Science, Tech, Math › Science Oxidation and Reduction Reaction Example Problem Share Flipboard Email Print Sean Justice / Getty Images Science Chemistry Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Todd Helmenstine Todd Helmenstine is a science writer and illustrator who has taught physics and math at the college level. He holds bachelor's degrees in both physics and mathematics. our editorial process Todd Helmenstine Updated July 03, 2019 In an oxidation-reduction or redox reaction, it is often confusing to identify which molecule is oxidized in the reaction and which molecule is reduced. This example problem shows how to correctly identify which atoms undergo oxidation or reduction and their corresponding redox agents. Problem For the reaction:2 AgCl(s) + H2(g) → 2 H+(aq) + 2 Ag(s) + 2 Cl-Identify the atoms that undergo oxidation or reduction and list the oxidizing and reducing agents. Solution The first step is to assign oxidation states to each atom in the reaction. AgCl:Ag has a +1 oxidation stateCl has a -1 oxidation stateH2 has an oxidation state of zeroH+ has a +1 oxidation stateAg has an oxidation state of zero.Cl- has a -1 oxidation state. The next step is to check what happened to each element in the reaction. Ag went from +1 in AgCl(s) to 0 in Ag(s). The silver atom gained an electron.H went from 0 in H2(g) to +1 in H+(aq). The hydrogen atom lost an electron.Cl kept its oxidation state constant at -1 throughout the reaction. Oxidation involves the loss of electrons and reduction involves the gain of electrons.Silver gained an electron. This means the silver was reduced. Its oxidation state was "reduced" by one. To identify the reduction agent, we must identify the source of the electron. The electron was supplied by either the chlorine atom or the hydrogen gas. Chlorine's oxidation state was unchanged throughout the reaction and hydrogen lost an electron. The electron came from the H2 gas, making it the reduction agent. Hydrogen lost an electron. This means the hydrogen gas was oxidized. Its oxidation state was increased by one.The oxidation agent is found by finding where the electron went in the reaction. We've already seen how hydrogen gave an electron to silver, so the oxidation agent is the silver chloride. Answer For this reaction, hydrogen gas was oxidized with the oxidizing agent being silver chloride. Silver was reduced with the reducing agent being H2 gas.