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Determining the Oxidation State of an Element in a Compound

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How do you determine the oxidation state of an element in a compound? Two well-known compounds KMnO4 and K2Cr2O7 are used as examples.

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Solution Summary

In this posting a simple method to determine the oxidation state of an element in a compound is described. The explanation is clear and self-contained in the sense that the terminology is explained wherever required. Two well-known compounds KMnO4 and K2Cr2O7 are taken as examples.

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How to find the oxidation state of an element in a compound?

This solution shows the method of finding the oxidation state( also called oxidation number) of an element in any compound. It does not matter how many elements are present in the compound. The simple rule and basic math are the two most important tools to determine the oxidation state in a chemical compound. The basic concepts with clear explanation of terminology is shown with the purpose that:

Chemistry like any other science is very easy as long as we understand the concepts.

So the most important basic concept in the present context is:

Every chemical compound is neutral.

It means that chemical compounds do not carry any charge unless they are dissolved in a solvent. They break into ions (charged entities) only when dissolved in aqueous (water) solutions. Potassium permanganate and potassium dichromate ...

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