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First semester chem student and I am wondering about redox reactions. For example, when copper is oxidized by silver ions in the reaction: Cu + 2Ag+(aq)----->Cu2+(aq) + 2Ag(s) what is causing the copper to transfer 2 electrons (oxidize) to the silver ? At first I thought this was an ionic bond but learning that metals dont combine, that is not true. Does the transfer of electrons always imply a bond? If not, what causes this oxidation reaction, oxygen? And if so why isnt it written in the reaction itself? Fundamental I know, but I am trying to understand this.

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There is no bond between them. If you dip Cu wire in AgNO3 solution then silver just deposits on top of Cu. The standard explanation involves the "activity of metals" and the redox potentials. In a sense it is similar to a question "why reaction 2NaI + Br2 -> 2NaBr + I2 goes in forward direction, but not the other way around?"

Please read a chapter on redox potential. Please ask a new question if something remains unclear.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi @Sixtytrees Thanks so much for the answer! Weirdly I can't find anything further about redox potential in my book (chemistry the central science 13e.d Brown). It simply talks about redox reactions but nothing about the actual redox potential or the science that explains it in what factors affect the potential. Again im in 1st semester chemistry perhaps this is an advanced topic? Secondly, in my original question does the aqueous solution (specifically the oxygen) have play any role in redox reactions that causes the copper to transfer electrons to the silver. Thanks in advance! $\endgroup$ – Atticus283blink Jul 24 '16 at 3:13

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