AP Chemistry : Principles of Oxidation-Reduction Reactions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Chemistry

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Example Questions

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Example Question #31 : Oxidation Reduction Reactions

Consider the following reaction:

Which of the following substances is the oxidizing agent?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:


In an oxidation-reduction reaction, the oxidizing agent is the reactant that accepts electrons, becoming reduced. The oxidizing or reducing agent is always the whole reagent, and is never just the atom in the reagent that is being oxidized or reduced.

 is the reagent that accepts two electrons from elemental zinc. This allows zinc to become oxidized, changing oxidation state from zero to . Copper accepts these electrons, changing from an oxidation state of to zero. As a result, we say that  is the oxidizing agent for the reaction.

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