How does oxidation differ from reduction?

1 Answer
Aug 1, 2016

Answer:

OXIDATION is the LOSS OF ELECTRONS or an increase in oxidation state by a molecule,atom or ion while REDUCTION is the GAIN OF ELECTRONS or a decrease in oxidation state by a molecule,atom or ion.

Explanation:

For example, in the extraction of iron from its ore:

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An oxidising agent gives away oxygen to another substance. In the above example, the iron(III) oxide is the oxidising agent.

A reducing agent removes oxygen from another substance, it takes in oxygen. In the equation, the carbon monoxide is the reducing agent.

Because both reduction and oxidation are going on at the same time. This is known as a redox reaction.

OXIDATION AND REDUCTION IN TERMS OF ELECTRON TRANSFER

Oxidation is loss of electrons.

Reduction is gain of electrons.

It is essential that you remember these definitions. As long as you remember that you are talking about ELECTRON TRANSFER:

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Example

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This is very confusing if you try to learn both what oxidation and reduction definitions in terms of electron transfer and also learn definitions of oxidising and reducing agents at the same time.

JUST REMEMBER:

OXIDATION IS LOSS OF ELECTRON AND GAIN OF OXYGEN.
THE REDUCING AGENT REMOVES OXYGEN FROM ANOTHER SUBSTANCE AND GAINS OXYGEN.

REDUCTION IS GAIN OF ELECTRON AND LOSS OF OXYGEN.
THE OXIDISING AGENT REDUCES OXYGEN BY GIVING IT AWAY TO ANOTHER SUBSTANCE.