Common oxidation Numbers
Bloomsburg University, Department of Chemistry, Hartline Science Center, Bloomsburg, PA 17815
J. Chem. Educ., 1998, 75 (2), p 187
Common oxidation numbers of nonmetals can be predicted from their electron box diagrams. Conditions necessary for atoms to achieve such common oxidation numbers are described. The presence of an odd number of electrons, homonuclear bonds, or attached atoms having electronegativities that bracket those of the atom under consideration lead to unusual oxidation numbers. The presence of P-H bonds leads to ambiguous oxidation number assignments because the relative electronegativities of phosphorus and hydrogen depend on the electronegativity scale employed. Several examples of chemical species containing atoms with unusual oxidation numbers are given.
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