Classification Of Oxides

This topic educates with the classification of oxides based on the nature and properties of compounds. Oxides are binary compounds formed by the reaction of oxygen with other elements. Oxygen is highly reactive in nature. They react with metals and non-metals to form oxides.

What are Oxides?

The classification of oxides is done into neutral, amphoteric and basic or acidic based on their acid-base characteristics.

  1. An acidic oxide is an oxide that when combined with water gives off an acid.
  2. A basic oxide is an oxide that when combined with water gives off a base.
  3. When a substance reacts chemically, both as a base or acid is termed as amphoteric oxide.
  4. Neutral Oxide is one that neither has an acidic characteristic nor a basic one.

Metal Oxides have an oxidation number of -2 and generally comprise an oxygen anion. The Earth’s crust is mostly made up of oxides that are solid. Oxide coatings can get formed over pure elements too, for instance, a foil made of aluminium gets covered by a thin skin of Al2O3, and this skin defends the rest of the foil from corrosion.

Also read:

Classification Of Oxides

Depending upon nature and the properties exhibited by compounds, they are classified into

  • Acidic oxides
  • Basic oxides
  • Amphoteric oxides
  • Neutral oxides

Basic oxide:

Metals react with oxygen to give basic compounds of oxygen. These compounds are usually ionic in nature. Group 1, 2 and lanthanides form basic compounds of oxygen when they react with dioxygen. During the formation of these compounds, a large amount of energy is released. These compounds readily react with water except for a few exceptions.

Examples: M2O3, MO2, ThO2

Na2O + H2O → 2NaOH

Acidic oxide:

Non-metals react with oxygen to form acidic compounds of oxides which are held together by covalent bonds. These compounds can also be called acid anhydrides. Acid anhydrides usually have a low melting and boiling point except for compounds like B2O3 and SiO2 which have high melting points and form giant molecules.

Examples: NO, CO2

SO3 + H2O → H2SO4

B2O3 + H2O → 2H3BO3

Amphoteric oxide:

Amphoteric oxides are compounds of oxygen which exhibit both acidic as well as basic characteristics. These oxides when reacting with acid undergo a neutralization reaction to form water and salt. This exhibits the basic property of the compounds. Similarly amphoteric oxides reacts with the alkali to form salt and water, exhibiting acidic properties. Example: aluminium oxide

Acidic characteristics:

Al2O3 + 6HCl → 2Al3+ + 6Cl + 3H2O

Basic characteristics:

Al2O3 +2OH + 3H2O → 2[Al (OH)4]

Neutral Oxides:

Some compounds react with oxygen to form oxides which do not exhibit acidic nor basic characteristics. Such compounds are called neutral compounds of oxygen.

Example: NO, CO.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is Oxide?

An oxide is a category of chemical compound that has one or more oxygen atoms as well as another element in its composition such as Li2O, CO2, H2O, etc.

What is the chemical formula of an oxide?

O2– is the chemical formula of an oxide.

Give three examples of basic oxides?

Examples of basic oxides are- sodium oxide, magnesium oxide and copper oxide.

Give an example of neutral oxide.

Carbon Monoxide is a neutral oxide. Though it is an oxide of non-metal carbon, it does not show acidic properties.

Write chemical equations to show the amphoteric nature of zinc oxide (ZnO).

Amphoteric oxides react with both acids and alkalis to form salt and water.
ZnO(s) + 2HCl(aq) → ZnCl2(aq) + H2O(l)
ZnO(s) + 2NaOH(a) → Na2ZnO2(aq) + H2O(l)

Download BYJU’S – The Learning App, to explore the amazing world of Chemistry with detailed explanations and creative videos.

Test your Knowledge on Classification of oxides!


Leave a Comment

Your Mobile number and Email id will not be published.




  2. thanks for the informattion

  3. helpful information thanks

  4. Thank you byjus it is really a brief content .