Redox Equations and Cell Potentials
- In the oxidation process, a substance loses one or more electrons: "Loss of Electrons is Oxidation" (OIL)
- In the reduction process, a substance gains one or more electrons: "Reduction Is Gain" (RIG)
Each half cell has a characteristic ability to give or take electrons. This is called its cell potential. The voltage (or potential) of the whole cell depends on the half cell potentials.
Redox reactions always involve an oxidation half cell and a reduction half cell: the electrons produced by the oxidation have to be used by a simultaneous reduction and the electrons required by the reduction have to come from an oxidation.