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Topic: Why does it make sense to speak of oxidized or reduced COMPOUNDS?  (Read 1762 times)

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Offline pastpeak

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People often talk about compounds being oxidized or reduced. E.g., nitrite is oxidized to give nitrate. Or NAD+ is reduced to give NADH. But oxidation state applies to specific atoms within compounds, not to compounds as a whole. Is this just sloppy usage? Or are there some rules or heuristics that apply to such statements that make their meaning clear and unambiguous?

Offline Borek

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Re: Why does it make sense to speak of oxidized or reduced COMPOUNDS?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 05:34:44 PM »
Oxidation state (or oxidation number) doesn't have - especially in compounds - any related property that can be measured. Quite often we just assign oxidation state to central atom to make description easier, but it has nothing to do with reality. So it is perfectly correct to say that MnO4- got reduced to MnO42-.
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