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

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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.





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