What is the oxidation number of Pb3O4?

Asked on by edobro

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jerichorayel | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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The oxidation number is used in assigning the charged state of elements in any compound, ions and molecules. It can also indicate the state of oxidation of any element in a chemical compound. 

The oxidation state of elements varies depending on the nature of the compound. We can acquire that by inspection and/or algebraic method.

For `Pb_3O_4` , there are series of assumptions:

-the net charge is zero (neutral compound).
-The oxidation number of O is always -2 (unless otherwise stated)
-the oxidation number of Pb is unknown (x).

The algebraic expression can be written as:

`3(x) + 4 (-2) = 0`

  • 3 = number of Pb atoms
  • 4 = number of O atoms
  • -2 = charge of O atom
  • 0 = net charge 

`3x + (-8) = 0`

`3x =8`

`x = 8/3`

Having a fraction answer for the oxidation state is rare but possible. 


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