10.2.1: Deduce a reactivity series based upon the chemical behaviour of a team of oxidising and reducing agents. Displacement reactions of steels and halogens (view 3.3.1) administer a good experimental illustration of retask. Standard electrode potentials or reduction potentials are not required.

Reactivity series

It is possible to organise a team of similar chemicals that undergo either oxidation or reduction according to their relative reactivity. Oxidation (and also reduction) is a competition for electrons. The oxidising species (agents) remove electrons from various other species and also deserve to pressure them to come to be reducing agents (releasers of electrons)

A excellent example of this competition for electrons is the behaviour of metals. Metals always react by losing electrons (oxidation) they are then reducing agents. However if a steels is in competition with metal ions the more reenergetic steel deserve to oblige the much less reenergetic steel (in the form of ions) to accept electrons. This is dubbed a displacement reaction.

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Zinc reacts via a solution containing copper ions. The zinc metal is even more reenergetic than copper metal and so it can pressure the copper steel ions to accept electrons and become steel atoms.

Zn(s) Zn2+(aq) + 2e
Cu2+(aq) + 2e Cu(s)

The zinc metal passes its electrons to the copper ions. We observe that the zinc develops a pink layer of coper on its surconfront and the blue copper ion solution fades in colour.

We say that the zinc disareas the copper ions from solution.

Experipsychological observations

If we observe that tright here is a reaction between a metal and one more metal ion in solution this tells us that the solid metal is more reenergetic than the steel of the dissolved metal ions.

Iron dislocations copper from a solution of copper II sulphate Copper dislocations silver from a solution of silver nitprice

Given this indevelopment we deserve to deduce that the the majority of reactive of the 3 steels is iron, complied with by copper, complied with by silver. This permits us to arvariety the metals right into a retask series based on these particular reactions

Reduction of steel oxides by metals

metal A + metal B oxide steel A oxide + metal B

When a steel A is heated via a steel B oxide tright here will certainly be a reaction if the cost-free metal A is more reactive than the metal B of the metal B oxide. This is because the steel B in the metal B oxide is in the develop of a steel ion - it has actually currently shed electrons.

There is a competition in between the steel ion (in the oxide) and the cost-free steel for the electrons. The more reenergetic of the two metals will win the competition. Consequently if tright here is a reactivity in between a steel and a metal oxide then this tells us that the totally free metal is even more reactive than the metal in the metal oxide.

Experimental observations

Magnesium reacts through zinc oxide:- Mg + CuO MgO + Cu Sodium reacts via magnesium oxide: 2Na + MgO Na2O + Mg Zinc reacts through copper oxide:- Zn + CuO ZnO + Cu

We can use this information to arselection the metals in order of reactivity

Sodium the majority of reactive
Copper least reactive

Sodium has actually the biggest electron releasing power (and also conversely the copper ions - Cu2+ - would certainly have the biggest electron attracting power)

Predictions from retask series

Once a retask series is created it have the right to be offered to predict reactions of pairs of reactant. For instance in the table over it need to be appreciated that magnesium will certainly react through copper oxide reducing it to copper steel.

Any metal that is even more reactive will certainly react with compounds of less reenergetic steels.

Reactivity series involving non-metals

Metals react by shedding electrons - they are reducing agents. Non-steels react by getting electrons - they are oxidising agents. In the same way that steels can be ordered in terms of reducing stamina, the non-metals deserve to be ordered in regards to their oxidising stamina. The halogens are a typical instance of a non-metal retask series.

Retask of the halogens

Fluorine most reactive
Iodine leastern reactive

Fluorine is so reenergetic that we cannot isolate it in the laboratory extremely quickly, as it reacts via both water and also glass. As an outcome we don"t typically attend to fluorine at pre-university level

yet compare just the other 3 (astatine is extremely rare and also radioactive)

Do not confuse this order of reactivity via that of the steels - these are non-metals, their reactivity is in regards to oxidising power - i.e. chlorine is the ideal oxidising agent out of chlorine, bromine and also iodine.

1. Chlorine will disarea bromine from services containing bromide ions

Cl2 + 2Br- Br2 + 2Cl-

In this reactivity the chlorine is oxidising the bromide ions by removing an electron from them. Bromine is liberated from the solution and also might be detected by its orange/red colour

2. Bromine will certainly dislocation iodine from remedies containing iodide ions

Br2 + 2I- I2 + 2Br-

In this reaction the bromine is oxidising the iodide ions by rerelocating an electron from them. Iodine is liberated from the solution and also might be detected by its orange/brvery own colour which turns blue/babsence in the existence of starch indicator.

