What is an oxidation reaction?

1 Answer
May 31, 2014

Very basically, an oxidation reaction is one which involves the loss of electrons.

Use this mnemonic to remember the difference between oxidation and reduction reactions: OIL RIG

Oxidation Is Loss
Reduction Is Gain

Here is an example of an oxidation reaction

#Mg -> Mg^(2+) + 2e^(-)#

In this reaction, the magnesium has lost two electrons - this is, thus, an oxidation reaction. Notice how it is different if the reverse reaction was to take place:

#Mg^(2+) + 2e^(-) -> Mg#

In this reaction, magnesium has gained two electrons - this is, thus, a reduction reaction.