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Ion naming confusion with the bi prefix

  1. Feb 19, 2012 #1
    Ion naming confusion with the "bi" prefix

    I am little confused on when you use the "bi" prefix to denote the existence of a proton in front of an oxyanion.

    For example, I know that [tex][HCO_{3}]^{-}[/tex] is called bicarbonate as well as hydrogen carbonate.

    A problem arises when I try to define the various protonated versions of the phosphate and arsenate ions.

    [tex]PO_{4}^{3-}[/tex] is phosphate...
    [tex][HPO_{4}]^{2-}[/tex] is hydrogen phosphate if I am not wrong...
    [tex][H_{2}PO_{4}]^{-}[/tex] is dihydrogen phosphate if I am not wrong...

    But which of the above three would be referred to as the "biphosphate" ion??

    I assume an analagous situation works for the arsenate ion? [tex]AsO_{4}^{3-}[/tex]
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 19, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Ion naming confusion with the "bi" prefix

    "Bi"is outdated, as far as I know it was used for diprotic acids salts whenever they were neutralized only halfway (so it won't make sense for phosphates). But I can be wrong.
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