Redox vs Electronegativity (Zn and Cu)

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Natthe 10th May 2018 at 5:47 pm.

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    Natthe
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    I’m trying to predict from the periodic table what will be reducing vs oxidizing for any given reaction (in this case between Zn and Cu.)

      
    If Zn is more electronegative than Cu (according to the periodic table electronegativity trend)  then Zn should want the electrons more than Cu correct?  So why does Cu gain the electrons from Zn?  Shouldn’t the opposite happen?  

    I want to look at the species involved and predict from first principles what should happen.  If I have to refer to a list of half reaction potentials, that’s not really reasoning through the problem conceptually, it’s just following orders.  Anyone know how to think about this problem?  Every resource I see simply asserts Zn gives electrons to Cu as a given, but why?  What principles and in what order do we use to predict such a reaction?  Would considering electron configuration and orbitals come into play?
    Any help thanks!

    Zn(s) -> Zn2+(aq) + 2e-

    Cu2+(aq) + 2e- -> Cu(s)

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