# How do you find oxidation numbers of elements?

Jul 26, 2016

Normally an element is zerovalent; that is it has an oxidation number of $0$.

#### Explanation:

When we assign oxidation numbers to atoms in molecules we formally separate charges and electrons. An element is conceived to have a $0$ oxidation state, in that electron transfer has not taken place.

For instance in the simple combustion rxn:

$C + {O}_{2} \rightarrow C {O}_{2}$

The carbon is the reductant, and transfers electron to the oxidant; clearly a redox process is exemplified.