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Inorganic nomenclature

From Academic Kids

Inorganic nomenclature is a systematic way of naming inorganic compounds.

Positively charged ions are called cations and negatively charged ions are called anions. The cation is always named first. Ions can be metals or polyatomic ions. Therefore the name of the metal or positive polyatomic ion is followed by the name of the non-metal or negative polyatomic ion. The positive ion retains its element name whereas for a single non-metal anion the ending is changed to -ide.

Example: sodium chloride, potassium oxide, or calcium carbonate.

When the metal has more than one possible ionic charge or oxidation number the name becomes ambiguous. In these cases the oxidation number of the metal ion is represented by a Roman numeral in parentheses immediately following the metal ion name. For example in uranium(VI) fluoride the oxidation number of uranium is 6. However in this case the non IUPAC name uranium hexafluoride is often used. Another example is the iron oxides. FeO is iron(II) oxide and Fe2O3 is iron(III) oxide.

For naming metal complexes see the page on complex (chemistry).

Strictly nonmetal covalent compounds are named using Greek prefixes- for details see systematic name.

An older system used prefixes and suffixes to indicate the oxidation number, according to the following scheme:

Oxidation state Cations and acids Anions
Lowest hypo- -ous hypo- -ite
-ous -ite
-ic -ate
Highest per- -ic per- -ate

Thus the four oxyacids of chlorine are called hypochlorous acid (HOCl), chlorous acid (HOClO), chloric acid (HOClO2) and perchloric acid (HOClO3), and their respective conjugate bases are the hypochlorite, chlorite, chlorate and perchlorate ions. This system has partially fallen out of use, but survives in the common names of many chemical compounds: the modern literature contains few references to "ferric chloride" (instead calling it "iron(III) chloride"), but names like "potassium permanganate" (instead of "potassium manganate(VII)") and "sulfuric acid" abound.

List of common ion names

Monatomic anions:

Cl- CHLORIDE
S2- SULFIDE
P3- PHOSPHIDE

Polyatomic ions:

NH4+ AMMONIUM
H3O+ HYDRONIUM
NO3- NITRATE
NO2- NITRITE
ClO- HYPOCHLORITE
ClO2- CHLORITE
ClO3- CHLORATE
ClO4- PERCHLORATE
SO32- SULFITE
SO42- SULFATE
HSO3- BISULFITE (or HYDROGEN SULFITE)
HCO3- BICARBONATE (or HYDROGEN CARBONATE)
CO32- CARBONATE
PO43- PHOSPHATE
HPO42- HYDROGEN PHOSPHATE
H2PO4- DIHYDROGEN PHOSPHATE
CrO42- CHROMATE
Cr2O72- DICHROMATE
BO33- ORTHOBORATE
AsO43- ARSENATE
C2O42- OXALATE
CN- CYANIDE
MnO4- PERMANGANATE

See also

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