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Write the chemical formula for ionic compounds, molecular compounds, polyatomic ions, and acids by interpreting their compound names.

Writing a Metal + Nonmetal Formula: Calcium Fluoride

1. Read the name of the compound.

calcium fluoride

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Experiment Naming Ionic and Molecular Compounds

2. Determine if the metal ion has a fixed charge or variable charge.

calcium = Group IIA = fixed charge = 2+

Note: If the name does not include a Roman numeral, then the metal ion has a fixed charge.

3. Write the first chemical symbol based on the cation in the compound, including the charge.

calcium = Ca2+

4. Write the second chemical symbol based on the anion in the compound, including the charge.

fluoride = fluorine = F-

5. Balance the charges to determine the correct number of atoms of each element and write the formula for a neutral compound.

Tip: To balance CaF2, first consider the Ca has a fixed charge of 2+ and F carries a 1- charge. For the compound to have a net charge of 0, there must be two F atoms and one Ca atom.

6. Write the formula of the molecular compound.

calcium fluoride = CaF2