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Chemical nomenclature

  1. Sep 16, 2013 #1
    I think one of the most important aspects of learning is knowing how to organize information in your head. And after all this time I realized I don't know the rules behind chemical nomenclature as well as I should; for instance, I can name chemical compounds just 'cause, having no idea why that is the name it has (probably just memorized it at some point).

    So I've been trying to find some organized guide to chemical nomenclature online (especially inorganic chemistry), but it has been harder than I though it should. Could anyone maybe point out a source? By the way, I do better with tables and graphs than long detailed readings.

    On the meanwhile, I do have the PDF version of the IUPAC's red book, but it's a 400 page monster of a book that even has a section on roman numerals, and I just feel like it's a bit of an overkill. Or is the nomenclature of inorganic compounds more complicated than I think?

    Anyway, how does IUPAC generalize the nomenclature of inorganic compounds? What is the best abstraction? Does it start with acids, bases, salts and oxides? Because that is how I remember learning it in high school. Or do those already have some similar rules (maybe something to do with oxidation states)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2013 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    something like this:

    http://www2.pvc.maricopa.edu/tutor/chem/chem130/nomenclature/ncrules.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Sep 16, 2013 #3
    I can't open the rules.. maybe the link is offline?

    EDIT: sorry, it was my bad :P
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  5. Sep 16, 2013 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

  6. Sep 16, 2013 #5
    Am I wrong in assuming that the nomenclature of inorganic compounds is deeply correlated to the theory behind the formation and structure of each molecule? Because in my ignorance I always assumed that it had only to do with the elements present in the structure. If the way you write down a structure is unique to each compound, than if the name was only dependent on the way you write the structure it would also be unique; wouldn't it? Kind of like how the naming convention for organic compounds goes.

    Is there a general logic behind the naming convention? Or are there only separate rules for specific types of compounds? Could I derive the name of a molecule I've never seen before with just the naming convention?

    I feel like the naming convention for inorganic compounds are defined so that they say more than just what elements are present in the compound. Like acidity or weather the structure was formed by covalent or ionic bonds. Is that right?
  7. Sep 16, 2013 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    Download and read the Red Book.
  8. Sep 20, 2013 #7
    Memorize the common polyatomic ions...including their charges....makes life much easier I've noticed. That way when you have something like MgSO4 you just already recognize the Magnesium and the sulfate to give you Magnesium Sulfate...and as for the roman numerals, I find using those for the nomenclature much easier than using the Latin system...Fe2(SO4)3 = Iron(III) Sulfate, just means the iron is +3. You know this from the formula Fe2(SO4)3 because of the number of sulfate ions you have. Also I think Iron(III) Sulfate is easier to deal with than Ferric Sulfate

    I hope this helped,maybe you already knew all this I just said...not sure. Just memorize them polyatomics!
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