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Chemical naming conventions

(9 Posts)
VaguelySensible Fri 03-Jan-20 10:00:09

Y8 ds insists that 'dioxide' is the proper name for O2. When I queried his use of ' dioxide' he looked up the meaning of 'ide' online and is now convinced that it means 'two atoms in a molecule'. I've tried to explain that the' ide' suffix refers to two elements in a molecule, not two molecules of the same element, but I'm merely boring old mother who doesn't know anything. (Erm, hello? A-level Chemistry, all be it a few decades ago.)

Can anyone explain it in language he will accept, or point to any links explaining it? All the sites I've found are too high-level for him, going into too much detail about valencies and when Latin is used or Greek is used, etc etc. Also no mention that it is not used for pure elements, but only for compounds.

BTW ds is autistic.

OP’s posts: |
user1471530109 Fri 03-Jan-20 10:04:44

He is kind of right if I'm understanding what you're saying.

Carbon monoxide is CO. Carbon dioxide is CO2.

I don't agree with his O2 reference though (although get why he's said it). Hydrogen, nitrogen and all of the halogens (group 7) are all diatomic molecules. But all have their own names

VaguelySensible Fri 03-Jan-20 10:13:00

Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are both made up of two elements: carbon and oxygen in various quantities. The prefix to the oxygen part refers to the number of oxygen atoms (mon- =1, di- =2), the suffix indicating that there are two elements in each molecule.

OP’s posts: |
Dogsaresomucheasier Fri 03-Jan-20 10:17:05

Will he let you teach him the term diatomic? You can tell him a science teacher on Mumsnet said -ide and -ate (contains oxygen and another element) are for compounds!

Dogsaresomucheasier Fri 03-Jan-20 10:18:20

Diatomic or molecular oxygen.

TheHeathenOfSuburbia Fri 03-Jan-20 10:29:50

We do sometimes call it dioxygen, to distinguish from eg ozone, has he misheard?

catndogslife Fri 03-Jan-20 11:03:39

Where on the internet did he look this up. If he used wikipedia then that's not accurate for Chemistry.
What school year is he in? For GCSE level this is a suitable reference www.my-gcsescience.com/tips-writing-chemical-formulae.
Additional definitions that may help - a molecule contains 2 or more atoms bonded together these may either be the same element or different ones.
A compound contains 2 different elements bonded together.
O2 is a diatomic molecule and could be called di-oxygen to show this, but the suffix -ide is not used as both atoms are the same element.

MollyButton Fri 03-Jan-20 11:04:59

I have a doctorate in Chemistry and don't think he's wrong - its just not what we normally do. Just like we don't normally talk about "dihydrogen monoxide", but instead water.
I would drop it to be honest.

Is your son on the spectrum? Because I could well understand some ASD children finding it hard. Most NT children would forget about it soon, and then if you brought it up deny they had ever said such a thing.

foxatthewindow Fri 03-Jan-20 11:13:04

Oxide = one atom of oxygen plus at least one other element; dioxide = two oxygen atoms plus one other element. I think dioxygen would be technically correct but an odd descriptor to use (it’s the kind of thing they might say at school though).

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