It is predictable, then, that chlorine will also dislocation iodine from a solution containing iodide ions

10.2.2: Deduce the feasibility of a redox reactivity from a offered retask series.

Prediction of feasibility

Once a retask series is built depending upon the reduction or oxidation capacity of each species, we can use it to predict the feasibility (probability) of a reaction arising between any 2 pairs of reactants.

If among the substances is a reducing agent - i.e. it reacts by shedding electrons then this need to react with an oxidising agent - i.e. a types that gains electrons.



K K+ + 1e

ideal reducing agents (left hand side species)


Mg Mg2+ + 2e


Zn Zn2+ + 2e


Fe Fe2+ + 2e


Cu Cu2+ + 2e


H2 2H+ + 2e


2I- I2 + 2e


2Br- Br2 + 2e


2Cl- Cl2 + 2e

ideal oxidising agents (appropriate hand also side species)

Any species from the ideal hand also side of among the redox equilibria (the oxidising agent) deserve to be predicted to react via any kind of species above it on the left hand side of the redox equilibria (the reducing agent).

The species on the right hand also side of the equilibria will certainly get electrons to go to the right hand side. They deserve to only get these electrons create species that are abopve them on the left hand side of the series.

We deserve to therefore predict that chlorine (ideal hand side) will certainly react through copper (left hand also side) to form copper ions nad chloride ions according to the equation:

Cl2 + Cu Cu2+ + 2Cl-

Similarly, we can predict that iodide ions (left hand side) will NOT react via zinc ions (left hand also side) as the zinc ions are negative oxidising agents and the iodide ions negative reducing agents.

Note: although a reaction may be predicted as feasible it does not expect that it will certainly occur spontaneously. If the activation energy is high then it might need an extra "push" to gain it going. - for example the reactivity in between chlorine and hydrogen requirements a spark or ultraviolet light and then it is explosively quick.

10.2.3: Describe and describe exactly how a redox reaction is offered to produce power in a voltaic cell. Students have to be able to attract a diagram of a straightforward half-cell, and show exactly how 2 half-cells have the right to be linked by a salt bridge to create a entirety cell. Ideal examples of half-cells are Mg, Zn, Fe and Cu in options of their ions.

Electrical cells

As we have viewed specific species shed electrons (reducing agents) and various other species obtain electrons (oxidising agents) when reacting. If these species are not combined together yet associated electrically around an outside circuit then these electrons will circulation approximately the external circuit developing an electroic current.

Each of the reacting species is then dubbed a fifty percent cell and the whole put up is called an electrochemical cell. It is the basis behind the electric battery.

An electrochemical cell


In this cell the zinc steel has actually a tendency to disresolve as ions leaving itselectrons on the electrode. The copper, which is a weaker reducing agent, is required to accept the electrons and also usage then to rotate the copper ions right into copper at the copper electrode. As these electrons circulation roughly the outer (external) circuit they constitute an electrical current

The "salt bridge" is usually a filter paper soaked in potassium nitrate solution (neither of these ions react via any kind of other ions in the experiment). This "salt bridge" then allows ions to relocate in both directions equalising any build up of electrical charge in the beakers.

The zinc pressures the copper ions to accept electrons and also the overall cell equation can be created by including together the two "half equations" above.

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Zn(s) Zn2+(aq) + 2e
Cu2+(aq) + 2e Cu(s)
overall: Zn(s) + Cu2+(aq) Zn2+(aq) + Cu(s)

This form of cell have the right to be created using any pair of reducing and oxidising agents. The higher the difference in the reactivity of one type of species (i.e. the reducing species) the higher the cell potential (voltage)

Consequently a cell built from zinc | zinc sulphate in one fifty percent cell and also silver ! silver nitrate solution in the various other half cell will have actually a better voltage that the cell above (tbelow is a better difference in retask between zinc and also silver than in between zinc and copper)

Electrochemical cell - general

General cell construction


Copper - Iron cell


In this cell the iron is the even more effective reducing agent and will preferentially lose electrons. These electrons pressure the copper redox equation to go in the direction of receiving electrons (reduction) - i.e. the copper Cu2+ ions pick up electrons and also are deposited on the electrode as copper steel atoms

The iron | Fe2+ solution beaker is referred to as a half-cell and the copper | copper ions solution is said to be the other half-cell.