Sulfur in SO2 has an oxidation number of +4. To calculate this oxidation number, remember that the sum of the oxidation numbers of atoms in neutral compounds must equal zero. The oxidation number of oxygen in the chemical sulphur dioxide (SO2) is -2.
It’s as simple as applying the formula SO2 and writing the oxidation numbers as S = (x) and O2 = 2(-2) = -4 to obtain the oxidation number of sulphur. The equation becomes x +(-4) = 0 by applying the formula and adding the oxidation values of the compound. When you solve for x, you’ll notice that the oxidation number for sulphur is +4.
The oxidation number of an atom in a chemical compound refers to the charge that atoms have if the substance is made up entirely of ions. There are guidelines for assigning oxidation numbers when constructing compound formulations or reactions.
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