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Problem: Consider the reaction:Zn(s) + Fe2+(aq) → Zn2+(aq) + Fe(s)Which is the oxidizing agent?

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FREE Expert Solution

The element that gains electrons/reduced is the oxidizing agent 


Recall the mnemonic for redox reactions:

Loss Electrons  Oxidation  Reducing Agent

Gain Electrons  Reduction  Oxidizing Agent


  • oxidation state for elements in natural state (s, l, g) = 0
  • oxidation state for ions = charge 


Zn(s) → Zn2+(aq) 

  • oxidation state increased from 0 to +2  lost electrons → oxidation

Fe2+(aq) Fe(s)

  • oxidation state decreased from +2 to 0 → gained electrons → reduction
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Problem Details

Consider the reaction:

Zn(s) + Fe2+(aq) → Zn2+(aq) + Fe(s)

Which is the oxidizing agent?