Your reactants are a hydrocarbon and oxygen. Your products are carbon dioxide and water. What type of reaction do you have?

1 Answer
Feb 28, 2016

Answer:

A combustion reaction, which is (i) a special case of redox reactions, and (ii) which drives our industrial society.

Explanation:

We can give the general combustion reaction for an alkane as:

#C_nH_(2n+2) + (3n+1)/2O_2 rarr nCO_2 + (n+1)H_2O + Delta#

Is this balanced? If it's not, it should be!

Carbon is oxidized up to its maximum oxidation state #+IV# (from FORMAL oxidation states of #-III# and #-II# in the alkane); zerovalent oxygen gas is reduced to a #-II# oxidation state. These reactions are strongly exothermic in that while we break STRONG #C-H# and #O=O# bonds, we make STRONGER #C=O# and #O-H# bonds, with a net release of energy.

The reaction represents complete combustion in that all of the carbon reactant is oxidized to #C(IV)#. Under conditions of incomplete combustion (for instance in the internal combustion reaction or a furnace) SOME of the hydrocarbon could be oxidized to #C-=O# or particulate #C#.