Organic Chemistry : Help with Oxidation

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Organic Chemistry

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Oxidation Reduction Reactions

Which of the following is NOT an oxidizing agent?

Possible Answers:

Ozone 

Osmium tetroxide

Potassium permanganate 

Chromic acid 

Correct answer:

Explanation:

The answer is .

Lindlar's catalyst enables catalytic hydrogenation, specifically for an alkyne to reduce to a cis-alkene (though the reaction does not continue to produce an alkane). The rest of the answer options are oxidizing agents.

Example Question #2 : Oxidation Reduction Reactions

A water molecule is converted to hydrogen peroxide through a series of reactions. What can you conclude about the oxygen molecule?

Possible Answers:

Oxygen is reduced because it loses an electron

Oxygen is oxidized because it gains an electron

Oxygen is oxidized because it loses an electron

Oxygen is reduced because it gains an electron

Correct answer:

Oxygen is oxidized because it loses an electron

Explanation:

Water, , has an oxygen atom with an oxidation number of  whereas hydrogen peroxide, , has an oxygen atom with an oxidation number of . A less negative oxidation number suggests that the oxygen lost an electron. Recall that oxidation is the loss of electrons whereas reduction is the gain of electrons; therefore, the oxygen atom lost an electron and was oxidized when water was converted to hydrogen peroxide.

Example Question #1 : Help With Oxidation

Which of the following is true regarding oxidation?

I. Oxidation increases the oxidation number

II. Oxidizing agent is always reduced

III. Oxidation of an atom is always spontaneous

Possible Answers:

III only

II and III

I and III

I and II

Correct answer:

I and II

Explanation:

Oxidation is the process of removing electrons from an atom. This increases the oxidation number (makes oxidation number more positive). An atom undergoes oxidation by losing electrons and donating them to another atom. Since it is facilitating reduction (gain of electrons) of another atom, an atom that is oxidized is also called a reducing agent. Oxidizing agents, on the other hand, are reduced (gain electrons) and facilitate the oxidation of other atoms (removal of electrons from other atoms). Oxidation of an atom does not depend on the Gibbs free energy; therefore, oxidation can be spontaneous or nonspontaneous.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: