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Reading about antioxidants

  1. Jan 6, 2004 #1
    Hi. I was reading about antioxidants earlier and they speak about the free radicals oxidizing everything, and so the antioxidants prevent this by happening by undergoing oxidation with them. Now when they're saying oxidation do they really mean oxidation/reduction, because as far as my understanding goes whenever there's an oxidation there's a reduction.

    Are they just making it simpler by saying oxidation with the implication that the free radicals are good oxidizing agents?

    If something is a good reducing agent, and something else is a good oxidizing agent, are they both effective in the same ways in terms of reacting with some other chemical?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2004 #2
    Yes, you can't have oxidation without reduction. Just like you can't have an acid without a conjugate base.

    Not sure if I understand your last question.
  4. Jan 6, 2004 #3


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  5. Jan 6, 2004 #4
    What factors determine whether or not a chemical is a strong oxidating/reducing agent?
  6. Jan 6, 2004 #5


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    Well, on a physical basis there are a lot of factors which determine the instability of a molecule. But regarding the scope of general chemistry factors such as electronegativity, electron affinity, ionization energies on a general basis are pertinent. These factors also have subfactors for example the relative easy with which one can pull off an electron in the outer shell.
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