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The standard cell potentials are written so that each compound is gaining electrons (aka cathode reaction) so if we want the equation where electrons are actually being lost, you have to reverse that standard cell potential value.
Because all cell potentials are given in the reduction form and since the anode is being oxidized you switch the equation around so it represents that. Then when. calculated Ecell you can either do Ecathode-Eanode. or Ereduction+Eoxidation but you have to reverse the sign of the oxidation one
The anode reaction is always reversed because usually when you look at the table, you get the reduction reaction the standard reduction potential. Since the anode is where oxidation occurs, you want the oxidation reaction. Therefore you would flip the reduction reaction to get the oxidation reaction, which means you would also make flip the sign of the standard reduction potential to get the standard oxidation potential.
ursulavictorino1K wrote:If they are always given as recutions, How do you know which to flip to an oxidizer?
If they give you the cell potentials of each reaction, the reaction with the lower cell potential is the one that is oxidized so it will be flipped
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