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Department of Chemistry
CMH 1103 Laboratory Exercise#6-Redox Reactions


Date and time: Place and Conditions:

An oxidation-reduction (redox) reaction is a type of chemical reaction that involves a transfer of
electrons between two species. An oxidation-reduction reaction is any chemical reaction in which
the oxidation number of a molecule, atom, or ion change by gaining or losing an electron. An atom
is oxidized if its oxidation number increases, the reducing agent, and an atom is reduced if its
oxidation number decreases, the oxidizing agent. The atom that is oxidized is the reducing agent,
and the atom that is reduced is the oxidizing agent. (Petrucci, 2007)
The thermite reaction is defined as an exothermic reaction which involves a metal reacting with a
metallic or a nonmetallic oxide to form a more stable oxide and the corresponding metal or
nonmetal of the reactant oxide. Thermite process is very useful for the welding of broken metal
parts. When Aluminum powder reacts with iron oxide, a large amount of heat is released and about
a temperature of 3500 degrees Celsius is attained which is enough to weld broken metallic parts.
An example of a thermite equation: Fe2O3 (S) + 2 Al (S) 2 Fe (s) + Al2O3 (S) + 850kJ/mol
The role of the barium peroxide and the magnesium ribbon is to pre ignite the reaction or in other
word to provide an activation energy (heat) for the reaction to occur. (chung, 2010)

 Avoid the inhalation and ingestion of barium peroxide dust which can be harmful.
 Powdered aluminum and magnesium can burn vigorously if blown into flames.
 Water should not be used to extinguish the reaction, since addition of water to hot iron
produces potentially explosive hydrogen gas.
 Only prepare the ignition mixture when ready to use.

 Magnesium ribbon
 Aluminum powder
 Barium peroxide
 Finely powdered iron (III) oxide
 Pyrex Container
1. Prepare the termite mixture (finely powdered iron (III) oxide and aluminum mixed in
equimolar quantities).
2. Add the ignition mixture (magnesium and barium peroxide) to the termite mixture and take
cover from about 6ft from the reaction.
3. After the reaction is over, retrieve the iron (will still be red hot) with tongs.
(B.Shakhashiri, 1970)



1.B.Shakhashiri. (1970). Chemical demonstration: A handbook for teacher of chemistry. Wisconsin: The
University of Wisconsin Press.

2. chung, m. (2010). encyclopedia of material: science anf technology. leicester: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

3. Petrucci. (2007). General chemistry: principle and ,odern applications. (9th, Ed.) Upper Saddle River,
New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall.