Can oxidation or reduction take place alone?why or why not?


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Arianna Vaccaro answered
No, oxidation cannot take place without reduction and vice versa. Why is this the case?
  • Definition
Oxidation involves the loss of electrons while reduction is the process which describes the gaining of electrons.

  • Relationship
The two processes work in harmony with each other because, as the electrons leave a material through oxidation, they move into another material through oxidation. In short, that is why you cannot really have one process without the other.

Some experts have described the two processes as being 'complementary' to each other and this further illustrates how the two processes are interlinked and connected to each other.

  • Example
A good example that indicates how both of these processes occur in a complementary manner, is when you consider how a metal is subject to rusting. The water on the metal will combine with oxygen in the air which will then cause 'iron oxide' to form. This is the more technical name for rust. That is also why it is very common to see a copper roof go from a lovely bronze color to a greeny/aqua color as this is in fact rust.

In oxidation, an oxidant or oxidizing agent is something that causes something else to become oxidized. In reduction, a reducing agent is something that causes a material or substance to become reduced ie: Where it gains more electrons.

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