Problem: Sodium reacts with water according to the reaction:2 Na(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 NaOH(aq) + H2(g)Identify the oxidizing agent.

FREE Expert Solution
  • Recall the mnemonic GEROA which means Gain Electrons is Reduction = Oxidizing Agent. This tells us that whichever gains electron/s will be considered as the OA
  • Analyze the reactants and product's oxidation number to find who gained electron (became more negative)
  • For the reactants:

Na(s) + H2O(l)

  • Na in Na (s) is 0,  recall that oxidation number of an element in its natural state is zero
  • H2O: H is +1 (H with nonmetal is considered +1) and O is -2 (O is usually -2 except in peroxides and superoxides)


  • For the products:

NaOH(aq) + H2(g)

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Problem Details

Sodium reacts with water according to the reaction:

2 Na(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 NaOH(aq) + H2(g)

Identify the oxidizing agent.

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