Oxidizing Agents

  • Common used oxidizing agents include;
  • KMnO4
  • K2CrO7
  • H2O2
  • *usually requires acidic conditions eg adding sulphuric acid before carrying out the test except MnO4 requires alkaline conditions.


i)Potassium Permanganate

  • KMnO4(aq)- purple
  • used to detect Fe2+(aq) in acidic medium.
Test Observation Notes
add dil H2SO4 followed by KMnO4(aq) KMnO4 is decolourised Fe2+ is oxidised to Fe3+ and MnO4(aq) is reduced to Mn2+(aq)
ii)Oxidation of iodide ions
  • I ions are oxidised to yellowish brown iodine(aq)
  • MnO4(aq) are reduced to faint pink Mn2+(aq)


iii)Oxidation of hydrogen peroxide
  • MnO4(aq) oxidize H2O2 to water and oxygen
  • MnO4(aq) are reduced to faint pink/colourless Mn2+(aq)


iv)Oxidation of Ethanol
  • it is oxidized in alkaline medium to ethanoic acid
  • MnO4(aq) are decolourised



  • stabilized by an acidic environment.
  • acts as an oxidizing agent, while it is reduced to green Cr3+
  • like MnO4 ions, dichromate ions oxidize;
  • Fe(ii) to Fe(iii)- dirty green observed due to mixture of green & yellowish brown;
  • I ions to I2;
  • H2O2 to H2O & O2
  • Dichromate ions oxidize sulphite ions to sulphate and nitrate ions to nitrate.
  • Ethanol can be used to test for dichromate(vi) ions- the sln turns to green


Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)

  • colourless
  • can work in both acidified and alkaline medium.
  • it is reduced to water and there is no O2(g) that is liberated
  • oxygen is liberated only when it is acting as a reducing agent
The table below shows the observations and deductions made when H2O2(aq) is added to a test substance containing some cations and anions;
Observations Deductions Notes
Solutions turns red-brown from pale green Fe(ii)(aq) present Fe(ii)(aq) is oxidized to Fe(iii)(aq)
Solutions turns dark brown & black-brown ppt from pale pink Mn2+(aq) prsent Oxidation of Mn2+ to MnO2(s)
Solution changes from colourless to orange-brown;
a black ppt settles at the bottom after a few minutes
I(aq) present I is oxidized to I2(s).
black ppt are crystals of iodine(s).
orange-brown sln consists of I3-(aq)

Reducing Agents



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