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Problem: Classify each of the following as a redox reaction or a non-redox reaction. 2CO + O2 → 2CO2 SO3 + H2O →H2SO4 Zn + CuCl2 → ZnCl2 + Cu HCl + NaOH → H2O + NaCl

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To classify each of the following as a redox reaction or a non-redox reaction:


For Redox reactions, oxidation and reduction both occur in a reaction:


Recall the mnemonics LEO GER.

Lose               Gain

Electron         Electrons

Oxidation       Reduction


Step 1: Determine oxidation state:


2CO + O2 → 2CO2

  • O.S. of O = -2 (CO, CO2 are not peroxides)
  • O.S. of O in O20 (natural state/elemental form)
  • neutral compound → sum of O.S. = 0 
  • For CO:
    • O.S. of C + O.S. of O = 0
    • O.S. of C + -2 = 0
    • O.S. of C = +2
  • For CO2
    • O.S. of C +2( O.S. of O) = 0
    • O.S. of C + 2(-2) = 0
    • O.S. of C = +4

Step 2: Changes in O.S.:


C:        +4  +4         increased/lost electrons oxidation

O:         –2           decreased/gained electrons reduction

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Problem Details

Classify each of the following as a redox reaction or a non-redox reaction. 

2CO + O2 → 2CO2 

SO3 + H2O →H2SO4 

Zn + CuCl2 → ZnCl2 + Cu 

HCl + NaOH → H2O + NaCl

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