Solution: Using Lewis formulas, assign oxidation states to the atoms ina) H2CO (g)H =C =O =b) CH3OH (l)C =H =O =H =  (last H)

Problem

Using Lewis formulas, assign oxidation states to the atoms in

a) H2CO (g)

H =

C =

O =

b) CH3OH (l)

C =

H =

O =

H =  (last H)

Solution

We’re asked to assign the oxidation states of each atom in the structure of two molecules.

First, let's remember some of the general rules about oxidation states or numbers:

  • In an ion, all the oxidation numbers must add up the charge of the ion.
  • In a neutral compound, all oxidation numbers must add to zero.
  • For a Hydrogen atom bonded with non-metals, H = +1.
  • For a Hydrogen atom bonded with metals (or Boron), H = -1.
  • For Oxygen, O = -2 (except when its a peroxide or superoxide)
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