Oxidation Numbers

The oxidation number of an element is the charge the atom has


I. For an atom in its elemental form the oxidation number is zero.
II. For any monatomic ion the oxidation number equals the charge of the ion.
III. For nonmetals the oxidation number is usually negative.
a) Oxygen is usually -2 in all compounds.
b) Fluorine is -1 in all compounds.
c) Hydrogen is +1 when bonded to nonmetals and -1 when bonded to metals (metal hydrides).
IV. The sum of the oxidation numbers for all atoms is zero for neutral
compounds or equals the charge for polyatomic ions.


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