We often refer to many household chemicals by their common names. For instance, you will rarely find a person asking you to give him dihydrogen oxide (water) when he is thirsty or to pass him sodium chloride (salt) at the dinner table!
However, it is important to recognize that common names are not only inaccurate but also tend to vary from one place to another.
This means that the only reliable way to name chemicals is using a standardized chemical nomenclature.
A standardized nomenclature ensures that a chemical name leaves no ambiguity as far as the chemical nature of a compound is concerned. In other words, it gives an accurate description of a chemical compound or substance’s composition.
Besides, using scientific names ensure that each substance has a single name (though there are cases where alternative names may be acceptable).
The world-accepted format for chemical nomenclature has been established by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (or IUPAC).
The long and the short of it is that don’t assume that you know the chemical composition of a substance on your kitchen cabinet based on its common name.
To keep you up to date, here is a comprehensive list of chemical compounds and their common names and formulas:
|Common Name||Chemical Compound||Formula|
|Baking Powder||Sodium Bicarbonate||NaHCO3|
|Potash Alum||Potassium Aluminium Sulphate||KAlSO4|
|Blue Vitriol||Copper Sulphate||CuSO4.5H2O|
|Ammonium Ferrous Sulphate|
|Laughing Gas||Nitrous Oxide||N2O|
Solid Carbon dioxide
|Heavy Water||Deuterium Oxide||D2O|
|Washing Soda||Sodium Carbonate|
|Caustic Potash||Potassium Hydroxide||KOH|
|Green Vitriol||Ferrous Sulphate||FeSo4|
|Chalk (Marble)||Calcium Carbonate||CaCo3|
|White Vitriol||Zinc Sulphate|
|Washing Soda||Sodium Carbonate||Na2CO3|
|Caustic Soda||Sodium Hydroxide|
|Bleaching Powder||Calcium Oxychloride||CaOCL2|
|Plaster of Paris||Calcium Sulphate||CaSO4∙2H2O|
|Aspirin||Acetyl Salicylic Acid||C9H8O4|
|Cream of Tarter||Potassium Hydrogen Tartrate/Hydrogen Bitartrate||KC4H5O6|
|Dolomite||Calcium Magnesium Carbonate||CaMg[CO3]2|
|Borax||Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate||Na2B4O7.10H2O|
|Galena||Lead [ll] Sulphade||PbS|
|Antiperspirant & Deodorants||Aluminum Chlorohydrate||Al2ClH7O6|
|Hand Sanitizer||Isopropyl Alcohol||C3H8O|
|Hypo Solution||Sodium Thiosulphate Pentahydrate||Na2S2O3.5H20|
|Hematite||Iron [lll] Oxide/Ferric Oxide||F2O3|
|Methyl ethyl/ ketone Butanone||Butan-2-one||C4H8O|
|Muriatic Acid||Hydrochloric Acid||HCL|
|Aqua Fortis/Spirit of Niter||Nitric Acid||HNO3|
|Wintergreen Oil||Methyl Salicylate||C8H8O3|
|Quartz||Silicon Dioxide [Silica]||SiO2|
Hopefully, our list of chemical compounds and their common names and formulas has shed some light on the chemical composition of certain substances that you only knew by their archaic or common names.
If you’re up for a little light chemical discovery, we have a cool compilation of chemistry-related quizzes that can help you work out your brain all while enjoying yourself.
Interested? Check this one out: Tricky Chemistry Questions with Answers for Chemistry Die-Hards