Identifying Spectator Ions

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

2KMnO4 (aq) + 10FeSO4 + 8H2SO4 -->

K2SO4 (aq) + 2MnO4 (aq) + 5Fe2SO4 (aq) + 8H2O (aq)

2. Relevant equations

Spectator ions don't participate in the reaction.


3. The attempt at a solution

What gives? Is my professor bent on making our lives miserable? The answer for the above is: the spectator ions are K+ and SO4.

I understand spectator ions don't participate in the reaction... but what's so divinely different between K+ and SO4 that isn't happening in the other ions? There are two Sulfate ions in the productsby the way which adds to my confusion...
 

Borek

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First of all - write everything in dissociated form. It is not called "net ionic" for fun :wink:

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Here are the spectator ions:

2K+ + 2MnO4- + 10 Fe2+ + 10SO42-

yields:

2K+ + SO42- + 2MnO4 + 10Fe1+ + 5SO42- + 8H2O

Hmm. Interesting that I found the net ionic equation. The only ions I see that are the same are the K+ and SO42- ions. The manganate ion, 2MnO4- doesn't count because the product MnO4 is not an ion correct?

And same for the ion right? It's not a spectator ion because one is of +2 charge and the other of +1 charge?
 

Borek

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Where did you get the original equation from? I must admit I have not taken a closer look before, now that I did rest of the hair on my head rasied up.

But your analysis seems to be OK, only K+ and SO42- remain unchanged after the reaction.

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The original equation was pulled from an old exam of my undergrad chemistry professor. It was a little weird, so it was worth discussing.

Thank you for your analysis and general helpfulness Borek. This question was a bit weird!
 

Borek

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It was a little weird, so it was worth discussing.
To be honest I hate questions that are based on nonexisting chemistry, they only create confusion.

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