Oxidisers

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Paradoxica
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Oxidisers

Postby Paradoxica » Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:37 pm UTC

What are all the known and theoretical oxidisers in existence? (Trying to acquire an exhaustive list here)

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Re: Oxidisers

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:14 pm UTC

What do you expect us to come up with that you couldn't get yourself by typing "list of oxidizers" into Google?
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby Paradoxica » Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:12 am UTC

Each result contains a slightly different list each time, so it is rather difficult to search through each list exhaustively for all the oxidisers, compare them to a databse entry and eliminate repeats. Also, Chlorine Trifluoride didn't exactly turn up in any of the immediate results.
From the top of my head:
Oxygen
Hydrogen Peroxide (95%)
Dihydrogen Trioxide (Hydrogen Perperoxide) (Whatever concentration is achievable without losing body parts)
Iodine
Chlorine
Fluorine
Chlorine Trifluoride
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby Mechatherium » Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:14 am UTC

You can find some interesting things here: http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/things_i_wont_work_with/

:!: Don't try them at home! :!:

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Re: Oxidisers

Postby Mechatherium » Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:18 am UTC

But seriously folks: anything in the top half of Groups 16 and 17 of the Periodic Table should do nicely.

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Re: Oxidisers

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:44 am UTC

Paradoxica wrote:Each result contains a slightly different list each time, so it is rather difficult to search through each list exhaustively for all the oxidisers, compare them to a databse entry and eliminate repeats.
Yes, it is difficult. Why do you think any of us would be more willing to do that work for you than you are to do it for yourself?
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby Dopefish » Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:20 am UTC

Isn't the ability of something to oxidise dependent on what's being oxidised?

With the exception of stuff in the far bottom left of the periodic table which probably isn't going to ever oxidise anything, it all depends on the difference in reduction potentials on if something is gonna work as an oxidiser or not. Or is there some defined threshold for something being considered an 'oxidiser' I don't know about?

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Re: Oxidisers

Postby scarecrovv » Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:47 am UTC

Ignition by John D. Clark is an excellent book about the development of liquid rocket propellants. Most propellants are a combination of a fuel and an oxidizer. Many oxidizers are mentioned in the book. Two that I recall coming up often that aren't in the thread already are nitrogen tetroxide (N2O4) and nitric acid (HNO3).

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Re: Oxidisers

Postby Xanthir » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:07 am UTC

Dopefish wrote:Isn't the ability of something to oxidise dependent on what's being oxidised?

With the exception of stuff in the far bottom left of the periodic table which probably isn't going to ever oxidise anything, it all depends on the difference in reduction potentials on if something is gonna work as an oxidiser or not. Or is there some defined threshold for something being considered an 'oxidiser' I don't know about?

Correct; virtually anything can oxidize given the right reduction agent. "Oxidizers", though, usually refers to things that readily oxidize.
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby Dopefish » Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:42 am UTC

That's what I thought, but if they're looking for an 'exhaustive' list it's not clear to me that there's a well defined cut off for something that 'readily' oxidizes and so such a list may not exist even in theory. I'm probably just being pedantic and it's clear to the OP and anyone qualified to answer what they really have in mind, but it just struck me that otherwise an exhaustive list of all oxidisers would simply be the periodic table (perhaps excluding francium) and compounds containing those elements. (On that note, I suppose that list would be infinite...I'd have to think about it more if it's countably so or not.)

Anyway, the OP can ignore me since there's probably an implicit 'practical' to the list that makes my anality moot.

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Re: Oxidisers

Postby Copper Bezel » Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:55 am UTC

No, I think you're right even in a practical sense - the reason lists on the internet vary is the fact that an exhaustive list really would have to have arbitrarily cut-offs and things, as well as a fuzzy sense of what compounds are common or useful enough to be notable, so it's not really a very practical thing to put together. Or rather, any list will have the implicit "practical", which is what makes it not "exhaustive" by definition, and any new list you collated from other lists would be subject to exactly the same problem....
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:28 pm UTC

Surely the list would be countable, being a list of finite combinations of finitely many elements.
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby thoughtfully » Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:59 pm UTC

I'm not so sure about that. It's not a finite list if you can always add another monomer to the end of a polymer, or some other chain sort of molecule. It might not be especially useful as an oxidizer, but choosing a largest useful oxidizer is another one of those arbitrary choices.
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby PeteP » Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:11 pm UTC

thoughtfully wrote:I'm not so sure about that. It's not a finite list if you can always add another monomer to the end of a polymer, or some other chain sort of molecule. It might not be especially useful as an oxidizer, but choosing a largest useful oxidizer is another one of those arbitrary choices.

