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Viziscience Interactive Chemistry Labs

When iron (Fe) reacts with oxygen (O2) in the air, iron oxide (Fe2O3) is formed.

Iron oxide is a form of rust and the chemical reaction is known as an oxidation reaction.

  • In oxidation reaction, one atom loses electrons and transfers to another. Another atom gains the electrons. This process is also termed a "redox" reaction (which is short for reduction/oxidation).
  • The actual iron rusting process is far more complicated than is shown on the video and we will cover it in another post.
  • The rusting process is affected by water and the key reaction involves the formation of hydroxide ions as a result of oxygen in the air and moisture (h2o) combination.
  • Rusting is therefore accelerated by the presence of moisture.
  • In this reaction, for those in higher level chemistry, it is important to recognize which atoms are being oxidized and which atoms are being reduced.
  • Redox reaction

Whenever there is oxidation, there is reduction and both chemical reactions must take place together.

Redox reactions

  • Atom that loses electrons - are oxidized.
  • Atoms that gain electrons - are reduced.

In the iron oxide reaction

  • Fe is being oxidized
  • Oxygen is being reduced

Polar Covalent Bond

  • The electronegative difference between iron and oxygen is around 1.61
  • The bonding between iron and oxygen is a polar covalent bond but close to that of ionic bonds.