How to Balance Redox Equations in Basic Solution

Published on June 29, 2015 by

We'll go step by step through how to balance an oxidation reduction (redox) reaction in basic solution. The process is similar to balance an oxidation reduction equation in acidic solution. Most importantly, both charges and atoms must balance. Here are the steps: first, calculate oxidations numbers for all the elements in the equation. Next, figure out what is being oxidized and what is being reduced. Then, write half reactions for the oxidation and reduction. After that, balance each half reaction: first, for the atoms other than O and H, then for O and H, and finally for charge by adding electrons. After being balanced, the oxidation and reduction half reactions are ready to be added back to together. Make sure that the number of electrons is the same in the oxidation and reduction half reactions. If they are not, multiply one or both of the half reactions to make the number of electrons the same. Then, combine the oxidation and reduction half reaction, canceling out stuff that appears on both sides of the equation. To get rid of the H+ ions, add OH- (hydroxide) ions to both side. Then combine the H+ and OH- to make water, H2O. Finally, subtract out any H2O molecules you can from both sides of the equations. Lastly, do a final check to make sure that everything balances: both atoms and charge.

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