The Reactivity Series
What are Ionic Equations?
The displacement reactions can be written as
In the example using iron and copper(II) sulfate (previous page)
copper(II) sulfate iron sulfate + copper.
Fe(s) + CuSO4(aq) FeSO4(aq) + Cu(s)
sulfate and iron sulfate are
When they are dissolved in water
the ions become separated by the water molecules.
If we write the equation showing the ions we have
Fe(s) + Cu2+(aq) + SO42-(aq) Fe2+(aq) + SO42-(aq) + Cu(s)
In going from reactants to products
iron metal - Fe(s) has become iron ions - Fe2+(aq)
copper ions - Cu2+(aq) have become copper metal - Cu(s)
sulfate ions - SO42-(aq) are not changed during the reaction.
Sulfate ions are the same on the left and the right
side of the arrow. Ions which do not change
during the reaction are called spectator ions.
Spectator ions can be left out of the equation, giving
Fe(s) + Cu2+(aq) Fe2+(aq) + Cu(s)
This is the ionic equation
for the reaction between iron and copper(II) sulfate.
Iron is oxidised and copper is reduced.
Similarly, the reaction
between tin and lead chloride may be written as
Sn(s) + Pb2+(aq) Sn2+(aq) + Pb(s)
Tin is oxidised and lead is reduced.
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