Redox Reactions, Reduction-Oxidation, Chemistry Help

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Redox In short for REDuction-OXidation reactions specifies all the chemical reactions in which atoms changes their oxidation number or oxidation state. It may be either a simple redox process, for example the oxidation of carbon to yield CO2 (carbon dioxide) or reduction of carbon by hydrogen to yield CH4 (methane) or It may be a complex process for example the oxidation of C6H12O6 sugar in the human body in flow of a series of complex electron transfer processes.

The Redox term comes from the two main concepts of reduction and oxidation. These can be explained by as follows:

Oxidation: It is process of loss of electrons or an increase in oxidation state by a atom, molecule or ion.

Reduction: It is the gain of electrons or a decrease in oxidation state by a atom, molecule or ion.

Reduction and Oxidation and mainly refer to a change in oxidation number — the actual transfer of electrons may never occur. Thus, oxidation is defined better as an increase in oxidation number, and reduction process as a decrease in oxidation number. In short, the transfer of electrons is always cause a change in oxidation number, but there are many other reactions that are grouped as "redox" even though no electron transfer occurs (those are involving covalent bonds).
Some of non-redox reactions, which do not involve changes in formal charge, are called as metathesis reactions.

In the processes of redox the reductant transfers electrons to the oxidant. In the reaction, the reducing agent or reductant loses electrons and is oxidized, and the oxidizing agent and oxidant gains electrons and is reduced. The pair of an reducing and oxidizing agent that involves in a particular reaction is known as redox pair.


Substances which have the property to oxidize other substances are called to be oxidizing or oxidative and are known as oxidizing agents, oxidizers or oxidants. In other way, the oxidant or oxidizing agent reduces electrons from other substance for example Oxidizers oxidizes other substances, and itself reduced. And it "accepts" electrons, it is also known as an electron acceptor.

Oxidants are generally substances or chemical elements with high oxidation numbers

For Examples: H2O2, MnO4, CrO3, Cr2O72-, OsO4

The highly electronegative elements or substances that may gain one or two extra electrons by oxidizing an substance or element e.x F, O, Cl, Br.


The substances having the property to reduce other substances are known to be reducing or reductive and are known as reductants, reducing agents or reducers. The reductant or reducing agent transfers electrons to other substance for example it reduces others, and itself oxidized. And, due to "donates" electrons, it is also known as an electron donor. Electron donors may also form charge transfer complexes with an electron acceptors.

Electropositive elemental metals, for example sodium, lithium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and aluminium, are very good reducing agents. These metals donate electrons readily. Other Hydride transfer reagents, for example NaBH4 and LiAlH4, are widely used in organic chemistry. Generally used in the reduction of carbonyl compounds to alcohols. The other methods of reduction involve the use of hydrogen gas (H2) with a platinum, palladium or nickel catalyst. These catalytic reductions are generally used in the reduction process of carbon-carbon double or triple bonds.

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