How do you use electronegativity values to determine the one element that always has a negative oxidation number when it appears in any binary compound?

1 Answer
Mar 11, 2017

Answer:

Well, which is the most electronegative element.........?

Explanation:

On most electronegativity scales, fluorine is the most electronegative element. What does electronegativity mean? It is conceived to be the ability of an atom involved in a chemical bond to polarize electron density towards itself.

So let's look at some simple compounds (or molecules) of fluorine: interhalogens, #F-X#; and #OF_2#. The oxidation states of the heteroatom are #X^(+I)# and #O^(+II)#, and of course we have #F^(-I)#. What is the oxidation number of fluorine in molecular fluorine, #F_2#?

As a curiosity that speaks to fluorine's oxidizing ability, and reactivity, some fluorine chemists I have met are missing eyes or fingers after a laboratory accident. Fluorine chemistry is to be approached with care.