Oxidation State vs. Formal Charge

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Nisarg Shah 1C
Posts: 54
Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:00 am

Oxidation State vs. Formal Charge

Postby Nisarg Shah 1C » Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:27 pm

What's the difference between oxidation state and formal charge and when do we use one instead of the other?

deeksha1I
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:04 am

Re: Oxidation State vs. Formal Charge

Postby deeksha1I » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:55 pm

Formal charge is the electric charge of an atom in a molecule assigned on the assumption that the bonding is nonpolar covalent. So like, #valence electrons - ( #lone pairs + (#shared electrons/2))
We have used formal charge to determine, when drawing lewis structures, which structure is the most stable.

Oxidation number is the effective charge on an atom. So, with Cu+, the oxidation number would be +1. We use oxidation numbers when naming compounds.

Beza Ayalew 1I
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:07 am

Re: Oxidation State vs. Formal Charge

Postby Beza Ayalew 1I » Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:18 am

So generally, an atom can have a formal charge of zero but an oxidation number of, for example, 2-?

Christine Wastila 1H
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:04 am

Re: Oxidation State vs. Formal Charge

Postby Christine Wastila 1H » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:31 am

In response to the previous comment, yes, that is possible. A positive oxidation number represents how many electrons an atom can accept, while a negative oxidation number represents how many electrons an atom can donate.


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