The oxidation state, sometimes referred to as oxidation number, describes the degree of oxidation (loss of electrons) of an atom in a chemical compound.Conceptually, the oxidation state, which may be positive, negative or zero, is the hypothetical charge that an atom would have if all bonds to atoms of different elements were 100% ionic, with no covalent component. Thus the oxidation state of a one-carbon fragment is unambiguous and defined by the number of C-H bonds that have been replaced by C-X bonds, where X = any electronegative element (see periodic table on previous page). A clue can be found in the oxidation states of the carbon atoms in each molecule. So unlike metals, which are almost always in a positive oxidation state, the oxidation state of carbon can vary widely, from -4 (in CH4) to +4 (such as in CO2). For example, carbon monoxide reduces many hot metal oxides to the metal - a reaction which is used, for example, in the extraction of iron in a blast furnace. CH4 and diamond respectively are A..+3 , 4 and +4 B..+3, −4 and zero C..+6, +4 and zero D..+6, +4 and +4 Oxidation State of Organic Molecules The most reduced form of carbon is CH 4, the most oxidized is CO 2. Your calculation is assuming that all of the carbon atoms in octane have the same oxidation state, which is incorrect. And how can I find that out? Thread starter Steelersfan2009; Start date Jun 24, 2009; Search. Oxidation state of Carbon in Urea. So i will assign it "5". H is +1 .....H2 = 2*1 = 2. The two terminal carbons have an oxidation state of -3 while the inner 6 have oxidation states of -2. So if i arrange them in increasing order of O.N (of carbon) : CH4 < CH3OH = CH2 < CH2O < CHOOH. (Don’t forget that this is called a “formalism” for a reason. The procedure for calculating the oxidation level of an atom is similar to that for determining its formal charge. So let's go over and put in our bonding electrons, so we put in all of our bonding electrons here, and we think about the oxidation state of carbon, we think about electronegativities. Move your mouse over the structures below to see the oxidation state of each atom. So we know that carbon's oxidation state should be plus two in the formic acid molecule here. Taking the average of these values gives you an average oxidation state, which in your case is a fractional number. oxidation state of the 13-carbon of an acylcoenzyme A is raised by every reaction of the 13-oxidation pathway, the sequence of states being -2, -1, 0, +2, +3. O is -2 .....O3 = 3*(-2) = -6. ; Here are some examples. For example, during the combustion of methane, which produces carbon dioxide, the oxidation level of the carbon atom changes from -4 to +4 as shown in Figure 1. Since O.N of carbon of CHOOH is greatest , it has been the most oxidized. Carbon monoxide is a strong reducing agent because it is easily oxidised to carbon dioxide - where the oxidation state is the more thermodynamically stable +4. So a carbon attached to 4 carbons has an oxidation state of zero. Since O.N Of carbon of CH4 is smaller , it has be the most reduced. SO i will assign it "1" Thats how i think its supposed to be done. The sum of all oxidation numbers is 0. Figure 1: Oxidation Levels of Carbon: Low and High. Search engine: XenForo Search; Threadloom Search; Search titles only.