How do you find an oxidizing agent?

Jun 25, 2017

An oxidizing agent is reduced by the oxidized ion.

Explanation:

For instance,

$P b \left(s\right) + {H}_{2} O \left(l\right) + {O}_{2} \left(g\right) \to P b {\left(O H\right)}_{2} \left(s\right) + {H}_{2} \left(g\right)$

I know, it's not balanced!

$P b$ has an oxidation state of 0, $H$ has one of +2 in water. After the reaction, lead is oxidized to a state of +2, losing electrons, while hydrogen turns into gas, gaining electrons and having a state of 0.

So, since $P b$ is oxidized, $H$ is the oxidizing agent. This comes about as a result of the fact that redox reactions only take place if both a reactant is reduced and a reactant is oxidized. One must do one to another.