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I have a general question on how to differentiate between what's being reduced and what is being oxidized. So within a chemical equation, how can you tell what the oxidizing number is from the equation and then determine if it is being reduced or oxidized?
The oxidizing number is shown by the charge of each molecule involved in the reaction. For example: the charge of O is -2. Then, you look at which molecule has been reduced (gained electrons) and which has been oxidized (lost electrons) on the product side.
Generally you can tell the oxidation number of an element by its group. Ones toward the right side, the non-metals, will generally have negative oxidation numbers. Ones on the left, the alkali metals, will generally have positive oxidation numbers. The ones that tend to change around are the metals in the middle, whose oxidation numbers will frequently change and can be deduced through addition and the other atoms present in the molecule. For example, in MnO4 - , the Manganese oxidation number would be +7 because each oxygen can be assumed to have a -2 oxidation numebr
To add on, one of the ways I got through electrochemistry in high school was with this easy acronym: OIL RIG(Oxidation is Loss, Reduction is Gain). For some reason I have always remembered this, so I hope this helps!
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