Naming Chemical Compounds

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Naming Chemical Compounds

General Information: Scientists all around the globe use a standard method for naming chemical compounds. The standards were set up by an international committee sponsored by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). Having this standard makes life easier for people who use these compounds everyday. It would be tough to set up any experiment if scientists everywhere used different names for the same compound. It would also make the lab a much more dangerous place. Although there are other types of compounds, for this lesson we will concentrate on ionic formulas, both binary and polyatomic and binary molecular formulas.

Objectives:1. Given a chemical formula, identify it as an ionic or molecular type of chemical compound, write the IUPAC name (no common names). 2. Given the IUPAC name of an ionic or molecular compound, write the chemical formula associated with it.

Materials:Student Provides:The exercises below.

From LabPaq:Nothing required.

Discussion: At this point in the course you have used the periodic table as your reference for where the elements are located. The Periodic Table will be the most important tool to have on hand for this exercise and for every quiz, exam and most homework problems you do. Write on it, use color for regions, and individualize it for yourself. You have been learning how to combine metal ions with nonmetal ions to write ionic compounds in lecture. In this exercise you will be learning how to name the formulas for many of these compounds, along with many of those you have been using in the previous experiments, and examples.

Communication skills are important in any field, and the language of chemistry has a vocabulary of its own. In the medical services it is essential to communicate clearly and effectively. When transferring responsibility for a patient to another person, or asking the doctor or dentist for the medication required it is important to be correct and unambiguous. You may be writing reports for the doctor, or communicating with a patient about their condition and learning how to write chemical names and formulas is the first step in pharmacology. For example, some important ionic compounds in medicine are potassium nitrite as a diuretic, or lithium carbonate used as a bipolar medicine and sodium bicarbonate used as an antacid, or sodium iodide for thyroid hormones.

In this exercise, you will practice the discipline of following a set of rules, to write the names of chemical compounds. In a short time, you will learn to put chemical sentences together from these names. Follow the rules, don’t skip steps. Be cautious not to go too fast and guess at names, charges, and formulas. If you guess incorrectly, you may learn or memorize the rules incorrectly. Below are some hints from former students.


1. Color your periodic table! Really, highlight the metalloids so that you can quickly determine if you have a metal or nonmetal. 2. Copy the following list of common polyatomic ions (names, formulas and charges) to a note card. PLEASE do not just print it out, really take the time to hand copy and while you copy you will begin to learn that many are similar and that you must be careful choosing correctly. 3. EVERY time you see a compound containing a metal + a group of elements: you can assume (for the purposes of this exercise) that the group of elements is a polyatomic ion, look it up from the list provided or your text. 4. Use this note card of polyatomic ions for EVERY example, do not guess. (If you have a photographic memory, disregard this hint). 5. Keep the polyatomic ions in parentheses until you determine that they are redundant. 6. Print out the first page and use it for every example. If you do this, by the end of the exercise, you most likely will have learned the rules correctly. 7. Check your work. If you have written...
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