Well at some point you run out of matter in the universe.

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Re: Oxidisers

Postby stianhat » Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:27 pm UTC

This is easy.

Combine a list of all known compounds. All of them will be oxidizers, except one. Arrange them by oxidative potential. If you flip the list upside down, you get the list of reductants.

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Re: Oxidisers

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:30 pm UTC

thoughtfully wrote:I'm not so sure about that. It's not a finite list if you can always add another monomer to the end of a polymer, or some other chain sort of molecule. It might not be especially useful as an oxidizer, but choosing a largest useful oxidizer is another one of those arbitrary choices.

Of course the list isn't finite. It's infinite, but countably so.
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby FancyHat » Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:56 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Of course the list isn't finite. It's infinite, but countably so.

If we're talking just chemistry, and are ignoring practicalities such as cosmology and stuff, is there any reason, chemically, why there can't be an infinitely long alkane chain with various functional groups along it? That way, you could have uncountably many distinct compounds.

So if Georg Cantor responded to Paradoxica's original post...
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby stianhat » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:24 am UTC

FancyHat wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Of course the list isn't finite. It's infinite, but countably so.

If we're talking just chemistry, and are ignoring practicalities such as cosmology and stuff, is there any reason, chemically, why there can't be an infinitely long alkane chain with various functional groups along it? That way, you could have uncountably many distinct compounds.

So if Georg Cantor responded to Paradoxica's original post...


Oh all right, i'll bite on this also.

Well, yes and no. an infinitely long alkane chain would not be different from a infinitely long alkane chain that was 1 monomer smaller. Any pattern of repeating units can be represented by the repeating unit, and at some lenght l what happens in one end does not change the other ends properties.

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Re: Oxidisers

Postby Minerva » Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:05 pm UTC

FancyHat wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Of course the list isn't finite. It's infinite, but countably so.

If we're talking just chemistry, and are ignoring practicalities such as cosmology and stuff, is there any reason, chemically, why there can't be an infinitely long alkane chain with various functional groups along it? That way, you could have uncountably many distinct compounds.

So if Georg Cantor responded to Paradoxica's original post...


The concept of "chemical space", the essentially infinite set of all possible chemicals, is a really interesting concept.
And kind of relevant to showing the trouble with the OP.

Just about anything can be an oxidiser, if the reducing agent is strong enough. Put some sodium in water, and the water oxidises the sodium.
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby PM 2Ring » Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:21 am UTC

An oxidizer is something that can supply electrons, or remove hydrogens. So do antiprotons count as an oxidizer? :)

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Re: Oxidisers

Postby FancyHat » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:19 am UTC

PM 2Ring wrote:An oxidizer is something that can supply electrons, or remove hydrogens. So do antiprotons count as an oxidizer? :)

Er, try again. A reducing agent is something that can supply electrons, and, if it does, is oxidized by the oxidizing agent it's reacting with. An oxidizing agent is reduced, receiving electrons, in such redox reactions. And (if I remember this stuff correctly) hydrogens can supply and receive electrons, depending on what they're reacting with.
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby thoughtfully » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:57 am UTC

Quick recap:
Oxygen is the prototypical oxidizing agent. Oxygen is way out on the right side of the periodic table, so it accepts electrons in order to get a full shell.
Ergo, oxidizers accept negative charge / donate positive charge.
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby PM 2Ring » Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:16 am UTC

Oops. :oops:

In that case, I'll change my suggestion from antiprotons to positrons.

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Re: Oxidisers

Postby Xenomortis » Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:02 am UTC

So what happens when an electron meets an anti-hydrogen?
Does annihilation count?
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby FancyHat » Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:53 pm UTC

PM 2Ring wrote:Oops. :oops:

In that case, I'll change my suggestion from antiprotons to positrons.

I have to be careful with anions and cations, since I tend to misremember anions as positively charged and cations as negatively charged. This is probably because cathodes, which cations are attracted towards, are negatively charged, and that's what puts the association with negative charge in my head.

Xenomortis wrote:So what happens when an electron meets an anti-hydrogen?
Does annihilation count?

These two comments inspired the following thoughts.

I've got some antihydrogen and some antioxygen, and I burn the antihydrogen in the antioxygen. Am I oxidizing, reducing, or antioxidizing the antihydrogen?

I'd be inclined to say I'm just oxidizing the antihydrogen.

