What is the oxidizing agent of f this chemical process? #Fe + Cu(NO_3)_2 → Fe(NO_3)_2 + Cu#

1 Answer
May 7, 2016

An oxidizing agent formally ACCEPTS electrons. Therefore, here, the agent is #Cu^(2+)#.


Oxidation involves the formal loss of electrons. Reduction involves the formal gain of electrons. Since matter (including electrons) is conserved in a chemical reaction, each oxidation is accompanied by a reduction, and each reduction by an oxidation.

In your equation, you have an electron-rich, elemental metal, i.e. #Fe#, and this acts as a reducing agent. On the other hand, you have a dicationic metal ion, #Cu^(2+)#, which is an electron sink. Since #Cu^(2+)# is reduced by accepting electrons; the oxidizing agent is this ion.