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Topic: Oxidation number of the carbon atom in methanol  (Read 26536 times)

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Offline uman

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Oxidation number of the carbon atom in methanol
« on: February 15, 2008, 07:27:54 PM »
Hi,

What is the oxidation number of the carbon atom in methanol?

I claim that it is +1, because C-H bonds are nonpolar, so there is an oxidation number of 0 for each hydrogen atom, and the OH group has an oxidation number of -1, leading to an oxidation number of +1 for the carbon atom.

My friend disagrees, claiming that hydrogen atoms are always considered to have an oxidation number of +1 when bonded to a nonmetal and therefore that the oxidation number of the carbon atom is -2.

Neither one of us is very sure, however. Who is correct?

Thank you.

Offline Sev

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Re: Oxidation number of the carbon atom in methanol
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2008, 09:49:41 PM »
Your friend is right.  Remember, carbon is more electronegative than hydrogen.

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