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Vanadium ii oxide is an important compound that is used in the Contact Process for manufacturing sulphuric acid. It is also one of the main components of ultra-high capacity vanadium redox batteries that are sometimes used in grid level storage.
Reactions for Changing Vanadium Oxidation States
The metal vanadium has oxidation states of +5, +4, and +2 and is able to change between them by adding different acids. Generally it is easier to change from a +5 state to a +4 or from a +4 to a +2 state because the reductive potential is lower for this, but you can change between these states in the same way as with a +1 oxidation state.
This can be done by adding a zinc reducing agent to the solution, or if you prefer, you can use a tin reducing agent instead. Zinc reduces the vanadium through all of the reductions to give a vanadium(II) ion and tin will reduce it only through the final vanadium(III) ion.
Adding nitric acid will oxidise the vanadium(II) to vanadium(IV), releasing blue VO2+ ions. The nitric acid is a fairly strong oxidising agent and the Edeg values are more positive than for the original vanadium(II) oxidation state.