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oxidation-reduction reaction, likewise dubbed redox reaction, any chemical reactivity in which the oxidation variety of a participating chemical species alters. The term covers a big and also diverse body of processes. Many kind of oxidation-reduction reactions are as prevalent and familiar as fire, the rusting and dissolution of metals, the browning of fruit, and respiration and photosynthesis—basic life functions.

Major classifications

Many oxidation-reduction (redox) processes involve the transfer of oxygen atoms, hydrogen atoms, or electrons, with all 3 processes sharing 2 vital characteristics: (1) they are coupled—i.e., in any oxidation reactivity a reciprocal reduction occurs, and (2) they involve a characteristic net chemical change—i.e., an atom or electron goes from one unit of issue to another. Both reciprocity and net change are portrayed below in examples of the 3 many common kinds of oxidation-reduction reactions.


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Oxygen-atom transfer

Carbon reacts via mercury(II) oxide (a compound in which mercury has a bonding capacity expressed as +2; see below Oxidation-state change) to create carbon dioxide and also mercury metal. This reactivity have the right to be composed in equation form:


Carbon, receiving oxygen, is oxidized; mercury(II) oxide, shedding oxygen, undergoes the complementary reduction; and also the net change is the transfer of two oxygen atoms from mercury(II) oxide devices to a carbon atom.

Hydrogen-atom transfer

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


Hydrazine, shedding hydrogen, is oxidized to molecular nitrogen, while oxygen, gaining hydrogen, is decreased to water.

Electron transfer

Zinc metal and also copper(II) ion react in water solution, producing copper metal and also an aqueous (deprovided by aq) zinc ion according to the equation


With the transfer of two of its electrons, the zinc steel is oxidized, becoming an aqueous zinc ion, while the copper(II) ion, getting electrons, is diminished to copper metal. Net readjust is the transfer of 2 electrons, shed by zinc and also got by copper.

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Because of their complementary nature, the oxidation and reduction procedures together are referred to as redox reactions. The reactant that brings around the oxidation is dubbed the oxidizing agent, and that reagent is itself lessened by the reducing agent. In the examples offered 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.