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Oxidation- Reduction Reactions

In the reaction between sodium and chlorine to give sodium chloride, sodium atoms lose electrons to become sodium ions, and chlorine atoms gain electrons to become chloride ions :
                                                                 Na   →    Na+ +  e
                                                           CI + e    →   CI -

The electron produced in the first reaction must be used up in descend reacting, because no electrons are observed in the overall reaction:

                                                                Na +CI  →  Na+ CI -

This reaction is an electron transfer reaction, i.e., electron is transferred from sodium atom to chlorine atom.

This is also evident form another example where aluminum powder is burnt in oxygen to form aluminum oxide. Here aluminum atom loses electrons to form aluminum ions and oxygen atom gains electrons to form oxide ion as follows:

                                                                 [ AI   →   A]3+ + 3e ] x 4
                                                            [ O + 2e  →   O2- ] x 6

The electron produced in the first reaction are used up in the second and no electron s are observed in  the net reaction

                                                                  4 AI +3O2  →   2 AI2O3

Once again, it appears that the electrons are transferred form aluminum to oxygen atoms or it is an electron transfer reaction. Such electron transfer reactions are commonly called oxidation reduction re-actions where oxidation and reduction occur side by side in terms of change of electrons. This is also commonly stated as : “ oxidation ad reduction reactions go hand in hand in every electron transfer reaction”.

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