Oxidizing Agent

Definition - What does Oxidizing Agent mean?

An oxidizing agent is a compound or element that is present in a redox (oxidation-reduction) reaction which receives electrons originating from a different species.

The oxidant is a chemical compound which easily transfers atoms of oxygen or another substance in order to gain an electron. If one agent in the reaction releases oxygen or gains electrons or hydrogen, it is considered an oxidizer. The oxidizer is reduced as it takes on electrons. However, the reactant undergoes oxidation by letting its electrons be captured by the oxidizer. Oxygen is the eponymous example of an oxidizing agent.

An oxidizing agent is also known as an oxidizer or oxidant.

Corrosionpedia explains Oxidizing Agent

An oxidizing agent takes an electron from other agents and then undergoes reduction itself, while the reducing species gives off electrons to other agents and is itself oxidized. Each molecular atom has a corresponding oxidation number. This number varies when a certain oxidizer reacts on a given substrate. In this equation, redox reactions take place when states of oxidation of the reactants undergo transformation.

Reduction and oxidation are two symmetric processes that always take place together. In the presence of an oxidizing agent is a reducing agent as well. Both are always present, and if oxidation is desired, it is beneficial to make use of an agent that will complete the oxidation process. Some useful oxidizers are antiseptics like hydrogen peroxide and bleaches. One drawback of oxidation is the oxygen action in the process of metal corrosion.

Some of the best oxidizing agents include:

  • Oxygen
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Peroxydisulfuric acid
  • Potassium nitrate
  • An oxidizer is a substance that is not that combustible, but can possibly release oxygen and will contribute to a certain materials' combustion. Due to this, there are materials categorized as dangerous oxidizing agents while there are also those that are not considered dangerous. THere are two types of oxydizing agents. The first one, called class 5 division 5.1, refers to oxidizers that possibly yield oxygen, enhancing chances for combustion. The second category, class 5 division 5.2, refers to oxidizers that ignite on impulse.

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