### 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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