Balance Redox Reaction: How to balance Redox Equation in Acidic or Alkaline Medium
Balancing Redox Equations via the Half-Equation Method is an integral part of understanding redox reactions.
We need the balanced equation to compare mole ratio in scenarios such as this redox reaction worked example.
It can be done via the following systematic steps.
1. Balance Redox Equation in Acidic Medium
Let's have this reaction as an example:
We can determine which species is oxidised and reduced by comparing the oxidation number:
- Oxidation state of manganese decreases from +7 to +4 hence MnO4- is reduced
- Oxidation state of iodine increases from -1 to 0 hence I- is oxidised
We can then write down the half equations for oxidation and reduction:
Next we need to balance each half equation.
For half equation in acidic medium, the steps are:
1. Balance elements oxidised or reduced
2. Balance oxygen using water
3. Balance hydrogen using H+
4. Balance charge using electron
So after applying these 4 steps for each half equation, we'll end up with these two balanced half equations:
Next we need to modify each half equation so that the number of electrons for both half equations are the same (lowest common multiple).
In this case the lowest common multiple is 6, so we need to multiply the reduction half equation by 2, and the oxidation half equation by 3.
We can then add the oxidation and reduction half equations together to get an overall redox equation in acidic medium.
2. Balance Redox Equation in Alkaline Medium
If we want to balance the redox reaction in alkaline medium, an additional step is required which is to add OH- to neutralise the H+.
From the balanced redox equation in acidic medium that we have done previously, there are 8H+ on the left hand side of the equation.
Therefore we need to add 8OH- on the left side to neutralise the 8H+, forming 8H2O.
We also need to add 8OH- on the right side to keep the equation balanced.
Usually there will be H2O on both sides of the equation to cancel out.
This will give us the overall balanced redox equation in alkaline medium:
Watch this video tutorial to learn how to balance a redox equation step-by-step!
Topic: Redox Titrations, Physical Chemistry, JC, H2, A Level Chemistry, Singapore
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