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Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:02 pm
Is there a difference between the oxidizing and reducing agent and the species that is oxidized and reduced? I'm confused between what I think is being oxidized/reduced.
Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:13 pm
The oxidizing agent of a reaction is the element that receives the electron(s) that are lost by the element that is being oxidized in the reaction. In other words, it is the element that is being reduced in the reaction. As for the reducing agent, it's the exact opposite. It is the element that gives up the electron(s) to the element that is being reduced in the reaction, therefore the reducing agent is the element that is being oxidized.
Hope this helps!
Re: Oxidation [ENDORSED]
Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:32 pm
To answer your question, there is a difference between oxidation and reduction as well as oxidizing agents and reducing agents.
Oxidation is where a substance loses electrons. For example, in the reaction : H2(g) + F2(g) --> 2HF(g) Hydrogen is oxidized because it goes from being H2 to 2H+. During this process, each hydrogen becomes H+ because it loses an electron and become oxidized. You can actually write this process out as a half reaction: H2(g) --> 2H+(g) +2e-.
Reduction is where a substance gains electrons. In the same reaction: H2(g) + F2(g) -->2HF(g)
Fluorine is reduced because it goes from being F2 to 2F-. Essentially, each fluorine gains an electron (hence the negative sign) from the oxygen and become reduced. We can write out the half reaction as: F2(g) +2e- --> 2F- (g).
Together the two half reactions make up the redox reaction, which is what we observe taking place. The confusing part for you right now may be for you to understand the difference between the reducing agent and the oxidizing agent.
It seems a bit counterintuitive, but the oxidizing agent is actually the substance that allows another molecule to get oxidized. In other words, it's the substance that is taking electrons. In the reaction above, our oxidizing agent is fluorine because it takes to electrons to become F-.
Likewise, the reducing agent is actually the substance that provides electrons so that another molecule can be reduced. Essentially, its the substance that loses electrons. In our scenario, hydrogen is our oxidizing agent because it loses two electrons which are then gained by fluorine.
Oxidation and Reduction can kinda be tricky to understand conceptually, but I hope my explanations have helped. I also encourage you to take a look at this diagram.
Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:11 pm
OIL RIG is a simple pneumonic device I use to remember the difference between Oxidation and Reduction. Oxidation Is Losing (OIL) and Reduction is Gaining (RIG). Oxidation loses electrons, and so the charge of an element increases. Reduction gains electrons, and this brings in more negative value, decreasing the oxidation state/charge of the element in a reaction.
Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 8:54 pm
Another trick that my high school teacher told us to use was LEO says GER. LEO stands for Loss of Electrons hence Oxidation and GER stands for Gain of Electrons hence Reduction.