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Question

What is a redox reaction ? When a magnesium ribbon burns in air with a dazzling flame and forms a white ash, is magnesium oxidised or reduced ?

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Solution

Those reactions, in which oxidation and reduction reactions occur simultaneously, are called redox reactions. In these reactions one substance is oxidised and another substance gets reduced.
​When a magnesium ribbon burns to form a white ash, magnesium metal is oxidised in this reaction because it combined with oxygen to form magnesium oxide.

2Mg(s) + O2(g) 2MgO(s)

We can see that the Oxidation state of Mg changes from 0 in free state to +2 in its oxide. Hence we can say that Mg has been oxidized. SImilarly the Oxidation state of O changes from 0 to -2, getting reduced in the process. Since both oxidation and reduction occurs simultaneously, this is an example of Redox reaction.


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