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In a galvanic cell, is oxidation at the anode always on the left and reduction at the cathode always on the right? How do you determine which half reaction is the oxidation reaction and which reaction is the reduction reaction?
Oxidation will be at the anode and reduction at the cathode. The sides could be switched but typically we keep anodes on the left and cathodes on the right. When there is a gain of electrons or the oxidation number decreases then it is reduction. When there is a loss of electrons or an increase in oxidation number, it is oxidation.
Yeah, I think my TA said that the anode should be on the left and the cathode should be on the right. To tell what's being oxidized and reduced I like to write out the skeletal equation and then just work out the half reactions from there.
One easy way that I remember that the oxidation will be at the anode and reduction at the cathode is through Ox-An (for oxidation-anode). That helped me remember it because it reminded me of the Roxanne song since it sounds like the name. Kinda silly but useful.
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