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Chemistry LibreTexts

6: Redox Reactions

  • Page ID
    • 6.1: Oxidation and Reduction
      "Redox" is short for "oxidation and reduction", two complimentary types of chemical reactions. The term oxidation originally referred to substances combining with oxygen, as happens when an iron bar rusts or a campfire log burns. We often refer to these two examples as corrosion and combustion. Reduction originally referred to the process of converting metal ores to pure metals, a process that is accompanied by a reduction in the mass of the ore.
    • 6.2: Oxidation Numbers
      Redox reactions are all about electrons being transferred from one substance to another, so it would be useful if we had a system for keeping track of what gains and what loses electrons, and how many electrons are involved. We do - our record-keeping system is called Oxidation Numbers. You may remember from earlier chemistry classes something called electronegativity.
    • 6.3: Half-Reactions and Balancing Redox Equations
      Another way to balance redox reactions is by the half-reaction method. This technique involves breaking an equation into its two separate components - the oxidation reaction and the reduction reaction. Since neither oxidation nor reduction can actually occur without the other, we refer to the separate equations as half-reactions.
    • 6.4: The Activity Series
      Single-replacement reactions only occur when the element that is doing the replacing is more reactive than the element that is being replaced. Therefore, it is useful to have a list of elements in order of their relative reactivities. The activity series is a list of elements in decreasing order of their reactivity. Since metals replace other metals, while nonmetals replace other nonmetals, they each have a separate activity series.
    • 6.5: Batteries
      Electrochemical cells used for power generation are called batteries. Although batteries come in many different shapes and sizes there are a few basic types. You won't be required to remember details of the batteries, but some general information and features of each type is presented here. Batteries are one way of producing this type of energy. Many important chemical reactions involve the exchange of one or more electrons, and, therefore we can use this movement of electrons as electricity.
    • 6.6: Redox Reactions in Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry
      Redox reactions are common in organic and biological chemistry, including the combustion of organic chemicals, respiration, and photosynthesis.

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