What Are the Redox Reactions in Real Life?

One of the most common real life examples of a redox reaction is one that is necessary for life itself, in which a cell oxidizes glucose to carbon dioxide and reduces oxygen to water, providing energy through cellular respiration. In plants, the reaction occurs in the opposite direction and uses energy supplied by the sun, according to Reference.com.

HowStuffWorks reports that the reaction taking place in a common battery is a redox reaction and produces an electrical charge. Oxidation occurs at the anode, where two or more ions combine to produce a compound and release one or more electrons. Reduction takes place using cathode materials and electrons. The battery continues producing electrons until one or both electrodes runs out of the substance needed for reactions to occur. Rechargeable batteries allow the user to reverse the flow of electrons with a charger, which rebuilds the electrodes so they can provide electricity again.

The rusting of iron is another common redox reaction. Iron metal reacts with moist air through the oxidation process to create a hydrated iron oxide. Unlike aluminum oxide, which provides a protective coating, iron oxide flakes off at the surface, exposing more iron during the oxidation process, according to WebElements. Eventually, the iron loses its structural integrity due to rust.