Working Out the Unknown Oxidation State of an Element in A Compound

  1. The sum of the oxidation state of each element in a compound are equal to the charge of the compound.
  2. This rule can be used to find the unknown oxidation number of an element is a compound.

Example 1
Find the oxidation state of all the elements in a Chlorate(V), ClO3- ion.

Answer:
Oxidation number of O = -2

Oxidation number of Cl = x
x + 3(-2) = -1
x = -1 + 6 = +5


Example 2
Find the oxidation state of all the elements in a Potassium manganate(VII), KMnO4 ion.

Answer:
Oxidation number of K = +1`

Oxidation number of O = -2

Oxidation number of Mn = x
(+1) + x + 4(-2) = 0
x = -1 + 8
x = +7


Example 3
Find the oxidation state of all the elements in an Ammonium ion, NH4+ ion.

Answer:
Oxidation number of H = +1

Oxidation number of N = x
x + 4(+1) = +1
x = +1 - 4
x = -3





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