# What are oxidation and reduction? How do they differ?

Apr 7, 2016

Oxidation is the loss of electrons or an increase in oxidation state. Reduction is the gain of electrons or a decrease in oxidation state.

#### Explanation:

Here is a basic example of a redox reaction.

$C O + {H}_{2} O$ ------> $C {O}_{2} + {H}_{2}$

In this equation, the carbon monoxide (CO) is oxidized and becomes carbon dioxide ($C {O}_{2}$). As the carbon is oxidized it changes from a +2 to a +4 oxidation state.

The water (${H}_{2} O$) is reduced and becomes hydrogen (${H}_{2}$). The hydrogen changes from a +1 oxidation state to an oxidation state of 0 in this process.

Here is a video which summarizes a different example of a redox reaction and shows a cool example of a reaction which precipitates silver.

Hope this helps!