Which is the correct equation for the reaction of iron and oxygen, 4Fe + 3O2 --> 2Fe2O3, or 2Fe +1/2 O2 --> 2FeO?

Also, for both equations, is the oxidizing reagent and reduced element O2 and the reducing agent and oxidized element Fe?

Any explanation would be greatly appreciated?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Both are correct. Iron can react with oxygen producing oxides depending on the oxidation states of Iron.

Rememeber that Iron can have 2 oxidation states which are ``

FeO is the product when Fe is in 2+ oxidation state while Fe2O3 is the product when Fe is in the 3+ oxidation state.

Fe is both oxidized in the equations:

`Fe -> Fe^(2+)`

`Fe -> Fe^(3+)`  

and O2 is reduced to `O^(2-)`

Therefore, O2 is the oxidizing agent and the reduced element and;

Fe is the reducing agent and the oxidized element.

 

 

 

 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial