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Why is oxidation important?

by erwin


Oxidation is a process wherein different substances react with oxygen.  Some people are familiar with this process when they think of rust build-up on metals like iron when they are exposed to oxygen.  This particular example of the oxidation process may not be beneficial and actually detrimental to metals. But aside from this effect, the process of oxidation actually provides benefits and is actually essential in other instances.

In the case of combustion, for example, the oxidation process is important in a sense that oxygen is needed to combine with other elements like carbon or hydrogen molecules in order for combustion to occur.  In this particular concern, oxygen acts like a trigger to the combustion process.  Without it, fuel in the form of carbon or hydrogen will not be able to generate heat.  Without the release of heat, no energy will be produced, and this simple principle is widely applied in various industries relating to energy production and usage.  In this particular field, oxidation is not only important but also very essential.

Oxidation also shows its importance for plants in the process called photosynthesis. This is the process wherein plants manufacture their own food with the aid of sunlight.  Carbon dioxide and water from the air is absorbed by the plants while oxygen is expelled out into the air to balance the whole process.  In this way, plants will be able to create food in the form of glucose while they expel oxygen into the air, and this is needed by humans.

The internal metabolism in human bodies also serves as another way of explaining the importance of the oxidation process.  Oxygen is needed to create various chemical reactions with various substances in the body to process food in the form of glucose.  With the help of the oxidation process, necessary food synthesis will occur.

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