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You would only add H2O to balance out the number of oxygen atoms in a reaction. Otherwise, to balance the number of hydrogen atoms in a redox reaction, you would add H+ ions to whichever side as needed. Then to balance the charges, you would add electrons as necessary. In this case, the reaction would be 4 P4 + 12 H+ + 12 e- ===> 4 PH3
Emily Glaser 1F wrote:For the reduction reaction of P4 --> 4PH3
Why do I not add an H2O on right side (the side that is reduced state) just like it did in all the previous problems
You don't need any more H's on that side in order to balance that equation! That's why you wouldn't need an H2O. :)
I was super confused about when to add OH- and H2O and H+ when I was balancing, but what I found helpful was the toolbox and the examples at the beginning of the chapter. The toolbox outlines the procedures for both acidic and basic solutions and there's an example for both a basic and acidic solution.
Kathleen Vidanes 1E wrote:I was confused about this, too. Wouldn't adding H+ ions indicate that the reaction is taking place in an acidic solution rather than a basic solution, though?
Yeah I was confused about this process too but all you need to do is balance with the H+ and then to make it so it takes place in a Basic solution you just add one OH- to both sides for every H+. Then you combine the OH- and H+ to form water and cancel out any extra H2Os.
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