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Oxidation and Reduction

Oxidation and Reduction - The earliest view of oxidation and reduction is that of adding oxygen to form an oxide (oxidation) or removing oxygen (reduction). They always occur together. For example, in the burning of hydrogen the hydrogen is oxidized and the oxygen is reduced. The combination of nitrogen and oxygen which occurs at high temperatures follows the same pattern.


Modern Concept of Oxidation and Reduction – Also called Redox


Redox (reduction-oxidation) reactions include all chemical reactions in which atoms have their oxidation state changed. This can be either a simple redox process, such as the oxidation of carbon to yield carbon dioxide (CO2) or the reduction of carbon by hydrogen to yield methane (CH4), or a complex process such as the oxidation of glucose (C6H12O6) in the human body through a series of complex electron transfer processes.

Fundamentally, redox reactions are a family of reactions that are concerned with the transfer of electrons between species. The term comes from the two concepts of reduction and oxidation.

It can be explained in simple terms:

•    Oxidation is the loss of electrons or an increase in oxidation state by a molecule, atom, or ion.
•    Reduction is the gain of electrons or a decrease in oxidation state by a molecule, atom, or ion.

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