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


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


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.