The importance of oxidation states?

Hey there, not too long ago I covered oxidation states in my AS chemistry course. I was wondering what the relevance of oxidation states is? I just don't seem to understand how the oxidation state of sulphur in H2SO3 would be important to know? I know that the state of sulphur there is 4 though.

Also, why is the acid name based on the sulphur oxidation state [ sulphuric (IV) acid ] ?

Just as one separate question, sorry, but please could someone explain why a Cl2- ion would displace Iodine for example in NaI , where in the equation I2- and 2Cl would form ? My thought was that the chlorine ion wouldn't react due to electronegativity

1 Answer

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Oxidation states are important because they basically tell you what the charge on the species is.

    E.g. the oxidation state of Na+ is +1, on MnO4- you have to look individually on Mn and O (which are +7 and -2, respectively)

    The reason that you name an acid based on the oxidation state is because sometimes elements (particularly transition metals) can have more than 1 oxidation state, so that you know which one you are dealing with! although in the case of sulphuric (IV) acid it's just redundant because it's normally just H2SO4 anyway...

    But for example iron can be Fe3+ or Fe 2+ so you want to know which one you're dealing with...

    Your 2nd question is too ambiguous to answer directly (an equation would be nice) sorry! ^q^

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