During a redox reaction, an oxidant oxidizes or removes electrons from other reactants. In addition to oxidant, oxidizer and oxidizing agent are also terms used to describe oxidants. Oxidants that contain oxygen are called oxygenation reagents or oxygen-atom transfer agents (OTs).
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How Oxidants Work
One or more electrons are removed from another reactant by an oxidant in a chemical reaction. Any oxidizing agent in a redox reaction may be considered an oxidant in this context. During this reaction, the oxidant is the electron receptor, while the reducing agent is the electron donor.
In some oxidants, electronegative atoms are transferred to substrates. It is usually oxygen that is electronegative, but other electronegative elements or ions can also be electronegative.
While an oxidant technically doesn’t need oxygen to remove electrons, most common oxidizers do. Halogens are oxidants that do not contain oxygen. Combustion, organic redox reactions, and explosive reactions require oxidants.
The following are examples of oxidants:
- Peroxide of hydrogen
- Acid nitrate
- Acid sulfuric
- Perborate of sodium
- The gas Nitrous Oxide
- Nitrate of potassium
- Bismuthate of sodium
- Bleach and hypochlorite
- halogens such as Cl2 and F2
Oxidants As Dangerous Substances
An oxidizing agent that can cause or aid combustion is considered dangerous. Oxidants are not all hazardous in this way. In terms of transport, potassium dichromate, an oxidant, is not considered a dangerous substance.
Hazardous oxidizing chemicals are identified by a specific hazard symbol. Flames and a ball are featured in the symbol.