What is a disproportionation reaction?

A disproportionation reaction is when an element is both oxidised and reduced in the same reaction. You check this by looking at the oxidation state of the element at the begining of the reaction and then what it is in the two products at the end; if the oxidation state has gone up (i.e it has lost electrons) it has been oxidised, and if the oxidation state has gone down (i.e it has gained electrons) it has been reduced. Remember OILRIG to help;

Oxidation Is Loss (of electrons) Reduction Is Gain (of electrons)

An example is the disproportionation of copper in the following reaction:

Cu2O (aq) +  H2SO4 (aq) --> Cu (s) + CuSO4 (aq) + H2O (l)

Here the copper goes from oxidation state +1 in Cu2O to oxidation state 0 in Cu and oxidation state +2 in CuSO4.

Mia V. GCSE Chemistry tutor, A Level Chemistry tutor, GCSE Maths tuto...

5 months ago

Answered by Mia, an A Level Chemistry tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


Jay L. A Level Art tutor, GCSE Art tutor, A Level Chemistry tutor, GC...
View profile
£20 /hr

Jay L.

Degree: Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics and Economics (MORSE) (Bachelors) - Warwick University

Subjects offered: Chemistry, Maths+ 4 more

Further Mathematics
-Personal Statements-

“Hi! I am currently a fresher at the University of Warwick, studying Maths, Operational Research, Statistics and Economics, or MORSE. I have always enjoyed the challenge of maths and would really like to help you experience joy and sa...”

Yasmin A. A Level Biology tutor, GCSE Biology tutor, A Level Chemistr...
View profile
£20 /hr

Yasmin A.

Degree: Medicine (Other) - University College London University

Subjects offered: Chemistry, Science+ 6 more

Human Biology
-Personal Statements-
-Medical School Preparation-

“Hello! I am a medical student at University College London.  All students have an individual learning style - this is why my teaching is tailored to you. With experience of tutoring students aged 6-19, I am confident in adapting my s...”

Parthik P. A Level Biology tutor, GCSE Biology tutor, A Level Chemist...
View profile
£20 /hr

Parthik P.

Degree: Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine (Bachelors) - Nottingham University

Subjects offered: Chemistry, Maths+ 2 more

Extended Project Qualification

“Hey! I am a Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine student at the University of Nottingham. I started tutoring at school when I was 13 and now have built up my skills to specialise inGCSE's and A Levels. I had volunteered abroad to Thail...”

About the author

Mia V. GCSE Chemistry tutor, A Level Chemistry tutor, GCSE Maths tuto...
View profile

Mia V.

Currently unavailable: for regular students

Degree: Chemistry (Masters) - Durham University

Subjects offered: Chemistry, Physics+ 1 more


“I am a Chemistry student at Durham University. I've always had a passion for learning new things, but most importantly helping others to learn new things too! I'm an open, patient individual who aims to put you at ease with your scien...”

You may also like...

Posts by Mia

A pendulum has a frequency of 0.80 Hz, calculate the periodic time of the pendulum.

Explain why fluorine and chlorine are in the same group of the periodic table.

Solve: 3(x - 2) = 21

What is a disproportionation reaction?

Other A Level Chemistry questions

What is a buffer solution? How to make a buffer solution?

What is an optical isomerism?

What is an isotope?

In terms of Electrostatic Forces, Suggest why the ‘Electron Affinity’ of Fluorine has a Negative value.

View A Level Chemistry tutors


We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss