Oxidation Numbers

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Caitlin Mispagel 1D
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:13 am

Oxidation Numbers

Postby Caitlin Mispagel 1D » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:12 pm

Are Oxidation numbers always positive?

Gianna Apoderado 1B
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:04 am

Re: Oxidation Numbers

Postby Gianna Apoderado 1B » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:19 pm

Hi! Oxidation numbers are not always positive! For example, for a sulfur ion S^2-, its oxidation number is -2.

Angel Gomez 1K
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:04 am

Re: Oxidation Numbers

Postby Angel Gomez 1K » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:53 pm

Oxidation numbers are the total sum of ionic charges for a compound. For example, if we were looking at water, H20, we can see that it has two elements that compose it: 1) hydrogen, which is usually found as H+, so it has a positive charge of one and 2)oxygen, which is usually found as O2-. If you add the charges of all atoms present in water, you'd have two H+ atoms that give a 2+ charge and one O2- atom that gives a 2- charge. When you add those up, the charge has a net value of 0. Therefore, the oxidation number for water would be 0.
To find the oxidation number for a single atom, you would only need to find the value of its ionic charge. Therefore, the oxidation number for let's say arsenic, As3- would simply be 3-, because arsenic has a 3- charge.
So yes, oxidation numbers can definitely be negative!


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