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What are non-metallic oxides?

The non – metal oxides are binary compounds formed between a nonmetal with positive oxidation state and oxygen oxidation state -2. Also called acid anhydrides and oxides, these compounds tend to form acidic solutions when dissolved in water, and they also tend to react with basic oxides to form oxysalt salts.

Non-metallic oxides are very common in nature. In fact, they are everywhere. Water, the vital liquid that covers two-thirds of the earth’s surface, is a non-metallic oxide. So are the carbon dioxide that we exhale during our breathing and the sulfur oxides that pollute the air and cause acid rain.

Being made up of non-metals and oxygen (which is also a non-metal), the bonds that join their atoms are covalent bonds, in most cases not very polar. For this reason, the vast majority of non-metallic oxides or anhydrides have considerably low boiling points , and many of them are gases at room temperature.

Properties of non-metallic oxides

  • They have no metallic luster or shine.
  • They can have different colors.
  • Its atoms are linked by means of covalent bonds rather than ionic bonds.
  • They are made up of oxygen and a non-metal.
  • Compared to metal oxides, they tend to have low melting and boiling points, although very diverse.
  • Most are gases, but they can also be found in a solid state (such as N 2 O 3 ) or liquid at room temperature.
  • Solid non-metallic oxides are often brittle and can have different hardnesses.
  • They are poor conductors of heat and electricity.
  • When dissolved in water, they react to form oxacid acids.
  • Some of its oxacid acids are strong acids that tend to form anions or oxyanions in aqueous solution.
  • They react with basic oxides to form oxysal salts.

Types of non-metallic oxides

There is no formal or universally accepted classification of non-metallic oxides. However, these can be grouped according to their acid-base properties.

Although non-metallic oxides are also called acid oxides, not all of them always react as acids with other compounds. In view of this, three different types of non-metallic oxides can be identified based on their acid / base properties:

Acidic non-metallic oxides

They are by far the most common. The vast majority of the compounds between oxygen and another non-metal, regardless of their oxidation state, produce mineral acids when dissolved in water, giving rise to acidic solutions.

  • Some examples of acidic oxides are nitric anhydride (N 2 O 5 ) and sulfuric anhydride (SO 3 ).

Neutral non-metallic oxides

Some non-metallic oxides do not react with water at all when dissolved in it. In these cases, the resulting solution is neutral (it is neither acidic nor basic).

  • Some examples of neutral oxides are carbon monoxide (CO), nitrous oxide (N₂O), and chlorine dioxide (ClO 2 ).

Amphoteric non-metallic oxides

The term amphoteric refers to the ability of a chemical compound to behave as an acid or a base, depending on who it reacts with. That is, they are compounds that are both acids and bases at the same time.

  • Among the amphoteric non-metallic oxides, the most common is water (H 2 O). Water is amphoteric, since it is capable of giving a proton to a base (acting as an acid), but it is also capable of receiving a proton from an acid (acting as a base).

Examples of non-metallic oxides

Below are the most common non-metallic oxides of each non-metal, along with their molecular formula, their name according to the IUPAC systematic nomenclature, according to the Stock nomenclature, and according to the traditional nomenclature:

Carbon oxides

Formula

IUPAC systematic name

Stock Nomenclature

Traditional name

CO

Carbon monoxide

Carbon (II) oxide

Carbonaceous anhydride

CO2

Carbon dioxide

Carbon (IV) oxide

Carbon dioxide

Nitrogen oxides

Formula

IUPAC systematic name

Stock Nomenclature

Traditional name

N2O

Dinitrogen monoxide

Nitrogen oxide (I)

Nitrous oxide

(hyponitrous anhydride)

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Nitrogen monoxide

Nitrogen (II) oxide

Nitric oxide

N2O3

Dinitrogen trioxide

Nitrogen (III) oxide

Nitrous anhydride

N2O4

Dinitrogen tetraoxide

Nitrogen (IV) oxide

Nitrogen tetraoxide

NO2

Nitrogen dioxide

Nitrogen (IV) oxide

Nitrogen dioxide

N2O5

Dinitrogen pentaoxide

Nitrogen oxide (V)

Nitric anhydride

Phosphorus oxides

Formula

IUPAC systematic name

Stock Nomenclature

Traditional name

P2O3

Diphosphorus trioxide

Phosphorous (III) oxide

Phosphorous anhydride

P2O5

Diphosphorus pentaoxide

Phosphorous oxide (V)

Phosphoric anhydride

P2O4

Diphosphorus tetraoxide

Phosphorous oxide (III, V)

Arsenic oxides

Formula

IUPAC systematic name

Stock Nomenclature

Traditional name

As2O3

Diarsenic trioxide

Arsenic (III) oxide

Arsenous anhydride

As2O5

Diarsenic pentaoxide

Arsenic oxide (V)

Arsenic anhydride

Antimony Oxides

Formula

IUPAC systematic name

Stock Nomenclature

Traditional name

Sb2O3

Diantimony trioxide

Antimony (III) oxide

Antimonious anhydride

Sb2O5

Diantimony pentaoxide

Antimony (V) oxide

Antimonic anhydride

Sulfur oxides

Formula

IUPAC systematic name

Stock Nomenclature

Traditional name

SW

Sulfur monoxide

Sulfur (II) oxide

Hyposulfurous anhydride

SO2

Sulfur dioxide

Sulfur (IV) oxide

Sulfur anhydride

SO3

Sulfur trioxide

Sulfur oxide (VI)

Sulfuric anhydride

Selenium oxides

Formula

IUPAC systematic name

Stock Nomenclature

Traditional name

SeO

Selenium monoxide

Selenium (II) oxide

Hyposelenious anhydride

SeO2

Selenium dioxide

Selenium (IV) oxide

Selenium anhydride

SeO3

Selenium trioxide

Selenium (VI) oxide

Selenic anhydride

Tellurium oxides

Formula

IUPAC systematic name

Stock Nomenclature

Traditional name

TeO

Tellurium monoxide

Tellurium (II) oxide

Hypotelous anhydride

TeO2

Tellurium dioxide

Tellurium (IV) oxide

Tellurium anhydride

TeO3

Tellurium trioxide

Tellurium (VI) oxide

Telluric anhydride

Chlorine oxides

Formula

IUPAC systematic name

Stock Nomenclature

Traditional name

Cl2O

Chlorine monoxide

Chlorine (I) oxide

Hypochlorous anhydride

Cl2O3

Chlorine trioxide

Chlorine (III) oxide

Chlorous anhydride

Cl2O5

Chlorine pentaoxide

Chlorine oxide (V)

Chloric anhydride

Cl2O7

Chlorine heptaoxide

Chlorine oxide (VII)

Perchloric anhydride

Bromine oxides

Formula

IUPAC systematic name

Stock Nomenclature

Traditional name

Br2O

Bromine monoxide

Bromine (I) oxide

Hypobromous anhydride

Br2O3

Bromine trioxide

Bromine (III) oxide

Bromous anhydride

Br2O5

Bromine pentaoxide

Bromine oxide (V)

Bromic anhydride

Br2O7

Bromine heptaoxide

Bromine (VII) oxide

Perbromic anhydride

Oxides of iodine

Formula

IUPAC systematic name

Stock Nomenclature

Traditional name

I2O

Iodine monoxide

Iodine (I) oxide

Hypoiodine anhydride

I2O3

Iodine trioxide

Iodine (III) oxide

Iodine anhydride

I2O5

Iodine pentaoxide

Iodine oxide (V)

Iodium anhydride

I2O7

Iodine heptaxide

Iodine (VII) oxide

Periodic anhydride

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