Common Names

Common Names
Dr. MJ Patterson

We will soon start studying how to name compounds according to a set of rules established by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemists (IUPAC).  However, these rules were not established until long after many chemical compounds were known by many different names.  The common names (as opposed to the systematic names) of many compounds are still used today.  Any chemist must at least be aware that there are multiple names for just about any compound.  Otherwise, that chemist would not be able to order any reagents from a chemical supplier.  The catalogs do a good job of listing the most common names for compounds, but it has been my experience that on virtually every order I place there is at least one compound listed in a way that was totally unexpected.

For the most part in this class, we will focus on the systematic names.  But, we have already encountered two compounds that are never called by their systematic names.  You must memorize the common names for these two compounds.

H2O = water
NH3  = ammonia