Naming Inorganic Compounds

To name a compound you must first decide whether the substance is an ionic or molecular compound. Ionic compounds are easily recognized since they usually contain both metallic and non-metallic elements. The most common exception to this rule are ionic compounds containing the ammonium ion, NH4+, such as (NH4)2CO3 or NH4Br which contain no metal ions. Molecular compounds typically contain only non-metallic atoms (and metalloids).

Conventions for naming ionic compounds are given in Chang, pgs 53-56. To successfully follow the rules, however, you must be first learn the names of common ions (Chang, Tables 2.2 and 2.3, pg 55). Names of ionic compounds do not give the number of each type of ion in the formula: the chemist is supposed to be able to figure that out from his/her knowledge of ion charges and the requirement that salts be neutral (and thus have a sum of zero for the ion charges in the formula).

Binary compounds of the non-metals are named following the guidelines given in Chang on pages 56-58. Note that when naming these molecular compounds, the number of atoms of a given type is commonly indicated with a prefix (di-, tri-, tetra, etc.).

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Exercises

1. Complete the following chart of corresponding ion names and formulas.

Cation Name

Formula

 

Anion Name

Formula

(1) potassium ion

 

 

(11) nitrate ion

 

(2)

Fe3+

 

(12)

H2PO4-

(3) ammonium ion

 

 

(13) hydrogen carbonate (or bicarbonate) ion

 

(4)

Ba2+

 

(14)

MnO4-

(5) silver ion

 

 

(15) perchlorate ion

 

(6)

Cu2+

 

(16)

S2-

(7) zinc ion

 

 

(17) acetate ion

 

(8)

Co2+

 

(18) dichromate ion

 

(9) hydrogen ion

 

 

(19)

CO32-

(10) chromium(III) ion

 

 

(20) sulfite ion

 

 


2. Complete the following chart of corresponding compound names and formulas. Circle the names of all non-ionic (i.e., molecular) compounds.

Compound Name

Formula

 

Compound Name

Formula

(1) silver nitrate

 

 

(11) sodium hydrogen phosphate

 

(2)

Ni(CH3CO2)2

 

(12)

SO3

(3) ammonium sulfate

 

 

(13) potassium permanganate

 

(4)

P2O5

 

(14)

Al2S3

(5) sodium oxide

 

 

(15) cobalt(III) sulfate

 

(6)

NH4NO3

 

(16)

Ag2CrO4

(7) nitrogen trichloride

 

 

(17)

SrF2

(8)

NaHCO3

 

(18) sulfur hexafluoride

 

(9) iron(II) acetate

 

 

(19)

NH3

(10) carbon tetrachloride

 

 

(20)

LiClO3


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