Vanadium Charge: The Vanadium Ions And Their Applications

The charge of vanadium makes it a valuable metal across various industries. Vanadium (V) is the third transition metal with atomic number 23, lying between scandium and chromium in period 4. Like every transition metal, vanadium can exhibit a wide range of oxidation states.

As a result, it can also lose different numbers of electrons to form ions with varying charges. This is the reason behind the different vanadium ions you see. Also, it makes it difficult to put one charge on the metal.

In this article, you will find clarity about the charge of vanadium. It also details the various applications of vanadium charge across various industries.

About vanadium

  • Vanadium is a hard, shiny, silvery-gray metal with a metallic luster
  • Vanadium occurs in combination with minerals, coal, and petroleum. When free vanadium is isolated, it undergoes passivation, a process that creates an oxide layer over the surface of the metal to prevent oxidation
  • Vanadium is a solid metal at STP with a boiling point of 6,165°F (3,407°C) and a melting 3,470°F (1,910°C)
  • The solid metal has a density of 6.11 g/cm3 but near its melting point, the density drops to 5.5 g/cm3
  • Vanadium is relatively ductile and malleable but not like other metals like iron and copper
  • This metal is highly resistant to corrosion which is why it finds application in systems where exposure to corrosion is inevitable but not favorable
  • It is also a good conductor of electricity but shows weak magnetic properties
  • Vanadium is strong and is used in alloying, especially in combination with steel
  • In addition, vanadium can exhibit a wide range of oxidation states ranging from -3 to +5 but +2, +3, +4, and +5 are the more common oxidation states
  • Its ability to exist in different oxidation states makes it form different colored compounds in the different oxidation states
  • Vanadium also forms complexes with a wide range of ligands depending on its oxidation state
  • Vanadium readily gets into redox reactions where it can lose or gain electrons and have multiple oxidation states

What is the charge of vanadium?

The charge of vanadium depends on its oxidation state and how many electrons it loses in a reaction to form an ion. As a metal, it is more likely to form cations, that is, it will rather gain electrons and have a positive charge than anions with a negative charge.

As a result of its multiple oxidation states, vanadium also has multiple charges: +2, +3, +4, and +5. The +3 and +5 charges are the most common charge of vanadium.

Vanadium ions


Vanadium(II), V2+, is in its +2 oxidation state. This ion is formed when vanadium loses two electrons. It is relatively unstable in aqueous solutions and tends to undergo oxidation and form higher oxidation states.

Most vanadium(II) compounds are blue or green, but there could be other colors depending on the ligand in the compound. It is commonly used as a catalyst in chemical reactions.


The vanadium(III) ion, V3+, is short of three electrons and has partially filled d-orbitals. The partially filled orbitals are responsible for their magnetic properties.

Vanadium(III) is more stable than vanadium(II) but can also undergo further oxidation to higher oxidation states. It also forms complexes and colored compounds with ligands, which will determine the color of the compound.

This ion finds application in steel production, some catalytic reactions, and energy storage and battery technologies.


This vanadium ion (V4+) is four electrons less than the neutral vanadium atom. It can be further oxidized to vanadium(V), a higher oxidation state. Vanadium(IV) is more stable than the lower oxidation states but not as stable as vanadium(V).

V4+ readily forms coordination complexes with ligands. It also forms colored compounds which could be blue, green, or violet.

A common use of this vanadium ion is for catalyzing certain chemical reactions. Recent studies show that vanadium(IV) is relevant to the metabolic processes in some microorganisms.


This vanadium ion (V5+) has the highest oxidation state and charge and is the most stable. Its stability makes it find more applications than the other vanadium ions. V5+ also forms complexes and colored compounds with ligands. Common colors of vanadium(V) are yellow, red, and orange.

Vanadium(V) compounds are commonly used in the production of high-strength steel, ceramics, and glass. V2O5 is used as a catalyst in the synthesis of sulfuric acid.

What is the effective nuclear charge of vanadium?

Here’s how to determine the effective nuclear charge of vanadium:

Zeff = Z – S

Where Z is the nuclear charge 23

S is the shielding constant which will be determined below using Slater’s rule

The electronic configuration of vanadium is 1s22s22p63s23p63d34s2.

Electrons in 1s22s22p6 have a shielding effect of 1, electrons in 3s23p63d3 have a shielding effect of 0.85, and the remaining electron in 4s2 (besides the electron of concern) have a shielding effect of 0.35.


= (10 x 1) + (11 x 0.85) + (1 x 0.35)

= 10 + 9.35 + 0.35

S = 19.7

Zeff = 23 – 19.7

Zeff = 3.3

What is the charge of vanadium in vanadium oxides?

The different vanadium oxides and their respective charges are:

  • Vanadium monoxide or vanadium(II) oxide (VO) —— +2
  • Vanadium trioxide or vanadium(III) oxide (V2O3) —— +3
  • Vanadium dioxide or vanadium(IV) oxide (VO2) —— +4
  • Vanadium pentoxide or vanadium(V) oxide (V2O5) —— +5

What are the reactions of vanadium?

Reaction with air

Vanadium is oxidized to vanadium(V) oxide, V2O5, in the presence of excess oxygen. But, in some cases, this oxide of vanadium may contain other oxides too. The reaction is as follows:

4V (s) + 5O2 (g) ———> 2V2O5 (s)

Acid-base reactions

Vanadium can act as an acid and a base in chemical reactions. It donates protons in acidic solutions and accepts protons in basic solutions.

Redox reactions

Vanadium ions with lower oxidation states can be oxidized to ions with higher oxidation states. For instance, vanadium(II) will lose more electrons and be oxidized to higher oxidation states like vanadium(III), vanadium(IV) or vanadium(V).

Reaction with fluorine

Fluorine is the only known halogen that vanadium reacts with. Vanadium reacts with warm fluorine to form vanadium pentahalide.

2V (s) + F2 (g) ———> 2VF5 (l)


Which vanadium ion is more stable?

Vanadium(V) is the most stable vanadium ion. This ion is formed when the neutral vanadium loses all five electrons in its outermost shell. As a result, it is not likely to undergo oxidation or reduction reactions.

The stability of this ion contributes to its application in energy storage systems and catalytic reactions.

Which charge of vanadium is likely to form more compounds?

Vanadium(V), V5+, is the charge that is more likely to form compounds. This is one of the stable ions of vanadium due to its ability to lose its five outer electrons and have filled outer orbitals.

How many particles are in vanadium(III)?

Vanadium(III) is a vanadium ion that has lost three electrons. Therefore, it contains 20 electrons, 23 protons, and 28 neutrons.


The various charges of vanadium are influenced by its ability to exhibit a wide range of oxidation states. This also contributes significantly to its diverse applications and reactions.

Vanadium ions are V2+, V3+, V4+, and V5+. Of the five of them, V5+ is the most stable and versatile vanadium ion.

In addition, vanadium is more likely to form compounds in its +5 oxidation state, and the compounds are stable too.

Just before vanadium on the periodic table is titanium, you should learn about its charge and reactions too.

Thanks for reading.