What Does Reducing Agent Mean?
A reducing agent is a substance with atoms that lose, or gives up, electrons in a chemical reaction. When a reducing agent gives up an electron or electrons, it is considered to be oxidized. The atom where the reducing agent sends its electron or electrons is called the oxidant. The reducing agent causes the oxidant to become reduced.
Corrosion occurs because of reducing agents and oxidizing agents. The oxidation of the reducing agent causes it to become corroded. In a corrosive process, the anode oxidizes and the cathode reduces. Stated differently, the reducing agent loses electrons and corrodes while the oxidizing agent gains electrodes.
Corrosionpedia Explains Reducing Agent
There are many types of reducing agents. Elements are more likely to be reducing agents if they have a small number of electrons in their outermost shell and if they have a large atomic radius. Examples of reducing agents include zinc, lithium, iron and oxalic acid.
Proper knowledge and use of reducing agents can help prevent oxidation of some materials. Take galvanized steel for example. The zinc coating on the steel helps prevent corrosion, even, to an extent, if the coating is damaged. This is because the zinc surrounding the steel has a greater likelihood to give up an electron in a chemical reaction than the iron in the steel. Since the zinc serves as the reducing agent, the steel is protected from corrosion.