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vanadium ii oxide formula
The element vanadium has a pretty impressive list of stable oxidation states. It’s a great metal for alloying, combining with nearly all non-metals and it can catalyze lots of useful reactions.
This week, Brian Clegg looks at the chemistry of one of the most intriguing vanadium compounds – vanadium ii oxide. It’s a poisonous orange solid that can be used to make sulfuric acid, but it also acts as a catalyst for some very complex aerobic oxidation reactions.
It’s an unusual solid because it reversibly loses oxygen at room temperature. This is a pretty big advantage as it allows the large scale aerobic oxidation reactions to be performed without releasing any dangerous oxygen gas.
What’s more, this compound is a great model of what can happen when you change the oxidation state (oxidation number) of the metal. This makes it a good candidate for a chemical reaction that explains how the Contact Process produces sulfuric acid from sulfur dioxide and oxygen.
Vanadium ii oxide reacts with zinc to reduce the vanadium from its +5 oxidation state to its +4 oxidation state. This is the first of a series of reductions that will eventually give you vanadium(II) ion.
In the next two steps, you’ll replace the reducing agent with tin and see how far the reductions can go. Tin has a more positive Edeg value than zinc, so the vanadium can be reduced to its final oxidation state.