Home Chemistry Redox

Oxidation Reduction

chemical reaction

Oxidation and reduction reaction

Oxidation reduction reaction or Oxidizing and reducing agents are always found to go hand in hand during redox reactions. Whenever one element or molecule is oxidized, another element or molecule must be simultaneously reduced. Three concepts like combination and removal of oxygen or hydrogen, loss or gain of electrons, and increases or decreases of oxidation number of participation atoms or ions are used to define the oxidation and reduction process in a chemical reaction.

We know magnesium burns in oxygen to produce crystalline solid magnesium oxide. The same metal reacts with chlorine to produce magnesium chloride. In both chemical reactions, magnesium is considered to be oxidized and oxygen or chlorine is considered to be reduced. In this example, magnesium metal is the reducing agent, and oxygen or chlorine is the oxidizing agent.

What is oxidation in chemistry?

  • Oxidation has classically defined as the combination of oxygen or any other electronegative element with another element or the removal of hydrogen or electropositive element from chemical compounds.
  • According to the electronic concept, oxidation is a process that results in the loss of one or more electrons by participating atoms or ions.
  • According to the oxidation number concept, oxidation may be defined as a process where the oxidation number of participating atoms increases.

What is reduction in chemistry?

  • The reduction has classically defined as the combination of hydrogen or any other electropositive element with another element or the removal of oxygen or electronegative element from chemical compounds.
  • According to the electronic concept, the reduction is a process that results in the gain of one or more electrons by participating atoms or ions.
  • According to the oxidation number concept, reduction may be defined as a process where the oxidation number of participating atoms decreases.

What is oxidizing and reducing agent?

  • An oxidizing agent is one that gains electrons and reduces to lower a lower valence.
  • A reducing agent is one that loses electrons and oxidizes to a higher valence.

Oxidizing and reducing agents examples

In an acid medium, potassium permanganate oxidized iron (II) to iron (III) state. In this reaction, permanganate ion is an oxidizing agent, and iron (II) ion or ferrous ion is a reducing agent.

Oxidation and reduction reactions and common examples of oxidizing reducing agent in chemistry

The second example is related to the oxidation of potassium iodide by potassium dichromate in a dilute sulfuric acid medium. In this reaction, chromium ion changes their oxidation state or number from +6 to +3. Therefore, dichromate is an oxidizing agent. Similarly, iodine changes its oxidation state -1 to 0. Therefore, potassium iodide is a reducing agent.

Common oxidizing agents
Gaseous Liquid Solid
oxygen nitric acid pottasium permaganate
ozone sulfuric acid potassium dichromate
fluorine, chlorine hydrogen peroxide manganese dioxide
nitrogen dioxide liquid bromine iodine
Common reducing agents
Gaseous Liquid Solid
hydrogen nitrous acid carbon
sulfur dioxide hydrobromic acid sodium
hydrogen sulfide hydroiodic acid aluminum
carbon monoxide sulfurous acid stannous chloride

Electronic concept of oxidation and reduction

The electronic configuration of elements gives the quantitative relations between classical and electronic concept oxidation and reduction reaction. For example, the formation of crystalline solid magnesium oxide by an oxidation reduction reaction. Each magnesium atom loses two electrons to form a magnesium ion (cation). A neutral oxygen atom gains two electrons to form an oxygen ion (anion). These two ions closed packed magnesium oxide crystal lattice by chemical bonding.

Oxidation reduction reaction
2Mg + O2 → 2MgO
Oxidation Reduction
2Mg → 2Mg+2 + 4e O2 + 4e → 2O-2
2Mg+2 + 2O-2 → 2MgO

The above balancing chemical equation shows that oxidation and reduction going hand to hand with the formation of stable magnesium oxide.

Above reaction, magnesium lost two valence orbital electrons to form a stable noble gas electronic configuration. Similarly, oxygen has gained these two electrons to form a stable neon electronic configuration.

