oxidation number

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oxidation number


oxidation state:

see valencevalence,
combining capacity of an atom expressed as the number of single bonds the atom can form or the number of electrons an element gives up or accepts when reacting to form a compound.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Oxidation Number


(also oxidation state), the numerical value of the electrostatic charge of an atom in a molecule. When assigning an oxidation number, it is assumed that the electron pairs that effect the bond in the molecule are completely shifted in the direction of the more electronegative atoms. The oxidation number of a hydrogen atom in compounds that do not contain a metal is arbitrarily set as +1. The rules for computing the oxidation number are given in OXIDATION-REDUCTION REACTION and VALENCE.

In chemistry, the concept of an oxidation number is used to formulate oxidation-reduction equations and to classify inorganic compounds, particularly coordination compounds, to which the standard classical definitions of valence do not conveniently apply.

In many cases, the oxidation number coincides with neither the valence nor the actual number of electrons that participate in bond formation; for example, carbon is always tetravalent in organic compounds, but the oxidation number for the C atom in the compounds CH4, CH3OH, and HCOOH is -4, -2, and +2, respectively. In compounds whose atoms are similar in electronegativity, it becomes difficult to determine precisely which atom is attracting the electron pair. For example, the carbon and sulfur atoms in a CS2 molecule exhibit nearly identical electronegativity, yet the oxidation numbers in this compound can be +4 or –4 for the C atom and —2 or +2 for the S atom.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

oxidation number

[‚äk·sə′dā·shən ‚nəm·bər]
Numerical charge on the ions of an element.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Si oxidation number of the Si oxidation products could be controlled by the amount of [H.sub.2]O added during grinding.
The position of the characteristic band of Ti 2p electrons was at 459.0 eV, which indicates the oxidation number of [Ti.sup.4+] in Ti[O.sub.2] [28].
Von Rohr, "The mean oxidation number of carbon (MOC)--a useful concept for describing oxidation processes," Water Research, vol.