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Topic: Difference between reduction potential and electronegativity  (Read 17822 times)

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Offline Munfred

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Difference between reduction potential and electronegativity
« on: April 15, 2008, 10:46:54 AM »
Hello there

I'm quite puzzled with the concepts of  reduction potential and electronegativity. Some books and other sources will define them in the same way: the tendency and atom has of gaining or losing electons. However, although they're similar, they're different things, not always you can apply the concept of electronegativity to reduction potential, not to mention that reduction potential is measured in vols and electronegativity has no unit!

Well if anyone could clarify this, I'd be very grateful. Also, I've been wondering if the electronegativity is the only thing that affects the reactivity (or stability) of an atom.

Thanks!

PS: I'm new to the forums, and also I am BR, so please excuse any english mistake

Offline Kyle1990

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Re: Difference between reduction potential and electronegativity
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2008, 02:57:03 PM »
"Standard reduction potential (also known as redox potential, oxidation / reduction potential or ORP) is the tendency of a chemical species to acquire electrons and thereby be reduced."

"Electronegativity is a chemical property that describes the ability of an atom to attract electrons towards itself in a covalent bond."

These are the technical definitions. Notice how they're related. If you refer to a chart of standard reduction potentials, you will notice that fluorine has the highest standard reduction potential (2.87v F2 +2e-  ----> 2F-) and recall that fluorine also has the highest electronegativity value (4.0). This is a simple example to show how the two are related.
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Offline Borek

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Re: Difference between reduction potential and electronegativity
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2008, 04:50:20 PM »
they're different things, not always you can apply the concept of electronegativity to reduction potential

That's the most important part of the picture. When it comes to simple redox reactions (like Na -> Na+ + e- or F2 + 2e- -> 2F- electronegativity is somehow correlated with redox potential. However, when it comes to more complex reactions, or when it comes to reactions that don't deal with the pure element (like Fe2+ -> Fe3+ + e- - no Fe(0) present) it is best to forget about electronegativity and to treat both things completely separately.
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