Answer to Question #161559 in General Chemistry for mike

Question #161559

A student studying oxidation and reduction reactions, (Monique I think it was) is confused about the terms ‘oxidising agent’ and ‘oxidised’. Define these terms, giving examples to show your understanding of the difference.

Expert's answer


Oxidation- Loss of electrons, a gain of oxygen, loss of hydrogen.

Reduction- Gain of electrons, loss of oxygen, the gain of hydrogen.

If you'll notice, oxidation and reduction are opposites. When a compound is oxidized, another compound must be reduced. This is called a redox reaction. certain proteins called enzymes can facilitate redox reactions and are called oxidoreductases.

Oxidizing agents are compounds that facilitate oxidation reactions. They are themselves reduced. Examples: Chromic acid, oxygen, chlorine, Manganate oxides.

Reducing agents are compounds that facilitate reduction reactions. They have oxidized themselves. Examples: reactive metals, hydrogen, iron salts, carbon monoxide.

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