Some elements in the periodic table have only one oxidation number or two oxidation numbers. But some have lot of oxidation numbers. Oxidation number of element in a compound can be positive or negative or may be zero.
In sodium compounds, sodium only forms +1 oxidation number.
But some types of atoms such as chlorine form various oxidation numbers like -1, 0, +1, +3, +5, +7 oxidation numbers in compounds.
In this tutorial, we discuss about some important facts of oxidation states and oxidation numbers in periodoc table including s block, p block and d block.
In this chapter, we discuss very important facts about oxidation numbers with examples with different compounds.
Some elements can show more than one oxidation states. Specially d block elements show this behavior.
When an element has not combined, it's oxidation number is 0.
Ex: oxidation number of Au is 0.
When an element has combined with same kind element, it's oxidation number becomes 0.
Ex: oxidation number of Br in Br2 is 0.
Usually, alkali metals and alkali earth metals exits as compounds(NaCl, CaCO3). Therefore we can't see them as free elements.
Some p block elements have lot of oxidation numbers such as chlorine(-1, 0, +1, +3, +5, +7) and sulfur(-2, 0, +4, +6). And some have limited oxidation numbers like fluorine (-1).
Here we are going to summarize oxidation numbers of all elements in the periodic table into one group.
NOTE: * is for rare oxidation number
|Atomic Number||Element||Oxidation numbers|
|1||Hydrogen||-1 , 0 , +1|
|6||Carbon||-4 , -3 , -2 , -1 , 0 , +1 , +2 , +3 , +4|
|7||Nitrogen||-5 , -4 , -3 , -2 , -1 , 0 , +1 , +2 , +3|
|8||Oxygen||-2 , -1 , 0 , +1 , +2|
|9||Fluorine||-1 , 0|
|14||Silicon||0 , +4|
|15||Phosphorous||0 , +1 , +3 , +5|
|16||Sulfur||-2 , 0 , +2 , +4 , +6|
|17||Chlorine||-1 , 0 , +1 , +3 , +5 , +7|
Oxidation numbers of group 1 group 2 elements are studied.
Hydrogen forms three oxidation states, -1 , 0 , +1. Oxidation number 0 occurs only in hydrogen molecule.
When hydrogen forms compounds with metals, hydrogen's oxidation number is -1. NaH and CaH2 are some examples.
When carbon form compounds with non-metal elements, oxidation number of hydrogen become +1 in most occasions.
Alkali metals (except hydrogen) remove one electron to form +1 ion. So only oxidation number of alkali metals is +1. So Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Rubidium, Cesium have only single oxidation number is +1.
As alkali metals, alkali earth metals only form +2 oxidation state. Beryllium, Magnesium, Calcium, Strontium, Barium have +2 oxidation number.
Group three elements are Boron, Aluminium, Galleum, Indium and Thallium.
Aluminium is a metal. So it removes its three electrons of the last shell to show +3 oxidation number. Some examples for +3 oxidation states of aluminium are AlCl3, Al2O3.
Oxidation numbers of carbon changes from -4 to +4.
Group 5 includes Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Arsenic, Antimony and Bismuth. Oxidation number variation change when going down the group.
Nitrogen has various oxidation numbers from -3 to +5.
Phosphorous also have various oxidation numbers from -3 to +5.
We are going to discuss about oxidation numbers of oxygen and sulfur under group 6 elements.
Oxygen has the second highest electronegative value in periodic table. So in most occasions, oxidation number of oxygen is negative. Oxygen only forms positive oxidation numbers when it combine with fluorine.
Sulfur is another p block element which has different oxidation numbers.
Chlorine also have lot of oxidation numbers. (from -1 to +7)
Most of the 3d metals have variable oxidation numbers. As an example, iron have two oxidation numbers, +2 and +3.
Zinc has only one oxidation number, +2.
|3d Metal||Oxidation state|
|Ti||+2 , +3 ,+4|
|Va||+2 , +3 , +4 , +5|
|Cr||+2 , +3 , +6|
|Mn||+2 , +4 , +6 , +7|
|Fe||+2 , +3|
|Co||2 , +3|
|Cu||+1 , +2|
Let's take an example.
Sulfur and chlorine and are positioned at 6th and 7th groups of the periodic table. So there are six and seven electrons at their final energy levels respectively. These electrons can be combined with oxygen to form different compounds. Some examples are discussed below.
Sulfur gives its all last six electrons to make sulfuric acid molecule (+6 oxidation state). Chlorine can give seven electrons to make chloric acid to show +7 oxidation number.
Chlorine can take one electron to form chloride anion.(-1 oxidation state). Sulfur can take two electrons to form sulfide anion. (-2 oxidation state).
|Common Oxidation State||Example Compound|
|0||Elemental sulfur (S8)|
|+6||SO3 , H2SO4|
|Common Oxidation State||Example Compound|
Charge of hypochlorite ion OCl- is -1. So we can calculate oxidation number of chlorine.
-2 + x = -1
x = +1
oxidation number of chlorine in Ca(OCl)2 is +1.
Oxidation number and charge of ion is not equal at every time.
As a metal, manganese have +7 oxidation number. Some example compounds for +7 are Potassium permanganate ( KMnO4 ), Mn2O7
As a non-metal, chlorine forms +7 oxidation number. HClO4, Cl2O7 are examples for +7 oxidation number of chlorine.
Fluorine has the zero or positive oxidation number always because fluorine is the most electronegative element in the periodic table. So it always gains an electron when fluorine combines with different element to form -1 oxidation number. Fluorine form zero oxidation number in F2 molecule.
In NaF and HF, oxidation number of fluorine is -1.
Chlorine gas (oxidation number 0) reacts with cold dilute NaOH or hot concentrated NaOH to give +1 and +5 oxidation states of chlorine atom respectively.
Group VII elements form highest oxidation numbers. From group VII, chlorine form +7 oxidation number.
Both manganese and chlorine have +7 oxidation number. In potassium permanganate ( KMnO4) and HMnO4, manganese oxidation number is +7. Chlorine forms chloric acid (HClO4) to show +7 oxidation number.
When oxidation number increases, acidity strength also increases. Consider acidity of different oxides of nitrogen.
N2O and NO are neutral acidic gases and other oxides of nitrogen ( N2O3, NO2, N2O4 and N2O5 ) are acidic. N2O5 is a strong acidic compound.