# What is the oxidation number of AgNO_3?

Aug 1, 2016

Well, we break up the compound into its ions, and then into its atoms, and assign the elemental oxidation numbers.

#### Explanation:

Silver nitrate is composed of $N {O}_{3}^{-}$ and Ag^+" ions. Clearly, $A {g}^{+}$ has a $+ I$ oxidation state. Why "clearly"?

For the gegenion, $N {O}_{3}^{-}$, the sum of the oxidation numbers equals the charge on the ion:

i.e. ${N}_{\text{Oxidation number"+3xxO_"Oxidation number}} = - 1$.

The oxidation number of $O$ is usually $- I I$ and it is here. And thus ${N}_{\text{oxidation number}} = + V$. Note that here nitrogen assumes its maximum oxidation number, the Group oxidation number $+ V$. Nitrates are highly oxidizing species, though often its oxidizing potential is masked in aqueous solution.