How do find oxidation numbers with respect to carbon in an unsaturated molecule?

1 Answer
Oct 13, 2016

Answer:

Are you asking how to find the oxidation numbers of #C# in a molecule of, say, #"propane"#?

Explanation:

Well, as for any neutral molecule or salt, the sum of the oxidation numbers is #"zero"#. The oxidation number of hydrogen is usually #+I# and it is here. Because the electrons in an element-element bond (i.e. in a #C-C# bond) are conceived to be shared, this gives for propane, #H_3C*+:CH_2+*CH_3#, i.e. oxidation numbers of #2xx-III" + "-II#. The average oxidation number of #C# is #-8/3#.

When these carbons are oxidized to carbon dioxide, what is their oxidation number? See here for other examples.