ZIMSEC O Level Combined Science Notes: The oxidation process

  • Oxygen can be added to a substance/compound/element
  • For example carbon may be burnt into the air to form carbon dioxide
  • This process is known as oxidation
  • Oxidation is the process by which a substance/compound/element combines with oxygen in a chemical reaction
  • Oxidation is also used to refer to a process in which hydrogen is removed
  • Oxidation can occur when elements are burnt in air
  • For example elements such as carbon, sulpher and magnesium as well as a lot others can be burnt into the air
  • They then form compounds with oxygen
  • Examples of these reactions are:
  • \text{carbon+oxygen}\rightarrow\text{carbon dioxide}
  • \text{sulpher+oxygen}\rightarrow\text{sulpher dioxide}
  • \text{magnesium+oxygen}\rightarrow\text{magnesium dioxide}
  • In each of these instances oxygen is added to the element
  • Each of these elements is oxidised
  • In each of the above cases oxygen is the oxidising agent
  • The oxidising agent is the substance that supplies the oxygen
  • Some metals react with water and/or steam to form an oxide
  • Water is the oxidising agent in these instances
  • For example:
  • \text{calcium+water}\rightarrow \text{calcium oxide+hydrogen}
  • \text{magnesium+water(steam)}\rightarrow\text{magnesium oxide+hydrogen}
  • Oxidation is also used to refer to a reaction in which hydrogen is removed
  • In the above reaction examples the oxidising agent removes (displaces) hydrogen

To access more topics go to the Combined Science Notes page.

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