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Homework Help: Oxidizing and Reducing Agents

  1. Feb 24, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Identify the oxidizing agent and the reducing agent.

    5Ag(s) + MnO4-(aq) + H+(aq) >>> 5Ag+(aq) + Mn2+(aq) + H2O(l)

    2. Relevant equations

    Increase of electrons is reduction caused by a reducing agent.

    Decrease of electrons is oxidation caused by an oxidizing agent.

    3. The attempt at a solution

    The answer has MnO4- as what is reduced and therefor the oxidizing agent, and of course 5Ag+(aq) as the reducing agent.

    I don't understand why the whole polyatomic ion is said to be reduced; it doesn't even exist on the other side of the equation. I totally understand why Ag(s) because it is clearly getting oxidized.

    To me, this is like asking when an ice cube is colder, before it melts or after it melts. It doesn't make sense because there is no ice cube after it melts.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2015 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    You're not being asked to identify or assign redox properties to the products. Just to identify which reactant is the oxidizing agent, and which the reducing agent. You've done that, with the one typo,
    and that's all you were asked to do. Don't overthink the simple problems.
  4. Feb 25, 2015 #3
    Thank-you, I forgot to look at the half reaction equation.
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