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Redox Reactions



Oxidation-reduction reactions, commonly known as redox reactions, are an important class of chemical reactions encountered in everyday processes. Redox reactions are at work all around us. Iron rusts, batteries produce electricity, and hydrocarbon fuels (such as wood, oil and coal) are burned to generate energy. Redox reactions are also found in living organisms, and indeed are indispensable for life. Organisms use them to generate most of their energy for living.

In order to understand how biochemical reactions are used to sustain life it is important to understand redox reactions. This review of redox reactions, a concept learned in general chemistry, is provided to bring you back up to speed before delving into the redox reactions found in biochemistry.

Learning objectives

  • Learn what redox reactions are and how to identify them.
  • Understand the definitions of oxidation and reduction.
  • Know how to break up redox reactions into their half reactions.
  • Learn how to calculate the redox potential of an oxidation-reduction reaction.
  • Understand the relationship between redox potential and Gibbs free energy.

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