Elementary substances

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What are they?  |  How are they named?  |   Examples  |  Ions Exercises 
   

What are they?

They are substances formed by atoms with only one element.

How are they named?

They are named after the name of the constituent element, and its formula is the symbol of the element (Fe, Na, Cu, C, etc), except the following gaseous molecules (H2, N2, O2, O3) and those of the halogens (F2, Cl2, Br2, I2) that appear in diatomic or triatomic form, and are named according to the IUPAC by the prefixes di– or tri–, though they often appear without prefixes. The atoms of these molecules take the prefix mono– when they appear alone.

The prefixes that designate the number of atoms are:
 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
mono- di- tri- tetra- penta- hexa- hepta- octa- nona- deca-

 

Examples

 
 

Systematic name

Common name

 

Systematic name

Common name

H2 Dihydrogen Hydrogen F2 Difluorine Fluorine
N2 Dinitrogen Nitrogen Cl2 Dichlorine Chlorine
O2 Dioxygen Oxygen Br2 Dibromine Bromine
O3 Trioxygen Ozone I2 Diiodine Iodine
H Monohydrogen Atomic hydrogen F Monofluorine Atomic fluorine
N Mononitrogen Atomic nitrogen Cl Monochlorine Atomic chlorine
O Monooxygen Atomic oxygen I Monoiodine Atomic iodine
P4 Tetraphosphorus White phosphorus S8 Octasulfur  
S6 Hexasulfur   Sn Polysulfur  
Fe Iron   C Carbon  
Na Sodium   Ag Silver  
K Potassium   Sb Antimony  
Hg Mercury   Sn Tin  
V Vanadium   Pb Lead  
Au Gold   As Arsenic  

 

Ions

Although they are not elementary substances since they always appear in combination with other ions, we can name the most elementary ions which we will find in other compounds.

Ions are atoms or groups of atoms with an electrical charge, positive in the cations and negative in the anions.

Monoatomic cations: The symbol of the element is combined with a superscript of the value of the charge followed by a plus sign. En+

a) Stock' system: they are named after the name of the element followed by the oxidation number without the sign between brackets and in Roman numbers.

b) Ewens-Bassett's system: they are named after the name of the element followed by the charge number, with a plus sign, between brackets.
 

Cation Stock's name Ewens-Bassett's name
K+ Potassium(I) Potassium(1+)
Na+ Sodium(I) Sodium(1+)
Mg2+ Magnesium(II) Magnesium(2+)
Ca2+ Calcium(II) Calcium(2+)
Al3+ Aluminium(III) Aluminium(3+)
Fe2+ Iron(II) Iron(2+)
Fe3+ Iron(III) Iron(3+)
Cu2+ Copper(II) Copper(2+)
Cu+ Copper(I) Copper(1+)
Ag+ Silver(I) Silver(1+)
Au3+ Gold(III) Gold(3+)
Zn2+ Zinc(II) Zinc(2+)
Cd2+ Cadmium(II) Cadmium(2+)

Homopolyatomic cations: They are named by the Ewens-Bassett's system. Name of the element with a Greek prefix that shows us the number of atoms.

Cation

Nombre de  Ewens-Bassett

O2+ Dioxygen(1+)
H3+ Trihydrogen(1+)
S42+ Tetrasulfur(2+)
Hg22+ Dimercury(2+)

Monoatomic anions: The symbol of the element les combined with a superscript which indicates the value of the charge followed by the minus sign. En–

Ewens-Bassett's system: there are named after the name of the element finished in –ide followed by the charge number, with the minus sign, between brackets. For O2– we use the word oxide .
 

Anion Ewens-Bassett's name
H Hydride(1–)
B3– Boride(3–)
C4– Carbide(4–)
Si4– Silicide(4–)
N3– Nitride(3–)
P3– Phosphide(3–)
As3– Arsenide(3–)
O2– Oxide(2–)
S2– Sulfide(2–)
Se2– Selenide(2–)
Te2– Telluride(2–)
F Fluoride(1–)
Cl Chloride(1–)
Br Bromide(1–)
I Iodide(1–)

Homopolyatomic anions: They are named by the Ewens-Bassett's system. Name of the element with a Greek prefix that shows us the number of atoms.
   

Anion Ewens-Bassett's name Common name
O2 Dioxide(1–) Superoxide
O22– Dioxide(2–) Peroxide
O3 Trioxide1–) Ozonide
S22– Disulfide(2–)  
N3 Trinitride(1–) Azide
C22– Dicarbide(2–) Acetylide
I3 Triiodide(1–)  

 

Exercises

In Formulae you have an exercise to write the names of these substances and to check your results. You also have the answer to the exercise.

In Names you have an exercise to write the formulae for these substances and to check your results. You have to introduce the formulae without subscripts, for example for water = H2O. You also have the answer to the exercise.

Formulae 1 Names 1 Formulae 2 Names 2 Formulae 3 Names 3 Formulae 4 Names 4

 


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