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Chemistry LibreTexts

18: Oxidation and Reduction

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  • One important type of chemical reaction is the oxidation-reduction reaction, also known as the redox reaction. Although we introduced redox reactions in Section 4.7, it is worth reviewing some basic concepts.

    • 18.1: Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
      Oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions involve the transfer of electrons from one atom to another. Oxidation numbers are used to keep track of electrons in atoms. There are rules for assigning oxidation numbers to atoms. Oxidation is an increase in oxidation number (loss of electrons); reduction is a decrease in oxidation number (gain of electrons).
    • 18.2: Balancing Redox Reactions By Inspection
      Redox reactions can be balanced by inspection or by the half reaction method. A solvent may participate in redox reactions; in aqueous solutions, H2O, H+, and OH− may be reactants or products.
    • 18.3: Balancing Oxidation-Reduction Reactions Using the Half Reaction Method
    • 18.4: Balancing Redox Reactions in Solution
    • 18.5: Electrochemical Reaction
    • 18.6: Batteries
    • 18.7: Corrosion
      Corrosion is the degradation of a metal caused by an electrochemical process. Large sums of money are spent each year repairing the effects of, or preventing, corrosion. Some metals, such as aluminum and copper, produce a protective layer when they corrode in air. The thin layer that forms on the surface of the metal prevents oxygen from coming into contact with more of the metal atoms and thus “protects” the remaining metal from further corrosion. Iron corrodes (forms rust) when exposed to wate
    • 18.8: Voltaic Cells
    • 18.9: Electrolysis
      Electrolysis is the forcing of a nonspontaneous redox reaction to occur by the introduction of electricity into a cell from an outside source. Electrolysis is used to isolate elements and electroplate objects.

    Thumbnail: Copper from a wire is displaced by silver in a silver nitrate solution it is dipped into, and solid silver precipitates out. Image used with permission (CC SA-BY 3.0 au; Toby Hudson).

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