Potassium permanganate is an oxidant that may be used to oxidise a primary alcohol to a carboxylic acid. The two half-reactions involved in the oxidation of ethanol to ethanoic acid are
To balance the overall equation, each half-reaction must have the same number of electrons. Multiply (1) by 4 and (2) by 5, to get 20 electrons in each half-reaction.
Next, add the two half-reactions together
Finally, cancel out the like-species on both sides to give