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How to decide which one is getting oxidized/reduced

Discussion in 'MCAT Study Question Q&A' started by Sammy1024, May 16, 2014.

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  1. Sammy1024

    Sammy1024

    701
    58
    Dec 12, 2013
    If you're given a question where it just lists stuff like Cu2+ Cu Zn2+ Zn and then asks you to write out the equation where it'll be like

    Zn2+ + Cu -> Zn + Cu2+

    How do you decide if the Zinc should be charged first and goes to being 0 charge or the Copper?

    And then as a side note, e- go anode to cathode and so that's no matter what right? Doesn't matter if it's galvanic or electrochemical cell?
     
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  3. Teleologist

    Teleologist 2+ Year Member

    614
    158
    Jul 7, 2013
    on your 6
    Well opposites attract so what do you think?
     
  4. SuperSneaky24

    SuperSneaky24

    89
    61
    Nov 27, 2013
    I believe if you're just given those elements/ions without a table of electric potentials, then it's going to be difficult.

    And yup you're correct. Reduction always occurs at the cathode, while oxidation always occurs at the anode. The anodes/cathodes are simply switch sides between galvanic and electrolytic cells. That means electrons always go from the site of oxidation to the site of reduction, and thus go from anode to cathode always.
     

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