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The reaction between magnesium oxide and carbon at 2000C to form magnesium metal and carbon monoxide is an example of the reduction of magnesium oxide to magnesium metal.
After electrons were discovered, chemists became convinced that oxidation-reduction reactions involved the transfer of electrons from one atom to another.
What happens when an oxidizing material comes in contact with a combustible substance largely depends on the chemical stability of the oxidizing material.
The less stable an oxidizing material is, the greater the chance that it will react in a dangerous way. S.] National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code 430 (1995) "Code for the Storage of Liquid and Solid Oxidizers" has classified oxidizing materials classified according to their ability to cause spontaneous combustion and how much they can increase the burning rate.
Example: The reaction between magnesium metal and oxygen to form magnesium oxide involves the oxidation of magnesium.
The term reduction comes from the Latin stem meaning "to lead back." Anything that that leads back to magnesium metal therefore involves reduction.
When a combustible substance burns, a chemical reaction occurs in which the substance (fuel) combines with oxygen, and gives off heat, gases, and often light (flames). However, oxidizing materials can supply combustible substances with oxygen and support a fire even when air is not present.
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Oxidizing materials are liquids or solids that readily give off oxygen or other oxidizing substances (such as bromine, chlorine, or fluorine).
They also include materials that react chemically to oxidize combustible (burnable) materials; this means that oxygen combines chemically with the other material in a way that increases the chance of a fire or explosion.
It is used in explosives and fireworks; as an oxidizing agent in solid rocket and missile propellants; as an adhesive; as an engraving agent; laboratory (analytical) reagent; chemical intermediate for alkali and alkaline metal perchlorates; animal feed supplement; and in oxygen-generating devices for life-support systems in submarines, spacecraft, bomb shelters and breathing apparatus.
Ammonium perchlorate can decompose at high temperatures forming toxic gases, such as chlorine, hydrogen chloride and nitrogen oxides.