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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