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Ionic and Molecular Compounds

Experiment Naming Ionic and Molecular Compounds

Background The Periodic Table

The periodic table is a reference for the arrangement of chemical elements. See Figure 1. The periodic table not only organizes the elements by their atomic number and electron configurations, it also organizes the elements by their chemical properties. The periodic table is the most important tool to have on hand when studying chemistry. A periodic table is located on the inside cover of almost every chemistry textbook.

Figure 1. Periodic Table of Elements. Click to Download Printable Version.

Communication skills are important in any field, and the language of chemistry has a vocabulary of its own. In the medical field, it is essential to communicate clearly and effectively. For example, it is important to be correct and unambiguous when transferring responsibility for a patient to another person, or asking the doctor or dentist for required medication. Reports may be written for the doctor or for communicating with a patient about their condition, and learning how to write chemical names and formulas is the first step in pharmacology.

For example, the ionic compound potassium nitrite (KNO2) is used to treat chest pain, whereas the compound potassium nitrate (KNO3) is used to treat asthma and is also found in toothpastes for sensitive teeth. A pharmacologist or doctor would need to ensure the proper indication of these compounds to properly and effectively treat a patient’s sympto