulphide is oxidised into sulphur. (loss of hydrogen)
(g) 2NH3 + 3CuO  3Cu + N2 + 3H2O
Ammonia is oxidised into nitrogen. (loss of hydrogen) Return
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
2. Solution to Quick check 1 (cont’d)
(a) ZnO + H2  Zn + H2O
Zinc oxide is reduced into zinc. (loss of oxygen)
(b) CO2 + 2Mg  2MgO + C
Carbon dioxide is reduced into carbon. (loss of oxygen)
(c) Mg + H2O  MgO + H2
Water is reduced into hydrogen. (loss of oxygen)
(d) Fe2O3 + 3CO  2Fe + 3CO2
Iron(III) oxide is reduced into iron. (loss of oxygen)
(e) H2 + Cl2  2HCl
Chlorine is reduced into hydrogen chloride. (gain of hydrogen)
(f) CuO + Mg  Cu + MgO
Copper(II) oxide is reduced into copper.(loss of oxygen)
(g) FeS + 2HCl  FeCl2 + H2S
Iron(II) sulphide is reduced to hydrogen sulphide. (gain of hydrogen)

Return
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Solution to Quick check 2
1. (a) Zn + 2HCl  ZnCl2 + H2
Zinc is oxidised into zinc chloride.
(loss of electrons/increase in oxidation state)
(b) Mg + H2SO4  MgSO4 + H2
Magnesium is oxidised to magnesium sulphate.
(loss of electrons)
(c) Fe + Cl2  FeCl2
Iron is oxidised to iron(II) chloride. (loss of electrons)
(d) Zn + CuSO4  ZnSO4 + Cu
Zinc is oxidised to zinc sulphate. (loss of electrons)
(e) Fe + Pb(NO3)2  Fe(NO3)2 + Pb
Iron is oxidised to iron(II) nitrate. (loss of electrons)
(f) 2KI + Br2  2KBr + I2 Return
Potassium iodide is oxidised to iodine (loss of electrons)
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Solution to Quick check 2 (cont’d)
2. (a) CuO + Mg  MgO + Cu
Copper(II) oxide is reduced to copper.
(loss of oxygen/decrease in oxidation state/gain of electrons)
(b) 2Fe3+ + 2Cl-  2Fe2+ + Cl2
Iron(III) is reduced to iron(II). Decrease in oxidation state/gain of electron.
(c) 2Na + Cl2  2NaCl
Chlorine is reduced to sodium chloride. (gain of electron)
(d) Zn + CuSO4  ZnSO4 + Cu
Copper(II) sulphate is reduced to copper (gain of electrons)
(e) Mg + H2SO4  MgSO4 + H2
Sulphuric acid is reduced to hydrogen (gain of electron)
3. (i) +2, (ii) +1, (iii) +4, (iv) +5
Return
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions
Solution to Quick check 3
1. (a) ZnO + CO  Zn + CO2
(i) carbon monoxide, (ii) zinc oxide,
(iii) zinc oxide, (iv) carbon monoxide
(b) Al2O3 + 3Mg  2Al + 3MgO
(i) magnesium, (ii) aluminium oxide,
(iii) aluminium oxide, (iv) magnesium
(c) 2FeCl2 + Cl2  2FeCl3
(i) iron(II) chloride, (ii) chlorine,
(iii) chlorine, (iv) iron(II) chloride

2. (a) Oxidation occurs when there is a loss of electrons from an atom or ion.
(b) 2KI(aq) + Cl2 (g)  2KCl(aq) + I2 (s)
Potassium iodide is oxidised to iodine.
Return
Chlorine is reduced to potassium chloride.
Chapter 11
Redox Reactions

To learn more about Redox reactions, click


on the links below!
1. http://library.kcc.hawaii.edu/external/chemistry/redox_title.html
2. http://www.chemistry.co.nz/redox_new.htm
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redox