Oxidation And Reduction Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Oxidation And Reduction?
Oxidation and reduction are two key processes in chemistry that involve the transfer of electrons between chemical species. Oxidation is the loss of electrons by an atom, while reduction is the gain of electrons by an atom. These two processes, often referred to as redox, are at the heart of many chemical reactions and can be used to explain how certain compounds react with one another. Oxidation involves a loss of electrons from an atom or molecule, which results in a net positive charge for that species. This occurs when a more electronegative element steals away the electron from another species. Common examples include oxygen reacting with metals such as iron (Fe) to form rust (Fe2O3), or acetic acid reacting with ethanol to form ethyl acetate (CH3COOCH2CH3). In this example, oxygen is acting as the oxidizing agent and stealing away a pair of electrons from both iron and ethanol atoms. Reduction involves a gain of electrons by an atom or molecule, resulting in a net negative charge for that species. This occurs when a less electronegative element donates an electron to another species. Common examples include hydrogen gas reducing copper oxide (CuO) into metallic copper metal (Cu), or sodium reacting with water molecules to form sodium hydroxide (NaOH). In this example, hydrogen is acting as the reducing agent and donating its single electron to both copper oxide and water molecules. In short, oxidation and reduction are two distinct processes which involve the transfer of electrons between different elements or molecules in order to create new compounds or change existing ones. They are critical components for many chemical reactions in biology, industry and everyday life.