in Chemistry

Oxidation and Reduction

In terms of Oxygen transfer, oxidation is the gain of Oxygen. Reduction therefore is the loss of Oxygen.

In terms of Hydrogen transfer, oxidation is the loss of Hydrogen, and therefore reduction is the gain of Hydrogen.

In terms of Electron transfer, oxidation is the loss of electrons, and therefore, reduction is the gain of electrons.

The electron transfer piece is the most important and can be remembered using the OIL RIG system.

OIL – Oxidation is loss (electrons)

RIG – Reduction is gain (electrons)



Oxidizing and Reducing Agents

Oxidizing agents add Oxygen to another substance; which could also be phrased as, the Oxidizing agents remove a hydrogen from another substance.

Reducing agents remove oxygen from another substance; again, it could be phrased that a reducing agent adds hydrogen to another substance.

Common Oxidizing Agents Common Reducing Agents
O2 H2
O3 CO
F2 Fe
Br2 Zn
H2SO4 Li
Halogens Alkali Metals


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