I wonder if it's possible to make some sort of stable crystal out of an element and an antielement. What I'm imagining is something like sodium chloride, or something like an interstitial metal hydride, but with antimatter and matter combined. This substance would be crystalline, with the matter, the element, in the form of positively charged cations, and the antimatter, the antielement, being similarly ionised, so as to be negatively charged. Basically, one electron for each matter ion would have annihilated with one positron of an antimatter ion. (But would that antimatter ion be an anion, since it's negatively charged, a cation, since it's lost a positron, or an antication?) If antihydrogen is used, then once its positrons are gone, just the antiprotons will be left. If the remaining electrons of the matter ions are enough to keep those antiprotons away from the matter nuclei, and if that whole crystal arrangement is stable that way, then unwanted annihilations of antiprotons with nucleons won't occur. I'm not confident such an arrangement would actually be stable, but I don't know for sure.

If antiprotons are implanted into, say, caesium, do some of them end up sitting between caesium ions in the way I'm imagining?

Anyway, if such a substance was produced, the matter would be oxidised, just as sodium or caesium is oxidised when reacting with chlorine to produce sodium or caesium chloride. And since that involves annihilation with positrons, since that's how the matter is losing electrons, that seems to at least partly answer the question of whether or not such annihilation counts. But is the antimatter, which is certainly acting as an oxidizing agent on the matter, being reduced, antireduced, or oxidized as well?

Edited to add: Seems (unsurprisingly) I'm not the first to think of this: Sciencemadness Discussion Board - Antiprotons:-

Someone called Pyrovus at the Sciencemadness Discussion Board wrote:Here's an idea I had a while ago, which came to me while reading about how alkali metals dissolve in liquid ammonia to create solvated electrons, which behave as stable anions. So I thought, perhaps something similar is possible with antiprotons? Obviously not with ammonia, as the antiprotons will just annihilate with the hydrogens on the ammonia. But with large atoms, with lots of electrons preventing the antiproton from getting into the nucleus, maybe it could be possible to form salts with an antiproton as the anion, such as cesium antihydride? This could perhaps be a good way of storing antimatter (if it works) - the antiproton salt could be stored in a vacuum container made of large atoms like lead. Could this idea have any chance of working?

Edited again: minor correction.
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby Dopefish » Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:56 pm UTC

The way I always remember cations versus anions is that 'cats have paws ("pos-itive")'. For oxidising versus reducing, "Leo the lion goes ger" where Leo-> Lose electrons oxidise, and ger-> gain electrons is reduce.

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Re: Oxidisers

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:01 am UTC

But just as knowing what actually happens can mess you up when trying to remember the name, knowing the name can mess you up when trying to remember what actually happens.

I remembered that mnemonic, but then forgot about the part where an oxidizer is something that causes something else to lose electrons, and therefore something that gains electrons itself.
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby PM 2Ring » Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:18 am UTC

Interesting ideas, FancyHat. I don't think a matter-antimatter hybrid like caesium antihydride would work. I don't have the QM skills to do anything like a proper analysis, but my guess is that there will be problems because an antiproton repels electrons so it can't provide stable orbitals for them, so things will get messy with the valence electrons of the caesium in the antiproton's vicinity.

Also, in normal chemical bonds Pauli repulsion is balanced by electrostatic attraction, but there's no Pauli repulsion between a matter particle and an antimatter particle.

As for my earlier stuff-up, my brain has a tendency to mix up pairs of opposites; I guess it's a type of mirror-image dyslexia. Also, what gmal said.

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Re: Oxidisers

Postby meat.paste » Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:50 pm UTC

There are about 10^50 atoms on Earth. I think this would make the total number of combinations of atoms into compounds to be approximately a (metric crapton)^(holy crap, that's a lot!). All of them except 1 would be reduced by something else in the list.

A free electron makes an excellent reduction agent, but a solvated electron is also pretty good at reduction. Atoms with a lot of missing electrons make awesome oxidizing agents (Mn7+ in MnO4-, for example. U92+, which is a thing that can be produced in vacuum, would be an excellent oxidizing agent.)
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby FancyHat » Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:20 pm UTC

meat.paste wrote:A free electron makes an excellent reduction agent, but a solvated electron is also pretty good at reduction.

Ah, yes, electrides. I seem to remember they tend to be strong, deep blues, or sort of gold, coppery or bronzy colours. Like that dress.
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Re: Oxidisers

Postby stianhat » Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:21 pm UTC

meat.paste wrote:There are about 10^50 atoms on Earth. I think this would make the total number of combinations of atoms into compounds to be approximately a (metric crapton)^(holy crap, that's a lot!).


Well, the number of possible combinations are smaller, if we restrict ourselves to the smallest repeating unit of any crystal/polymer but it is still a (metric crapton) ^ (not quite as much but still)


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