Degrees of Oxidation Using Methane as an Example

One tool of the organic chemist is that of oxidation. There are abundant reagents, which vary in reactivity and strength, to choose from to create this reaction. A plethora of techniques guarantee specificity. All are important to the synthetic organic chemist and to industry. What is a reagent? It is a chemical that is of interest because it can react with the substance chemists wish to modify and study. Oxidizers are one kind of reagent. Consider the progressive oxidation of methane (CH₄) from its lowest to its highest oxidation state. The progression of the oxidation of methane products is written simply, CH₄ → CH₃OH → HCHO → HC(O)OH → HC(O)OOH [→ CO₂ + H₂O ] Their names (left to right) are methane, methyl alcohol, formaldehyde, formic acid, performic acid, and…
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Cuprous Sulfate: A Disagreement with My High School Chemistry Teacher

Chemistry, Education
[caption id="attachment_17698" align="alignright" width="440"] Classroom[/caption] As a kid, I was excessively shy and retiring – except when it came to matters of science and math. When it came to them, I was generally quiet but I could become quite outspoken if the occasion arose. During senior year, I approached my math instructor and told him an entire chapter in our textbook was wrong. He was reluctant to hear me out, but when he did, he acknowledged I was correct. On one occasion during junior year, I was listening to my chemistry teacher attentively when he spoke of cuprous sulfate. For those who are unacquainted with terminology, this would have been the old name (the name I still use) for copper(I) sulfate. I informed Mr. D’Alesandro that the only existing copper…
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