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March 26, 2017

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When looking at the Periodic Table, the oxidation state of hydrogen is +1; however my teacher told me that the net charge of hydrogen is 0. I do not understand why this is? Also, How may one calculate the charge of an element if only given the number of protons and neutrons (I attempted to answer this by looking at the Periodic table at the oxidation state, but was wrong) Thank you for your answer!

  • Chemistry - ,

    The oxidation state of H is +1 (most but not all of the time) and that simply tells you that it has a tendency to lose 1 electron and become +1 charged. However, H2 is a gas and all elements in the free state have an oxidation state of zero. H2 in the free state has neither gained no lost an electron. It does this by sharing the two electrons between the two atoms as in H:H. This way each H atom thinks it has two electrons to complete the outside shell. The answer to your secnd question is that you can't. The charge of an atom is determined by the number of protons - number of electrons. For example, if a chlorine atom has 17 protons and 17 electrons it has a zero charge. If it has 17 protons and 18 electrons it has a -1 charge. You can tell what oxidation state or charge may occur in reaction by looking the periodic table. Elements on the left tend to lose electrons; those on the right trend to gain electrons.

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