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Question

Chlorine is used to purify drinking water. Excess of chlorine is harmful. The excess of chlorine is removed by treating with sulphur dioxide. Present a balanced equation for this redox change taking place in water.

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Solution

The given redox reaction can be represented as:
Cl2(s)+SO2(aq)+H2O(l)Cl(aq)+SO24(aq)
The oxidation half reaction is:
+4SO22(aq)+6SO24(aq)
The oxidation number is balanced by adding two electrons as:
SO2(aq)SO24(aq)+2e
The charge is balanced by adding 4H+ ions as:
SO2(aq)+2H2O24(aq)+4H+(aq)+2e
The O atoms and H+ ions are balanced by adding 2H2O molecules as:
SO2(aq)+2H2O(l)SO24(aq)+2e (i)
The reduction half reaction is:
0Cl2(s)1Cl(aq)
The oxidation number is balanced by adding electrons
Cl2(s)+2e2Cl(aq) (ii)
The balanced chemical equation can be obtained by adding equation (i) and (ii) as:
Cl2(s)+SO2(aq)+2H2O(l)2Cl(aq)+SO24(aq)+4H+(aq)


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