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By the end of this module, you will be able to:
  • Derive names for common types of inorganic compounds using a systematic approach

Nomenclature , a collection of rules for naming things, is important in science and in many other situations. This module describes an approach that is used to name simple ionic and molecular compounds, such as NaCl, CaCO 3 , and N 2 O 4 . The simplest of these are binary compounds , those containing only two elements, but we will also consider how to name ionic compounds containing polyatomic ions, and one specific, very important class of compounds known as acids (subsequent chapters in this text will focus on these compounds in great detail). We will limit our attention here to inorganic compounds, compounds that are composed principally of elements other than carbon, and will follow the nomenclature guidelines proposed by IUPAC. The rules for organic compounds, in which carbon is the principle element, will be treated in a later chapter on organic chemistry.

Ionic compounds

To name an inorganic compound, we need to consider the answers to several questions. First, is the compound ionic or molecular? If the compound is ionic, does the metal form ions of only one type (fixed charge) or more than one type (variable charge)? Are the ions monatomic or polyatomic? If the compound is molecular, does it contain hydrogen? If so, does it also contain oxygen? From the answers we derive, we place the compound in an appropriate category and then name it accordingly.

Compounds containing only monatomic ions

The name of a binary compound containing monatomic ions consists of the name of the cation (the name of the metal) followed by the name of the anion (the name of the nonmetallic element with its ending replaced by the suffix – ide ). Some examples are given in [link] .

Names of Some Ionic Compounds
NaCl, sodium chloride Na 2 O, sodium oxide
KBr, potassium bromide CdS, cadmium sulfide
CaI 2 , calcium iodide Mg 3 N 2 , magnesium nitride
CsF, cesium fluoride Ca 3 P 2 , calcium phosphide
LiCl, lithium chloride Al 4 C 3 , aluminum carbide

Compounds containing polyatomic ions

Compounds containing polyatomic ions are named similarly to those containing only monatomic ions, except there is no need to change to an – ide ending, since the suffix is already present in the name of the anion. Examples are shown in [link] .

Names of Some Polyatomic Ionic Compounds
KC 2 H 3 O 2 , potassium acetate (NH 4 )Cl, ammonium chloride
NaHCO 3 , sodium bicarbonate CaSO 4 , calcium sulfate
Al 2 (CO 3 ) 3 , aluminum carbonate Mg 3 (PO 4 ) 2 , magnesium phosphate

Ionic compounds in your cabinets

Every day you encounter and use a large number of ionic compounds. Some of these compounds, where they are found, and what they are used for are listed in [link] . Look at the label or ingredients list on the various products that you use during the next few days, and see if you run into any of those in this table, or find other ionic compounds that you could now name or write as a formula.

Everyday Ionic Compounds
Ionic Compound Use
NaCl, sodium chloride ordinary table salt
KI, potassium iodide added to “iodized” salt for thyroid health
NaF, sodium fluoride ingredient in toothpaste
NaHCO 3 , sodium bicarbonate baking soda; used in cooking (and as antacid)
Na 2 CO 3 , sodium carbonate washing soda; used in cleaning agents
NaOCl, sodium hypochlorite active ingredient in household bleach
CaCO 3 calcium carbonate ingredient in antacids
Mg(OH) 2 , magnesium hydroxide ingredient in antacids
Al(OH) 3 , aluminum hydroxide ingredient in antacids
NaOH, sodium hydroxide lye; used as drain cleaner
K 3 PO 4 , potassium phosphate food additive (many purposes)
MgSO 4 , magnesium sulfate added to purified water
Na 2 HPO 4 , sodium hydrogen phosphate anti-caking agent; used in powdered products
Na 2 SO 3 , sodium sulfite preservative

Questions & Answers

what is Fibonacci sequence?
Shaina Reply
what is hydrocarbons compound?
Haile Reply
what is the 3d-orbital of Ti³+
Timi Reply
What is Lewis acids
Yabsra Reply
Lewis acid is any substance, such as the H+ ion, that can accept a pair of nonbonding electrons. In other words, a Lewis acid is an electron-pair acceptor. 
describe the way of seperation of water and kerosene
Tang Reply
Kerosene is a hydrocarbon and non-polar. Water is a polar molecule. So a mixture of both liquids is immicible and by adding them to a separation funnel, you can open the tap flowing the less dense liquid in a container. You can read on bond polarity and separation techniques on Google.
kerosene will never with water cos its a immiscible liquid
what is Chemistry
Papie Reply
Chemistry is a branch of natural light science
10 sentences discussing factors affecting solubility
Sara Reply
why is chemistry a science subject
Ukwumonu Reply
10 sentences discussing factors affecting solubility
How to name carbonique Atom
lix Reply
how many period do we have in the period table
Joseph Reply
how do i do ionic equations
Amantle Reply
what is the formula for alkanes
CnH2n+2 is the alkane formula.
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then you can start to do some real work
How much sodium hydroxide must be dissolved in 100mL of water to prepare a 3.95molL^_1
what is vast array
benedict Reply
what is Nanoscience
from health care to manufacturing. Australian academy of science
what is the compound
what is Chemistry
What is array
what will be the total moles of all the molecule present when the different quantities of following gases are mixed together at step 4g of CH4, 22.4 dm3 of oxygen, 11.2dm3 of carbon dioxide and 3.02×10^23 molecules of ammonia.
Soni Reply
0.5 moles of methane and 0.5 mole of sulfur dioxide are mixed together what will be the mass of mixture. a.20g b.40g c.50g d.55g e.60g
Soni Reply
"the halogens are all oxidizing agents" what is the reason for this observation
Kelvin Reply
they are halogens....that is why numbnut 😁
This is not the place to talk down or be rude. Anonymous User keep your comments to yourself if you can't be more respectful.
Practice Key Terms 4

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
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