shalilm
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Im not so sure about the difference between oxidation number and oxidation state , i couldnt find an answer that explained clearly the distinction between the two. can they be used interchangeably?
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lewisli_
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Yes, they mean the same thing
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Tom-valley24
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Oxidation is the loss of electrons and reduction is the gaining of electrons, best start with the basics.
Now the use of oxidation state allows chemists to determine what in the stochiometric equation has been oxidised and what has been reduced, hence allowing us to further deduce what is the oxidising agent and what is the reducing agent. So a gain in oxidation state of an element tells us that that element has been oxidised, and therefore a reduction in oxidation sate tells us what has been reduced.
So the overall idea of oxidation state is to allow us to visualise electron transfer in a chemical reaction, so an increase tells us what has lost electrons.
When using oxidation states there are 4 imperative rules:
- For lone atoms of elements they have an oxidation state of 0.
-For compounds the sum of the oxidation state is zero.
- The oxidation state for simple ions is just the charge on the ion, eg F- has an oxidation state of -1.
- More ions gthat contain more than one element they must have an overall oxidation state to the charge on the ion.

Hope this help....
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charco
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(Original post by Tom-valley24)
Oxidation is the loss of electrons and reduction is the gaining of electrons, best start with the basics.
Now the use of oxidation state allows chemists to determine what in the stochiometric equation has been oxidised and what has been reduced, hence allowing us to further deduce what is the oxidising agent and what is the reducing agent. So a gain in oxidation state of an element tells us that that element has been oxidised, and therefore a reduction in oxidation sate tells us what has been reduced.
So the overall idea of oxidation state is to allow us to visualise electron transfer in a chemical reaction, so an increase tells us what has lost electrons.
When using oxidation states there are 4 imperative rules:
- For lone atoms of elements they have an oxidation state of 0.
-For compounds the sum of the oxidation state is zero.
- The oxidation state for simple ions is just the charge on the ion, eg F- has an oxidation state of -1.
- More ions gthat contain more than one element they must have an overall oxidation state to the charge on the ion.

Hope this help....
Your rules 2, 3 and 4 can actually be expressed in 1 rule:

"The sum of the oxidation states equals the charge on the species"
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Tom-valley24
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Well thank you for that invaluable point, that i had already made!!! Its called detail.
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MexicanKeith
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(Original post by Tom-valley24)
Well thank you for that invaluable point, that i had already made!!! Its called detail.
detail?

I'd sooner call it over-complication.
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Tom-valley24
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Are the terms compound and atom interchangable? Obviosuly not since a ompound is a collection of atoms, therefore a new point had to be made....
See ya
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Pigster
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(Original post by Tom-valley24)
Are the terms compound and atom interchangable? Obviosuly not since a ompound is a collection of atoms, therefore a new point had to be made....
See ya

(Original post by charco)
Your rules 2, 3 and 4 can actually be expressed in 1 rule:

"The sum of the oxidation states equals the charge on the species"
charco, if you get a notification, I have quoted you, not to educate, but to add to your point.

I would argue that rule 1 should also be added.

Whether it is a lone atom, a molecular element, a compound or an ion, the rule is: "the oxidation numbers sum to the charge on the species".

1. He - no charge shown, o.n. = 0
2. H2 - no charge shown, o.n. sums to 0, since there is no difference in electronegativity, both must be 0.
3. HF - no charge shown, o.n. sums to 0, F is more electronegative, F = -1 and H = +1
4. NH4+ 1+ charge shown, o.n. will sum to +1, since N is more electronegative, that will be -ve, H will be +ve (and can only go to +1, therefore 4x H = total o.n. of +4), therefore +4 + x = +1, x = -3.

One rule can be applied, there is no need for "4 imperative rules". MexicanKeith is correct, your version is an "over-complication".
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Tom-valley24
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four points just improves clarity. One point creates room for misconception
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Tom-valley24
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Besides my point was liked, so i infer that my point did have an element of clarity to the person who submitted the question....
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