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Chapter 8 – Redox Reactions

Introduction

Today, we are going to discuss in brief one of the most critical chapters of Chemistry – Redox Reactions. The term ‘reduction-oxidation’ is known as ‘redox’ in short. Redox is a kind of chemical reaction, where oxidation states of atoms are exchanged. If you break it down into two different actions – Oxidation and Reduction – you can analyze redox reactions. In redox reactions, we can see that the electrons are transferred between two reactants, loss of electron means ‘Oxidation’ and gain of electron means ‘Reduction’. Hence, a redox reaction is also known as Oxidation and Reduction reaction. 

In redox reactions, we  have experienced that chemical reactions of oxidation and reduction always happen at the same time. Oxidizing and Reducing Agents are substances in this chemical reaction. When a chemical reaction substance is getting reduced, it is called an oxidizing agent, and the time when a substance is oxidized, it is called a reducing agent.

Let’s discuss below the individual definition of oxidation and reduction reaction with examples-

  • Oxidation Reaction: The loss of electrons is known as Oxidation. It means that an oxidizing agent has to gain electrons from some other substance. An example of an oxidation reaction is when the reaction occurs between oxygen and magnesium metal to compose magnesium oxide with magnesium oxidation.
  • Reduction Reaction: The gain of electrons or the addition of hydrogen and removal of oxygen is known as Reduction. In the reduction reaction, the reducing agent is carbon monoxide. An example of a reduction reaction is the composition of hydrogen fluoride.

Now we will discuss the four types of redox reactions. The definitions with examples of these four types of redox reactions are stated below:-

  • Decomposition Reaction:-In this type of reaction, we can break down a compound into two different smaller compounds. Examples of decomposition reactions are the breakdown of water into hydrogen and oxygen (2H2O → 2H2+ O) and the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen(2H2O2 → 2H2O+ O). 
  • Combination Reaction:-Compound reaction is the opposite of the decomposition reaction, so in this reaction, we have to combine two compounds to form one single compound. Examples of combination reaction are the combination of lithium with sulfur to get lithium sulfide (Li + S → Li2S) and the combination of magnesium with oxygen to get magnesium oxide (Mg + O2 → MgO)
  • Displacement Reaction:-Displacement reaction is the type of reaction where an atom or an iron in a compound element is replaced by an atom or an iron of another compound element. Generally, this reaction can be represented as M + N – O → M – O + N.  

          Displacement reaction is divided into two types:-

  • Metal Displacement Reaction: When another metal displaces a metal present in the compound, it is called metal displacement.
  • Non-Metal Displacement Reaction:-When a hydrogen displacement occurrence reaction involves oxygen displacement; it is called non-metal displacement.
  • Disproportionation Reactions: 
  • By disproportionation reaction, we mean that the same reactant is oxidized and reduced simultaneously. Mn2O3 (Manganese(III) oxide) becoming Mn2(Manganese ) + and MnO2( Manganese(III) oxide) is an example of a disproportionation reaction.

The two examples of redox reactions are mentioned below:-

  1. H2 + F2 → 2HF: This is the reaction between hydrogen and fluorine where hydrogen is oxidized, and fluorine is reduced.
  2. Zn (s) + CuSO4 (aq) → ZnSO4 (aq) + Cu (s): This is the reaction between zinc and copper where zinc is displaced by the oxidizing agent Cu2+ in the copper and sulfate solution.

Balancing redox reactions means changing the oxidation number of the oxidizing agent and the reducing agent. In another sense it means to divide the redox reaction into two half equations – one is the reduction, and the other is oxidation.

Conclusion: ‘Redox reaction’ is an important chapter in Chemistry as for both the artificial and biological energy on this planet, redox reactions are the principal sources. Around 4-5  questions are asked in the examination from this section. In our daily life as well, we have experienced a redox reaction. To generate a DC when the battery is used, it uses a redox reaction to produce electrical energy.

1. What is a redox reaction? Explain with an example.

Redox reaction is the reaction that involves both reduction reactions and oxidation together. The composition of hydrogen fluoride is one of the examples of a redox reaction.

2. How do you identify redox reactions?

Redox reactions can be identified by observing the changes in the number of oxidations. We can split redox reaction into reductions half-reactions and oxidation.

3. How do you know if a reaction is a redox or Non-redox?

When the oxidation number changes in a reaction with an increase and decrease in number, the classification of that reaction is called redox, and when the oxidation does not change, this reaction is called non-redox.

4. What is the importance of redox reactions?

Redox reactions are important, as it is the principal source for both the artificial and the biological energy on this planet.

5. How is the energy released in redox reactions?

In redox reactions, when the potential energy of an electron is lost because of transfer, then energy is released.

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