What is Oxidation?

Oxidation refers to a chemical reaction in which electrons are lost by an atom or molecule. A common example of oxidation is the formation of rust on a piece of iron that is exposed to air and moisture. Iron is oxidized by the oxygen present in air to form iron oxide (Fe2O3, rust). In this reaction, iron loses electrons to oxygen, forming ferric ion and the oxygen gains electrons and is reduced to form the oxide ion. Oxidation reactions occur commonly in everyday life. Combustion of fuel in an engine, the burning fire, and the use of chlorine bleach to remove a stain are all every day examples of oxidation processes.

In the chemical industry, oxidation is a very useful synthetic tool used to manufacture many products. There is a variety of oxidizing agents used in industrial processes, for example, nitric acid, chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, and ozone.

  • Nitric acid is a strong oxidizing agent that is used to convert aromatic alkyl groups to carboxylic acids and alcohols into carbonyl compounds.
  • Chlorine’s industrial applications include the production of a variety of intermediates such as vinyl chloride, chlorobenzenes, epichlorohydrin, and alkyl halides such as methyl chloride and propyl chloride. Chlorine is also used in the production of bleaching products such as sodium hypochlorite.
  • Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a common oxidation agent that can oxidize carbon-carbon double bonds to epoxides, carboxylic acids into percarboxylic acids, and sulphides into sulfoxides.
  • Ozone is a very reactive molecule used primarily for the selective oxidation of carbon-carbon double bonds to produce aldehydes

Oxidation with CABB

CABB is an expert in custom chemicals manufacturing, with plenty of experience providing oxidation reactions for clients across the world. We supply chemical building blocks and intermediates for a range of applications, including pharmaceutical and agrochemical synthesis.

If you would like any more information about performing oxidation techniques, please do not hesitate to contact us.