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Generate a colored periodic table to distinguish between the groups of elements, and create a list of common polyatomic ions and strong acids to aid in naming chemical compounds.

Use the periodic table to determine if a metal is present in the compound.

Note: Be aware that many elements have similar names and symbols.

a. If a metal is present, the compound is likely an ionic compound.

2. Determine if the metal ion (cation) has a “fixed charge.” A fixed charge means that there is only one possible oxidation state, as shown in Figure 3. Cations with a fixed charge include.

a. All elements in Group IA and Group IIA

b. Al3+

c. Transition metals with a fixed charge: Ag1+, Zn2+, and Cd2+

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Experiment Naming Ionic and Molecular Compounds

Figure 3. The fixed charge oxidation states, or charges, of the element potassium (K) in Group IA and the element beryllium (Be) in Group IIA.

3. Proceed to step 6 if the metal does not have a fixed charge, otherwise continue to step 4.

4. Name the cation first.

a. Record the entire name of the cation.

5. Name the anion second.

a. Combine the root name of the nonmetal anion with the suffix “-ide.” The conversion from a formula to a name is complete once the anion has been named.

6. Determine the variable charges for the metal, as shown in Figure 4. Variable charge means that there is more than one possible oxidation state. Elements with a variable charge include:

a. All transition metals in Groups IIIA through IIB, EXCEPT: Ag1+, Zn2+, and Cd2+

b. All basic metals EXCEPT: Al3+

Figure 4. The variable charge oxidation states, or charges, that iron (Fe) and gold (Au) can carry.

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Experiment Naming Ionic and Molecular Compounds

7. Name the cation first.

a. Include the entire name of the cation.

b. Balance the ionic charges of the cation and anion. Identify the number of ions required to generate a neutral compound.

c. List the Roman numeral in parentheses based on the ionic charge. Do not put a space between the cation name and the parentheses. For example, iron(III) chloride.