Oxidation reduction reaction example

Oxidation reduction reaction example

Oxidation number concept

Above reaction given in the picture oxidation number of zinc increases from 0 to +2. Therefore, it is called oxidation according to the definition. Similarly, the oxidation number of copper decreases from 0 to -2. Therefore, it is called reduction reaction according to the definition. Oxidation and reduction always go hand in hand during this redox reaction.

Electronic concept of oxidation and reduction

According to the electronic concept, the zinc atom loses two electrons to form a Zn+2 ion by the oxidation process. Copper atoms gain these two electrons to form Cu+2 ions by the reduction process.

Oxidation reaction examples

Combination of oxygen

All the hydrocarbon like methane, ethane, propane, etc readily burns in excess air or oxygen to form carbon dioxide and water. In controlled oxidation gives various products. For example, oxidation in the presence of boric acid produces a mixture of a secondary alcohol. An oxidizing agent such as potassium permanganate really oxidizes tertiary hydrogen atoms to form the hydroxyl group.

CH3-CH3 + 3[O] → 2CO2 + 3H2O
(CH3)3CH + [O] → (CH3)3COH

Combination of electronegative element

Group-17 elements in the periodic table stable on a negative oxidation state. The oxidation power of group-17 elements decreases from fluorine to iodine. Therefore, the electronegative element chlorine oxidizes the colorless FeCl2 solution to form red FeCl3.

2FeCl2 + Cl2 ⇆ 2FeCl3

Removal of hydrogen

When MnO2 heating with concentrated hydrochloric acid, it produces greenish-red chlorine gas. Hydrogen can be removed from hydrochloric acid to form chlorine gas.

4HCl + MnO2 ⇆ MnCl2 + Cl2 + H2O

Oxidation of hydrogen sulfide to sulfur in the presence of nitric acid. In this oxidation reduction reaction, hydrogen can remove from the hydrogen sulfide molecule.

H2S + 2HNO3 ⇆ S↓ + 2NO2 + 2H2O

Removal of electropositive elements

Hydrogen peroxide oxidizes hexacyanoferrate (II) to hexacyanoferrate (III) in presence of acid solution.

2[Fe(CN)6]4- + H2O2 +2H+ → 2[Fe(CN)6]4- + 2H2O

Example of reduction reaction

Addition of hydrogen

Alkenes are rapidly added hydrogen atom or hydrogenated under pressure in the presence of chemical catalyst like platinum or palladium surface in oxidation reduction reaction (C2H4 + H2 → C2H6). Reduction of monocarboxylic acid in organic chemistry. The reduction of monocarboxylic acid depends on the nature of reducing agents, heat, and catalyst used.

Monocarboxylic acid like acetic acid heating with hydrogen iodide and red phosphorus under pressure produced alkenes. It also heating with hydrogen under pressure at specific heat in the presence of nickel catalyst produces the same product. RCO2H + 3H2 → RCH3 + 2H2O.

Addition of electropositive elements

Hydrogen peroxide reduces hexacyanoferrate (III) to hexacyanoferrate (II) in the acidic solution.

2K3[Fe(CN)6] + 2KOH + H2O2 ⇆ 2K4[Fe(CN)6] + 2H2O + O2

In the above oxidation reduction reaction, potassium ferricyanide combines with the electro-positive element potassium to produce potassium ferrocyanide.

Removal of oxygen

When hydrogen passes through heated black color CuO, oxygen removes from CuO to form red copper.

CuO + H2 ⇆ Cu +H2O

Removal of electronegative elements

When SO2 passes through a red ferric sulfate solution, it turns into a greenish ferrous sulfate and sulfuric acid.

Fe2(SO4)3 + 2SO2 + H2O ⇆ 2FeSO4 + 2H2SO4

In the above reaction, electronegative sulfate removes from ferric sulfate and ferric sulfate is reduced to form ferrous sulfate in oxidation reduction or redox reaction.