The oxidation is the process by which an atom, ion or molecule increases its Oxidation state. This change is associated with what is known as the electron loss process: electrons are transferred from one element to another. For instance: the consumption of a cigarette, a campfire.
Oxidation in its original sense refers to the oxygen combination with another substance or chemical element to produce a compound called an oxide. Whenever this happens there is a release of energy. Oxidation reactions can be slow (as in the oxidation of metals, which causes their loss of shine) or fast and explosive (as in combustion, releasing significant amounts of heat and light in the form of fire, as the case may be). Likewise, not all oxidation reactions involve oxygen as a reactant.
The process of electron transfer from one chemical element to another is also known as the reaction of oxidation-reduction, since simultaneously one element gains electrons (called an oxidizing agent) and another loses them (called a reducing agent). The ease of a substance to supply electrons makes it have the status of a strong reducing agent, which usually has a complement (in the oxidized form) in a weak oxidizing agent. Similarly, a strong oxidizing agent is usually also a weak reducing agent.
Different are recognized kinds of oxidation, among which are chemistry, electrochemistry, biological, thermal and catalytic. However, oxidation is a process that is completely linked to the daily lives of human beings.
Examples of chemical oxidation
- The change of color of a fruit when exposed during a time in the open air.
- A nail that began to change color and texture.
- The consumption of a cigarette.
- A bonfire.
- The aging of a person, with deterioration in the skin.
- The combustion that occurs when burning a paper.
- The use of hydrogen peroxide, common to dye hair color.
- Combustion of an airplane engine.
- The breathing process of the human being.
- Anaerobic respiration, characteristic of some bacteria.
- The oxidation of lipids (fats and oils) that reduce the nutritional value of the food and give it unpleasant tastes and odors.
- Fermentation, through which sugars are converted into ethanol, typical of some foods and beverages.
- The loss of properties that a banana (or banana) goes through such as rigidity or consistency, if it is outdoors without its peel.
- A metal chair from a garden, which has been through a season exposed to a lot of rain, is possibly rusted when finished.
- The change in color of a piece of meat, from reddish to brown, when in contact with the air and losing the cold chain.
- The oxidation of water treatment, functional to the elimination of iron and magnesium, abundant in the earth’s crust and harmful to water.
- The rust that accumulates over time on the radiator of a car engine, affecting its cooling capacity.
- The rapid decomposition that a fish undergoes when in contact with the air.
- The release of fats and sugars into the cell for energy
- The oxidation of glucose, produced by glycolysis in order to obtain energy for the cells.