What's the difference between oxidation numbers and charge?

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Offline mogsmar5

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I know they're related but I'm not sure how.


Offline chris

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What's the difference between oxidation numbers and charge?
« Reply #1 on: 23/02/2010 13:38:42 »
The oxidation number is the charge that a central atom would have if all of its ligands were removed, including the electron pairs being shared with those ligands.

For example, in carbon dioxide - CO2 - the carbon oxygen bond is a double = bond:


This means that two pairs of electrons are involved in each bond.

If the oxygens were removed, together with the electrons pairs, this would leave the carbon in a +4 state - hence oxidation number 4.

For water - H2O - it would be two pairs of electrons being removed from the oxygen (one for each hydrogen) hence oxygen has a +2 oxidation state.

This means that the oxidation number can tell you the charge on the individual ions made by an element.

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