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Oxidization C2H5OH -> CO2

  1. Oct 7, 2003 #1
    C2H5OH -> CO2

    "Carbon is oxidized from an oxidation state of -2 in C2H5OH to +4 in CO2"

    Don't the rules for oxidation states say that a monatomic ion is the same as its charge, therefore, C cannot be -2 because -4 (C) + 5 (H) + -1 (OH) yields 0 as a charge?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 7, 2003 #2

    Because molecules like this one must have an electrical charge of 0 while ions must have their charges equaling what they specify.

    20 mins wasted searching in my brain
  4. Oct 8, 2003 #3
    First off, you need to decide which carbon atom you're talking about. Because you've got two different carbon atoms in two different states. The structure of ethanol is:


    This is a neutral molecule, and the sum of the oxidation states will be 0. That's not a hydroxide ion, but an oxygen covalently bonded to carbon.

    Just follow the rules and you'll be fine.
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