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The element iron in its +2 oxidation state / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In chemistry, iron(II) refers to the element iron in its +2 oxidation state. In ionic compounds (salts), such an atom may occur as a separate cation (positive ion) denoted by Fe2+.

Iron(II) oxide (ferrous oxide), FeO.
Iron(II) chloride tetrahydrate, FeCl2·4H2O.

The adjective ferrous or the prefix ferro- is often used to specify such compounds — as in "ferrous chloride" for iron(II) chloride, FeCl2. The adjective "ferric" is used instead for iron(III) salts, containing the cation or Fe3+. The word ferrous is derived from the Latin word ferrum for iron.

Iron(II) atoms may also occur as coordination complexes, such as the polymer iron(II) oxalate dihydrate, [Fe(C2O4)(H2O)2]n or [Fe2+][C2O2−4][H2O]2n; and organometallic compounds, such as the neutral molecule ferrocene, Fe(C2H5)2 or [Fe2+][C5H5]2.

Iron is almost always encountered in the oxidation states 0 (as in the metal), +2, or +3. Solid iron(II) salts are relatively stable in air, but in the presence of air and water they tend to oxidize to iron(III) salts that include hydroxide (HO) or oxide (O2−) anions.