Oxidation – Definition, Process & Examples

Oxidation Definition

During the reaction by the oxidizing molecule, atom or ion, the electrons are damaged.

Oxidation occurs when the oxidation status of molecule, atom or ion increases. The opposite process is called deficiency, which occurs when the electrons benefit or the oxidation status of the atom, molecule or ion decreases.

If you are a fan of oxygen-based cleaners, or are grateful for the sterilization powers of hydrogen peroxide, then you have oxidation to thank you. On the other hand, if you ever have to deal with a wild car or have to toss the fruit of brown, then you have oxidizing defects. Oxidation can be a smooth process or it can be started artificially. Sometimes it is helpful, and sometimes it is very destructive.

At its most basic level, oxidation is the loss of electrons. This happens when the atom or compounds lose one or more electrons. Some elements lose electrons more easily than others. These elements are easily called oxidation. Generally, metals including sodium, magnesium and iron are easily oxidized.

Elements that are more reluctant to lose electrons are not easily oxidized; They hold tightly on their electrons. Nonmetals including nitrogen, oxygen, and chlorine are not easily oxidized.

An example of the reaction is to create hydrofluoric acid between hydrogen and fluorine gas:

H2 + F2 → 2 HF

In this reaction, hydrogen is oxidized and fluorine is being reduced. The reaction can be considered better if it is written in the context of two half reactions.

H2 → 2H + 2E-

F2 + 2E- → 2F-

Note that there is no oxygen anywhere in this reaction!

Historical Definition of Oxygen Included Oxidation

An old meaning of oxidation was when oxygen was added to a compound. This was because oxygen gas (O2) was the first known oxidizing agent. Whereas in addition to oxygen in a compound generally meets the increase in electron loss criteria and oxidation status, the definition of oxidation was extended to include other types of chemical reactions.

An excellent example of the old definition of oxidation is when iron oxides or rust combines with iron to oxygen. It is said that oxidation is done in iron war. The chemical reaction is:

2 Fe + O2 → Fe2O3

Iron metal is oxidized to make iron oxides known as rust.

Electrochemic reactions are great examples of oxidation reactions. When a copper wire is placed in silver anion solution, the electrons are transferred from copper metal to silver ions. Copper is metal oxidation. Silver metal whiskers are mounted on copper wire, while copper ions are released in the solution.

Cu(s) + 2 Ag+(aq) → Cu2+(aq) + 2 Ag(s)

Another example of oxidation where an element connects with oxygen is the reaction to the magnesium metal and oxygen to make magnesium oxide. Many metal oxidants do, so it is useful to identify the form of the equation:

2 Mg (s) + O2 (g) → 2 MgO (s)

Oxidation and Reduction Occur Together (redox reaction)

Once the electrons are discovered and chemical reactions can be explained, scientists feel oxidation and deficiency together, together with a species losing electrons (oxidation) and other obtained electrons (less). A type of chemical reaction that contains oxidation and deficiency is called radox reaction, which is used for deficiency-oxidation.

Oxygen gas can be explained by oxidation because metal atoms loses electrons to make cation (oxidizing) with the oxygen molecule achieving electrons to make the electrons an oxygen molecule. In the case of magnesium, for example, the reaction can be rewritten:

2 Mg + O2 → 2 [Mg2+][O2-]

The following half-reactions include:

Mg → Mg2+ + 2 e

O2 + 4 e → 2 O2-

Historical Definition of Oxidation Involving Hydrogen 

Oxidation, which contains oxygen, is still oxidized according to the modern definition of the word. However, there is another old definition associated with hydrogen that can be encountered in organic chemistry texts. This definition is contrary to the definition of oxygen, so it can cause confusion. However, it is good to be aware, it is good to be aware. According to this definition, oxidation is the disadvantage of hydrogen, whereas deficiency is the benefit of hydrogen.

For example, according to this definition, when oxidation is done in ethanol ethanol:


Ethanol is considered oxidizing because it loses hydrogen. Reversing the equation, ethanol can be reduced by adding hydrogen to make ethanol.

Using OIL RIG to Remember Oxidation and Reduction

So, remember the modern definition of oxidation and lack of electrons (not oxygen or hydrogen). One way of remembering which species are oxidized and which decreases is to use OIL Rig. OIL Rig stands for oxidation loss, decrease is profit.

Oxidation Key Takeaways

•  Oxidation occurs when an atom, molecule, or ion loses one or more electrons in the chemical reaction.
•  When oxidation occurs, the oxidation status of the chemical species increases.
•  Oxygen does not contain oxygen! Originally, the term was used when the oxygen reaction caused electron loss. Modern definition is more common.

Process of Oxidation

When the atom or compound is oxidized, its properties change. For example, when an iron object passes through oxidation, it changes because it loses electrons. Unoxidized iron is a strong, structural sound metal, while the oxidation iron is a brittle, red powder. The picture below shows what happens with the iron atom because it is oxidized:

Once iron has been oxidized, it is a charge. Because it lost three electrons, now it has a positive charge of three. It is represented by positive three charge number three and one positive sign (3+) which is written as the superscript on the right side of the Iron symbol.

Iron is easily oxidized, which is why it is important to reduce the contact of iron oxygen and moisture. Iron will continue to lose electrons for oxygen until oxygen is present.

Oxidation-Reduction (Redox) Reactions

Most of the time, oxidation decreases with a process called shortness. Decrease is the process of obtaining one or more electrons. Oxidation-deficiency, or redox, in reaction, an atom or compound will steal electrons from another atom or compound.

A classic example of a radox reaction is wild. When it is wild, oxygen stole electrons with iron. Oxygen is reduced when iron is oxidized. The result is a compound called iron oxide, or rust. Unoxidized, or pure, iron is in the corrosion is different from oxidation form.

To remember the differences between oxidation and deficiency is a very easy mnemonic device – LEO the lion says GER. For the loss of electrons, the letters in the LEO and GER stand are oxidized, the lack of electrons is lacking.

7 thoughts on “Oxidation – Definition, Process & Examples

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