This diagram shows that the oxidizing agent gains electrons from another substance, which is the reducing agent.When an oxidizing agent gains electrons, it gets reduced, and, as a result, oxidizes the reducing agent.Another place to look for good oxidizing agents is among compounds with unusually large oxidation states, such as the permanganate (Mn O).These compounds are strong oxidizing agents because elements become more electronegative as the oxidation states of their atoms increase.It gets a little confusing since similar words are being used throughout.Something that can help is this mnemonic device: In a chemical reaction, whenever reduction takes place, oxidation also takes place. To clearly determine which is the oxidizing agent, we break down this chemical reaction into half reactions, or reactions where one is the reduction component and the other is the oxidizing component.
2 Mn O, which are the elemental forms of the second and third most electronegative elements, respectively.And so let's think about what happened in this redox reaction. Chlorine is going from an oxidation state of 0 to an oxidation state of negative 1.Sodium went from an oxidation state of 0 to an oxidation state of plus 1. 0 to plus 1 is an increase in oxidation state, so therefore, sodium, by definition, is being oxidized. That's a decrease in the oxidation state, and therefore, chlorine is being reduced. Now, before we assign oxidizing and reducing agents, let's just go ahead and talk about this one more time, except showing all of the valence electrons.A plus 1 charge on sodium, and for monatomic ions, the oxidation state is equal to the charge on the ion.And since the charge on the ion is plus 1, that's also the oxidation state. We're going to circle the oxidation state to distinguish it from everything else we have on the board here. Therefore, the oxidation state is equal to negative 1.