Disproportionation

Disproportionation

One and the same substance may act simultaneously as an oxidising agent and as a reducing agent with the result that a part of it gets oxidised to a higher state and rest of it is reduced to lower state of oxidation. Such a reaction, in which a substance undergoes simultaneous oxidation and reduction is called disproportionation and the substance is said to disproportionate.

Following are the some examples of disproportionation,

(1)            

(2)                

(3)  

(4)            

Tips & Tricks

1. If an element is in its highest possible oxidation state in a compound, it can act as an oxidising agent. for example, KMnO4, K2Cr2O7, HNO3, H2SO4, HClO4 etc.     
2. If an element is in its lowest oxidation state in a compound, it can act as a reducing agent. For example, H2S, H2C2O4, FeSO4, Na2S2O3, SO2, SnCl2, many metals etc. 
3. The strength of oxyacids of chlorine decrease in the order. HClO4 > HClO3 > HClO2 >HClO
4. If highly electronegative element is in its highest oxidation state in a compound that compound can act as powerful oxidant. For example, KClO4, KClO3, KBrO3, KIO3 etc.
5. If an element is in intermediate oxidation state in a compound, it can act as both oxidising & reducing agent. For example, H2O2, H2SO3, HNO3, SO2 etc.

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