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A "half reaction" is when you split up the redox reaction into the oxidation reaction and the reduction reaction. So, instead of the electrons being transferred from one atom/molecule to another, we can see just the way the electrons are changed in a single one of the reaction molecules.
Angela Wu-2H wrote:Anisha Chandra 1K wrote:An example of some half reactions would be:
Zn(s) --> Zn2+(aq)
Cu2+(aq) --> Cu (s)
So in these examples, which one is oxidizing and which one is reducing?
Since Zn is becoming more positive, it is being oxidized (losing electrons).
Since Cu2+ becomes more negative, it is being reduced (gaining electrons).
A half reaction is used when trying to balance a redox reaction for our purposes. One of the half reaction shows the oxidation, while the other demonstrates the reduction. This equations allow you to keep track of the electrons being transferred in order to balance the equation properly.
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