Finding The Oxidation Numbers for The Elements in Ca₃P₂


Finding The Oxidation Numbers for The Elements in Ca₃P₂

Find the oxidation numbers for Ca and P in Ca₃P₂. First, the sum of the oxidation numbers must add to zero for a compound. Second, create an algebraic equation based on the compound. Third, the key elements must be substituted into the algebraic equation. The only key element is Ca. Ca has a +2 oxidation number. Therefore, the oxidation for phosphorus(P) must be calculated. The algebraic equation will be 3Ca + 2P =  0. The +2 of Ca replaces the Ca in the algebraic equation. The equation now appears as 3(+2) + 2P = 0. Simplifying gives (+6) + 2P = 0. To solve for the oxidation number for P, -6 is added  to both sides. This gives 2P = -6. Dividing both sides by 2 shows P having a oxidaton number of -3. The -3 is one of the common oxidation numbers for phosphorus. 


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