What is the nitrogen oxidation state in ammonia?

1 Answer
Jul 31, 2017

Answer:

Ain't we got #stackrel(-III)N#?

Explanation:

We have #NH_3#, and the electrons in each #N-H# are assigned to the most electronegative element, i.e. to nitrogen....and so we gots #N(-III)# and #3xxH(+I)#; the sum of the oxidation numbers is equal to the charge on the resultant species, i.e. #0#.

Note that this makes sense when we speak of dinitrogen reduction, i.e. the reduction of zerovalent dinitrogen gas.......

#1/2stackrel(0)"N"_2(g) +3/2stackrel(0)"H"_2(g) rarr stackrel(-III)" NH"_3(g)#

....which is about the most important inorganic reaction on the planet. Here hydrogen is oxidized to #stackrel(+I)H# and nitrogen reduced to #stackrel(-III)N#. Capisce?