Redox reactions take us down an important conceptual pathway in chemistry. Our understanding of redox begins with the gain and loss of oxygen and develops into the gain and loss of hydrogen. This paves the way to understanding all chemical reactions as a rearrangement of electrons. Ions are examined and in the reactivity series we see metals ranked into an ‘order of reactivity’ compared to each other. We use oxidation numbers as a useful system of electron accounting to help us identify when electron transfer has taken place. We use half equations to summarise and communicate those electron transfers. Electrolysis involves the forced transfer of electrons by an applied voltage. Electrode potentials use the generated voltage from separated half reactions to predict the feasibility of reactions. Finally, we see how the electrochemical series gives us quantitative data which surpasses the qualitative reactivity series.
After working through this course you will be able to: