Applications of redox reaction in medicine

Applications of Redox Reactions

During the process of combustion, the oxygen present in the atmosphere is being reduced whereas the compound which is being burned is undergoing oxidation. The process of photosynthesis takes place in the leaves of the plants. What happens is that carbon dioxide and water combine in the presence of sunlight to release oxygen and glucose. The glucose which is formed in the whole process of photosynthesis is used to fuel the metabolic reactions of the plants.

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In photosynthesis, water is oxidised and carbon dioxide is reduced. The process of developing a photographic film also employs redox reactions. In addition, sodium thiosulfate is also used in the process of obtaining a negative. A positive image is obtained by the exposure of the negative to light. Following the exposure to light, silver cations are reduced.

Applications of Redox Reactions

The process of bleaching also employs a number of redox reactions. Decolourization of a substance occurs because the electrons move between different energy levels. Any sort of decolourization can be removed by the oxidation of the electrons. The process of corrosion forms yet another example of redox reactions in everyday life. The hydrogen ions generated combine with oxygen to yield water, and the whole cycle begins once again. Even the breathalyzers employ the chemical principle of redox reactions.

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Once a diver breathes into the breathalyzers, an acidic solution of potassium dichromate reacts with it. What happens is that the ethanol in the breath is oxidised to acetic acid; whereas the chromium IV in the orange-yellow dichromate ion is reduced to chromium III which is green in colour. The amount of colour change corresponds to levels of alcohol in the blood.

Frequently Asked Questions On Redox Reactions

The redox reactions have widespread utilization in the field of medicine. These chemical species have different oxidation states or ionization energies which make them electrically different from each other.

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Since we know that electrons have a tendency to flow from a region of high potential to low potential, there is a flow of current between these two solutions of different chemical species which takes place from the chemical species which is at a higher ionization potential to the chemical species with lower ionization potential, thereby leading to oxidation of one species while reducing the other. A very common example of electrochemical reaction is done between zinc and copper, where zinc is present at the anode and copper is present at the cathode.

The chemical substance used in these electrochemical cells or batteries stores chemical energy which when operated upon undergoes a redox reaction to produce electrical energy. These electrochemical cells or batteries comprise of a voltaic cell also known as the galvanic cell which is made up of two half cells and is linked together by the means of a semi-permeable membrane and has a wire connected to it. Both half cells contain a metal of different ionization potential acting as two electrodes, one anode and one cathode. The reaction is initiated by means of an electrolyte solution present in these electrochemical cells or batteries which act as a concentration gradient of electrons for the half cells.

There occurs a chemical reaction between these two half cells, which lead to the reduction at cathode and oxidation at the anode. As the flow of electrons proceeds with the reaction, this electron flow is utilized as our source of electrical energy to supply power to the device or appliance we need to power by means of the wire or connecting surface. We have been studying about this process since childhood that green plants utilize sunlight and are able to prepare their own food by processing a chemical reaction in their leaves.

Oxidation-Reduction Reactions

But little did you know that the chemical process was actually a redox reaction. Green plants get sensitized towards sunlight due to a pigment, chlorophyll, present in their leaves and absorb it. This absorbed sunlight acts as the activation energy to convert carbon dioxide absorbed by the plants from the surroundings and water absorbed by the plant from the soil into carbohydrates. In this reaction, carbon dioxide gets reduced to carbohydrates which acts a source of food and energy for the plants , while the water is oxidized to oxygen which is released into their surrounding air.

Metals usually exist in an oxidized state in nature due to their long term exposure to the oxygen present in the air surrounding them. Hence, they need to be reduced in order to extract the required metal out of them. This is done in the industry on a large scale with the help of a suitable reducing agent, depending on the metal or ore which is to be refined. For example, iron is extracted from the oxidized ore of ferric oxide in a large blast furnace in the iron extracting and refining industries using coke as a reducing agent.

Other metals extracted in the same manner include magnesium, sodium, calcium, potassium, lithium and many others. Redox titrations are carried out to find the concentration of the any electrically charged species present in the sample solution. These are done by titrating the unknown substance against a standardized titrant whose concentration is already known to us.

In this type of titration, the solution containing the unknown substance is kept in the bottom flask and the solution of known titrant is filled in the burette. The solution from the burette is allowed to fall drop wise in the bottom flask containing the unknown substance and an indicator till the indicator changes the colour of the solution in the flask, indicating that the end point of the titration has reached. At the endpoint, the volume of the standardized titrant is noted down.

This volume is equal to the volume of unknown substance required to neutralize the standardized titrant. The volume remaining in the sample solution is back calculated by the total amount of the sample taken and thereby we can calculate the concentration of the unknown substance present in that solution. These reactions are quite useful in pharmaceutical industry.

Oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions (article) | Khan Academy

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