Oxidation number

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The oxidation number of an element in a molecule or complex is the charge that it would bear if all the ligands were removed along with the electron pairs that were shared with the central atom<ref>"Oxidation number" from the IUPAC Gold Book (PDF file)</ref>. It is used in the inorganic nomenclature of inorganic compounds. It is represented by a Roman numeral; the plus sign is omitted for positive oxidation numbers. The oxidation number is placed either as a right superscript to the element symbol, e.g. FeIII, or in parentheses after the name of the element, e.g. iron(III): in the latter case, there is no space between the element name and the oxidation number.

The oxidation number is usually numerically equal to the oxidation state of the central atom. However, for a variety of reasons, the oxidation state of transition metals can be difficult to determine<ref>Oxidation numbers of transition metals</ref>. The most-accepted answer is that the electron pairs forming the coordination bonds are mostly associated with the ligands: this is a good approximation for most Werner-type complexes, but much less true for organometallic compounds as well as for certain hydrido complexes, dithiolene complexes and nitrosyl complexes.

[edit] Rules for the assigning of oxidation numbers

  1. All species in their elemental form are given the oxidation number of zero.
  2. All monoatomic ions have the same oxidation number as the charge on the ion. e.g. Mg2+ has the oxidation number of +2.
  3. All combined hydrogen has an oxidation number of +1 (except metal hydrides where its oxidation number is -1).
  4. All combined oxygen has an oxidation number of -2 (except peroxides where the oxidation number is -1).
  5. In polyatomic species, the sum of the oxidation numbers of the element in the ion equals the charge on that species (we can use this to find the oxidation number of elements in polyatomic species).

[edit] References


Oxidation number

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