Rita Chen 1B wrote:Is the only difference between balancing basic and acidic reactions whether you add H+ or OH?
Also, do you guys have any tips for balancing?
From what I understand, that is the most important difference between the two!
I spoke with Matthew Tran, a UA, regarding balancing tips. I thought his most useful advice was to treat basic solutions the same way you do acidic solutions. I find it fairly simple to balance in acidic solutions using H2O and H+, as H+ is a single atom. For example, given the half reaction ClO- -> Cl-, you would add water so that ClO- -> Cl- + H2O (balances oxygens). Then you would add H+ so that 2H+ + ClO- -> Cl- + H2O (balances hydrogens). Now, given that the charge of the left is +1 and the right is -1, you would add 2 electrons to the left to balance the charges. Your final answer is 2e- + 2H+ + ClO- -> Cl- + H2O.
However, if this was a basic solution H+ would not be present. You can take the same equation (without the electrons) 2H+ + ClO- -> Cl- + H2O. Then, you can add OH- to both sides. OH- combines with H+ to form water, H2O, so you would want to add 2 OH- on both sides. After doing so, you should get 2H2O + ClO- -> Cl- + H2O + 2OH-. The charge is -1 on the left and -3 on the right, so you would balance it as 2e- + 2H2O + ClO- -> Cl- + H2O + 2OH-. I hope I explained this alright! I pulled my example from this site, and they have some other problems you can practice with: https://www.chemteam.info/Redox/Balance-Redox-Base.html
. I hope this helps! :)