What is Reduction Oxidation and What Are its Benefits? Info About Water Filtration in Scottsdale, AZ

May 2, 2019

An oxidation-reduction reaction, which can also be referred to as reduction oxidation, is a type of chemical reaction in which one or more electrons get transferred from one compound or molecule to another. The substance that loses the electrons is then oxidized and will usually be a reducing agent, while the species that gains the electrons is reduced, and is usually the oxidizing agent.

Some common examples of these reactions include respiration, combustion, corrosion and photosynthesis. These actions happen constantly in the cells of living things and during common chemical reactions. Let’s take a closer look at some examples.

Reduction Oxidation in Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis, as you likely learned in middle school science, is a type of chemical reaction that occurs in the green leaves of plants. In this reaction, carbon dioxide combines with water and reacts with light to form molecular oxygen and glucose. The plant then uses that glucose byproduct as fuel for its important metabolic processes.

The energy from sunlight reduces the hydrogen atoms and creates oxygen gas. Those atoms then reduce the carbon in the carbon dioxide. The general formula there, then, is water + carbon dioxide + light energy = carbohydrate + oxygen + water, or 6 CO2 + 6 H2O = C6H12O6 + 6 O2.

Reduction Oxidation in Respiration

Cellular respiration exists for living organisms to be able to liberate the energy that gets stored in glucose. This is essentially the final step in how these organisms draw energy from the food they eat. In this type of reaction, glucose is oxidized and oxygen is reduced. Whenever you see ta compound that has lost hydrogen atoms, that means it’s been oxidized, whereas if it’s gained those atoms it’s been reduced.

Reduction Oxidation in Corrosion

As you likely know, corrosion and rust that form on substances, such as iron, is a result of oxidation. So, for example, water that comes into contact with an iron object will result in some of the oxygen in the water oxidizing the iron, which results in free hydrogen ions. Those ions then combine with oxygen in the air to form water, and the process begins again, with increasing amounts of iron being more oxidized.

The longer this occurs, the more iron oxide is formed. That is the reddish-brown rust that you have likely come across before.

Reduction Oxidation in Combustion

You might not think of combustion as being a chemical reaction in a traditional way, but it definitely is. The combustion of fossil fuels, for example, as well as the burning of wood are both classic examples of reduction oxidation.

The carbon in the compound being burned forms a bond with oxygen atoms that exist in the air around the burned item, while some oxygen also bonds to the hydrogen in the compound itself. This means that the compound being burned gets oxidized and its oxygen reduced, while water vapor and carbon dioxide are emitted as byproducts.

For more information about reduction oxidation and its benefits, contact us today.

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