For the purposes of naming acids and bases we will put these chemicals into three categories: binary acids, ternary acids (sometimes called oxy-acids), and bases.
Binary acids contain hydrogen and one other nonmetallic element. Their names follow the pattern of "hydroelementic acid" where element is replaced by the root of the name of the element. These acids contain no oxygen. Here are some examples.
Note that the names of binary acids do not indicate how many hydrogen atoms are in the formula. That is determined by the valence of the other element.
Ternary Acids or Oxy-acids
Ternary acids contain hydrogen and oxygen and one other (usually) nonmetallic element. The names of the most common ones follow the pattern of "elementic acid" where element is replaced by the root of the name of the other element. Note that these acids contain both hydrogen and oxygen but their names make no reference to either hydrogen or oxygen. Here are some examples.
Note that the names of ternary acids do not indicate how many hydrogen atoms are in the formula, nor do they indicate how many oxygen atoms are in the formula. That needs to be learned by memorization or repetition. However, if you remember the formulas of the common polyatomic ions, these acids contain the same number of oxygen atoms as those, and the number of hydrogen atoms matches the negative charge on the ions. We will look at that relationship more fully later in this lesson and also in a later lesson.
There are also ternary acids for which the names follow the pattern "elementous acid." The formulas of these acids contain one less oxygen than the "elementic acids." Here are two examples.
Bases are simply named as ionic compounds containing the hydroxide ion. Here are some examples.
We will deal more with nomenclature of acids, bases, salts and polyatomic ions in a later lesson. But for now, for practice, try your hand at naming the acids and bases listed below (and shown in exercise 6 in your workbook). To keep it simple, none of the acids has an -ous ending in its name.
E-mail instructor: Eden Francis
Clackamas Community College