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oxidation-reduction reaction, also called redox reaction, any kind of chemical reaction in which the oxidation number of a participating chemical species changes. The ax covers a huge and varied body of processes. Numerous oxidation-reduction reactions are as common and also familiar as fire, the rusting and also dissolution that metals, the browning the fruit, and respiration and also photosynthesis—basic life functions.

Major classifications

Most oxidation-reduction (redox) procedures involve the deliver of oxygen atoms, hydrogen atoms, or electrons, v all three procedures sharing two essential characteristics: (1) they are coupled—i.e., in any oxidation reaction a reciprocal reduction occurs, and (2) they involve a characteristic net chemical change—i.e., one atom or electron goes indigenous one unit of issue to another. Both reciprocity and also net readjust are illustrated below in examples of the three most common types of oxidation-reduction reactions.


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Oxygen-atom transfer

Carbon reacts v mercury(II) oxide (a compound in i m sorry mercury has actually a bonding capacity expressed together +2; see below Oxidation-state change) to create carbon dioxide and also mercury metal. This reaction have the right to be created in equation form:

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Carbon, receiving oxygen, is oxidized; mercury(II) oxide, losing oxygen, experience the security reduction; and the net adjust is the carry of two oxygen atom from mercury(II) oxide systems to a carbon atom.


Hydrogen-atom transfer

Hydrogen atoms are transferred from hydrazine, a compound of nitrogen and also hydrogen, come oxygen in the adhering to reaction:

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Hydrazine, losing hydrogen, is oxidized to molecule nitrogen, when oxygen, gaining hydrogen, is reduced to water.

Electron transfer

Zinc metal and copper(II) ion reaction in water solution, creating copper metal and an aqueous (denoted by aq) zinc ion according to the equation

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With the transport of two of that is electrons, the zinc steel is oxidized, coming to be an aqueous zinc ion, when the copper(II) ion, acquiring electrons, is lessened to copper metal. Net readjust is the transport of 2 electrons, lost by zinc and also acquired by copper.

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Because of your complementary nature, the oxidation and reduction procedures together are referred to as redox reactions. The reactant that brings around the oxidation is called the oxidizing agent, and also that reagent is itself lessened by the reducing agent. In the examples given above, mercury(II) oxide, oxygen, and also the copper(II) ion are oxidizing agents, and also carbon, hydrazine, and also zinc are the reducing agents.