# In a combustion reaction, is carbon used to make reactants burn?

Aug 24, 2016

In a combustion reaction, a substance is oxidized; of course carbon can be oxidized, and the most usual oxidant is dioxygen gas, ${O}_{2}$.

#### Explanation:

So, in effect, oxygen gas is used to make the carbon burn:

$C \left(s\right) + {O}_{2} \left(g\right) \rightarrow C {O}_{2} \left(g\right)$

Zerovalent carbon, ${C}^{0}$ has been oxidized up to ${C}^{+ I V}$. Zerovalent dioxygen, has been reduced to carbon dioxide, ${O}^{- I I}$. The sum of the oxidation numbers equals the charge on the product, which is here $0$.

Aug 24, 2016