# What is the Oxidation Number of Ammonia and How to Find It

Ammonia's oxidation number indicates its charge in compounds. By following rules, we can find it and understand its chemical role.

Sarah Taylor-

Published on 2023-06-07

## Introduction

Ammonia, with the chemical formula NH3, is a compound commonly encountered in various industrial, agricultural, and household settings. Understanding the oxidation number of ammonia is crucial in determining its role in chemical reactions and understanding its behavior. In this article, we will explore the concept of oxidation numbers, delve into the oxidation number of ammonia, and provide a step-by-step guide on how to calculate it.

## Understanding Oxidation Numbers

Oxidation numbers, also known as oxidation states, are values assigned to atoms within a compound to indicate their relative electron distribution. These numbers help us track the electron transfer that occurs during chemical reactions. Oxidation numbers can be positive, negative, or even fractional, depending on the electronegativity and bonding characteristics of the elements involved.

## Determining the Oxidation Number of Ammonia

To find the oxidation number of ammonia, we need to consider the electronegativity and known oxidation numbers of the elements involved. In ammonia (NH3), nitrogen (N) has an unknown oxidation number, while hydrogen (H) has an oxidation number of +1. Oxygen is not present in ammonia, so we don't need to consider its oxidation number.

### Step 1: Determine the known oxidation numbers:

The known oxidation number of hydrogen (H) is +1.

### Step 2: Assign an unknown oxidation number to nitrogen (N):

Since we know the oxidation number of hydrogen is +1, we can assume that the overall charge of ammonia is zero. Since there are three hydrogen atoms, the total oxidation number contribution from hydrogen is +3. To balance the overall charge, nitrogen must have an oxidation number of -3.

### Step 3: Confirm the sum of the oxidation numbers:

By adding up the oxidation numbers of each element in ammonia, we can verify that they equal zero. In this case, the oxidation number of nitrogen (-3) plus the oxidation numbers of hydrogen (+1 +1 +1) equals zero.

### Final Result:

The oxidation number of nitrogen in ammonia (NH3) is -3.

## Conclusion

Determining the oxidation number of ammonia (NH3) involves assigning oxidation numbers to each element present in the compound. In the case of ammonia, the oxidation number of nitrogen is -3, while hydrogen has an oxidation number of +1. These oxidation numbers reflect the electron distribution and allow us to track the electron transfer in chemical reactions involving ammonia.

Understanding the oxidation number of ammonia is essential for predicting and explaining its behavior in various chemical reactions. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can confidently calculate the oxidation number of ammonia and apply this knowledge in your studies or practical applications.