1. Oxidation state is defined as the Atoms containing charge after forming pure ionic bonds. It has both electropositive and electronegative charge which is determined from predefined nature of species from the periodic table. For example:
The oxidation state of iron is found to be in Fe2+, Fe3+ whereas chlorine is in Cl-.
2. It means the metallic species which loses electrons contain electropositive charge as cation and those of non-metallic gains electrons contain an electronegative charge.
3. Oxidation state can never be fractional. It can be applied for any compound or element.
4. Oxidation number is applied for coordination complexes composed of central metal and ligands and it is referred to the central atom charge which results when all electron pairs of ligands shared with the atom are removed.
5. It can be fractional, depending on ligands bind but it does not give an idea of the real charge of the central atom. For example;
has 6 ligands as cyanide ions that have a -1 charge on each. Let's assume ‘x’ as an oxidation state of metal.
6. The position of an element in the periodic table can be used to determine the oxidation state of an element. For example, the elements of group-1 always +1 whereas elements of group-2 always show +2 oxidation number.
7. The transition metals or d-clock elements exhibit variable oxidation number due to incomplete d-orbitals. Non-metals also show more than oxidation states.
An oxidation state or oxidation number is determined by the total number of electrons either lost or gained by an atom to form a chemical bond with another atom.
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The oxidation number of free atoms is always zero.
The oxidation number of ions is equal to their charge. For example in NaCl molecule the and has oxidation number +1 and has oxidation number -1.
The oxidation number of an element in a compound can be found knowing the charge on other elements of compounds. For example, has overall charge 0. We know chlorine is always -1 charged, three chlorine atoms means total negative charge is -3, to make the molecule neutral Al must have a charge of +3.
The oxidation number of any element’s free atom is always zero. In molecules when the electro-negativities of two elements are similar, the oxidation number is zero. For example in oxygen molecule (), chlorine molecule (), fluorine molecule () the oxidation number of elements is zero.
The oxidation state is the degree of oxidation of an atom in a given molecule. On the other hand oxidation number is a term used in coordination chemistry. It is the charge on the central metal atom after ligands are removed. Generally, both the terms are used interchangeably. But theoretically the both are different.
The oxidation number of an atom in a molecule indicates how many electrons that atom has lost or gained to form that molecule. Depending on that the oxidation number can be positive, negative or zero. Therefore, oxidation number is useful in counting the electrons of an atom in the molecule.