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Reaction Types in Grade 11 discussed oxidation , reduction and redox reactions . Oxidation involves a loss of electrons and reduction involves a gain of electrons . A redox reaction is a reaction where both oxidation and reduction take place. What is common to all of these processes is that they involve a transfer of electrons and a change in the oxidation state of the elements that are involved.

Oxidation and reduction

  1. Define the terms oxidation and reduction .
  2. In each of the following reactions say whether the iron in the reactants is oxidised or reduced.
    1. F e F e 2 + + 2 e -
    2. F e 3 + + e - F e 2 +
    3. F e 2 O 3 + 3 C O 2 F e + 3 C O 2
    4. F e 2 + F e 3 + + e -
    5. F e 2 O 3 + 2 A l A l 2 O 3 + 2 F e
  3. In each of the following equations, say which elements in the reactants are oxidised and which are reduced.
    1. C u O ( s ) + H 2 ( g ) C u ( s ) + H 2 O ( g )
    2. 2 N O ( g ) + 2 C O ( g ) N 2 ( g ) + 2 C O 2 ( g )
    3. M g ( s ) + F e S O 4 ( a q ) M g S O 4 ( a q ) + F e ( s )
    4. Z n ( s ) + 2 A g N O 3 ( a q ) 2 A g + Z n ( N O 3 ) 2 ( a q )
  4. Which one of the substances listed below acts as the oxidising agent in the following reaction? 3 S O 2 + C r 2 O 7 2 - + 2 H + 3 S O 4 2 - + 2 C r 3 + + H 2 O
    1. H +
    2. Cr 3 +
    3. SO 2
    4. Cr 2 O 7 2 -

In Grade 11, an experiment was carried out to see what happened when zinc granules are added to a solution of copper(II) sulphate. In the experiment, the Cu 2 + ions from the copper(II) sulphate solution were reduced to copper metal, which was then deposited in a layer on the zinc granules. The zinc atoms were oxidised to form Zn 2 + ions in the solution. The half reactions are as follows:

C u 2 + ( a q ) + 2 e - C u ( s ) (reduction half reaction)

Z n ( s ) Z n 2 + ( a q ) + 2 e - (oxidation half reaction)

The overall redox reaction is:

C u 2 + ( a q ) + Z n C u ( s ) + Z n 2 + ( a q )

There was an increase in the temperature of the reaction when you carried out this experiment. Is it possible that this heat energy could be converted into electrical energy? In other words, can we use a chemical reaction where there is an exchange of electrons, to produce electricity? And if this is possible, what would happen if an electrical current was supplied to cause some type of chemical reaction to take place?

An electrochemical reaction is a chemical reaction that produces a voltage , and therefore a flow of electrical current. An electrochemical reaction can also be the reverse of this process, in other words if an electrical current causes a chemical reaction to take place.

Electrochemical reaction

If a chemical reaction is caused by an external voltage, or if a voltage is caused by a chemical reaction, it is an electrochemical reaction.

Electrochemistry is the branch of chemistry that studies these electrochemical reactions. In this chapter, we will be looking more closely at different types of electrochemical reactions, and how these can be used in different ways.

The galvanic cell

Experiment : electrochemical reactions


To investigate the reactions that take place in a zinc-copper cell


zinc plate, copper plate, measuring balance, zinc sulphate (ZnSO 4 ) solution (1 mol.dm - 3 ), copper sulphate (CuSO 4 ) solution (1 mol.dm - 3 ), two 250 ml beakers, U-tube, Na 2 SO 4 solution, cotton wool, ammeter, connecting wire.


  1. Measure the mass of the copper and zinc plates and record your findings.
  2. Pour about 200 ml of the zinc sulphate solution into a beaker and put the zinc plate into it.
  3. Pour about 200 ml of the copper sulphate solution into the second beaker and place the copper plate into it.
  4. Fill the U-tube with the Na 2 SO 4 solution and seal the ends of the tubes with the cotton wool. This will stop the solution from flowing out when the U-tube is turned upside down.
  5. Connect the zinc and copper plates to the ammeter and observe whether the ammeter records a reading.
  6. Place the U-tube so that one end is in the copper sulphate solution and the other end is in the zinc sulphate solution. Is there a reading on the ammeter? In which direction is the current flowing?
  7. Take the ammeter away and connect the copper and zinc plates to each other directly using copper wire. Leave to stand for about one day.
  8. After a day, remove the two plates and rinse them first with distilled water, then with alcohol and finally with ether. Dry the plates using a hair dryer.
  9. Weigh the zinc and copper plates and record their mass. Has the mass of the plates changed from the original measurements?

Questions & Answers

are UV rays dangerous?
Khathutshelo Reply
what's this?
i hv a problem with this chapter because i also have problem with Newton's laws of motion
Kearabetswe Reply
what is the wave model of atom ?
Trazy Reply
Can you state the Doppler effect in words
Nombuyiselo Reply
State Coulomb's law in words
the magnitude of the electrostatic force exerted point on each other is directly proportional to the product on magnitude of charges and inversely proportional to the square distance between them
Newton's first law of motion
Nnuso Reply
When an object is at rest or traveling at a constant velocity it will remain at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it.
yes that's true
Always know Newton's second law of motion. It appears to be in every question paper
Is the normal force always 0
Mpilo Reply
no. newtons 3rd law states that if something exerts a force into something else it will experience that same magnitude of force but in the opposite direction. so the net force is equal to the force the object applies to the surface but in the opposite direction
define the term rate of reaction in word
David Reply
I think it a chemical process in which substance act mutually on each other.
how many bones are in the human body?
it's the rate at which the reactants are able to change to products
what is wave lengh
mama Reply
is the de broglie wavelength of the particle
calcium and magnesium, which one can displace aluminum from its compound?
Markia Reply
how is aluminum ion formed?
a substance that has the lower electronegativity which will be in this case the Ca -1.0 this is because the Ca would have a lower ionization energy -needs less energy to fill its outer most shell and therefore will cause a displacement of the Al
an Al ion would form when it has lost electrons and will normally be a cation -positively charged (3+)
molecules with the same molecular formula but different chain
Malaza Reply
what will be the answer
chain isomer
what is structural isomer?
Hey if you define an isomer it will come as an organic molecule with the same number of atoms,same molecule formula ,same molecular mass but different STRUCTURAL FORMULA so what we have is only the chain ,positional and functionally isomer.Never heard of STRUCTURAL isomer
what does the newton's law says?
there are 3 newtons laws which are newton's law of universal gravitation, law of cooling, law of motion
Did the feather or leaf hit the ground first?
Shaloom Reply
both at the same time. air friction ignored
2 to 30 minut long distance race 20 km what's the avarage speed for the race
Jamilla Reply
what is meaning of covalent bonds
Lungani Reply
bonds that exists between non metal atoms. each atom contribute electron(s) which will form a bond joining the two atoms. electrons in the bond now belongs to both atoms
how do we name haloalkanes
Thobeka Reply
how do we name haloalkanes
what are examples of haloalkanes
haloalkanes are compounds that consist of the halogen group chlorine bromine flourine and so on like 2-bromobutan

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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 12 physical science. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11244/1.2
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