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Naming Binary Ionic Compounds

Naming Binary Ionic Compounds

Author: Katie Smith

The objective of this packet is to provide names for binary ionic compounds when given a formula, and to provide a formula when given a name.

This packet includes a slideshow and practice problems to help work on naming binary ionic compounds such as NaCl (sodium chloride).

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A Name for Every One

Say you had a hundred puppies, and each one needed a name.  You could start by calling them Spot, Spike, Rover and Lassie, and build your way up to a hundred names.  It would work -- but how would you remember who's who?  Worse yet, how would you convey the names to your friends?  Would they remember?  If you called your mom, and told her about Spot, would she know which puppy you were referring to?  Probably not.  But what if you could name them using a system.  Instead of Spot, could you call that puppy Blue Eyes Brown Fur White Spot On The Left Side Of The Back?  It's a long name, but at least it distinguishes this puppy from his brother, Blue Eyes Brown Fur White Spot On The Right Side Of The Back!

The same problem applies in chemistry -- there are too many chemicals to try and give each one a memorable name -- unless we use a system. 

This packet will introduce you to the system we use for naming Binary Ionic Compounds.

Naming Binary Ionic Compounds

Practice Problems

Here are a few practice problems to test your understanding.

Next Up: Binary Covalent Compounds

Once you have a grasp on naming binary ionic compounds, you can move on to Naming Binary Covalent Compounds.


You can also check out a special case of ionic compounds -- those containing polyatomic ions -- in the packet Naming Ionic Compounds Containing Polyatomic Ions.