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Solution: Alkanes spontaneously burst into flame in the presence of el...

Question

Alkanes spontaneously burst into flame in the presence of elemental fluorine. The reaction that takes place between pentane and F2 gives CF4 and HF as the only products.  

(b) Is carbon oxidized, reduced, or does it undergo no change in oxidation state in this reaction? 

Video Transcript

Hey everyone. In this question we're going to be looking at now our carbon. So, how is our carbon and our reacting and our carbon in our product. Now, what we need to do is we need to determine if that carbon with oxidized reduced or neither, right? So, in order to determine this we're going to simply understand what oxidized is talking about, oxidize, remember, what that means is that we're losing electrons, okay? And reduce, what that means is we're gaining electrons, okay? So, here we see our carbon and it's connected to just hydrogens, right? So this hydrogen more electronegative or less electronegative? less, okay? And then now carbons connected to four different fluorine atoms. Now, we know that that's going to be one of our halogens, is definitely going to be more electronegative than our carbon, so let's think about it, do you think it's going to be oxidized, is it going to be losing electrons by being connected to an atom more electronegative? or you think it's going to gain electrons? Well, now it's going to have a loose dipole, so the electrons are very concentrated on fluorine, so that means we're going to be losing electrons. So, our carbon is actually going to become oxidized and you can remember that by just thinking we have carbon bonded to an atom that's less electronegative and then the product is bonded to an atom that's more electronegative that means that that atom, that carbon, was oxidized in the process. Alright, so I hope this makes sense, let me know if you have any questions about what we just did.