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Chemical Names of Common Substances

Alternate Chemical Names of Familiar Materials

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The chemical name of salt crystal is sodium chloride.

You might name these salt crystals, but there are many types of salt, so it would be more precise to call them sodium chloride crystals.

Björn Appel

Chemical or scientific names are used to give an accurate description of a substance's composition. Even so, you rarely ask someone to pass the sodium chloride at the dinner table. It's important to remember that common names are inaccurate and vary from one place and time to another. Therefore, don't assume that you know the chemical composition of a substance based on its common name. This is a list of archaic chemical names and common names for chemicals, with their modern or IUPAC equivalent name. You also may be interested in the list of common chemicals and where to find them.

Chemical Names and Nomenclature

How To Name Compounds
Naming Ionic Compounds
Naming Covalent Compounds
How To Name Alkanes

Common Chemical Names

Common Name Chemical Name
acetone  dimethyl ketone; 2-propanone (usually known as acetone) 
acid potassium sulfate  potassium bisulfate 
acid of sugar  oxalic acid 
ackey  nitric acid 
alcali volatil  ammonium hydroxide 
alcohol, grain  ethyl alcohol 
alcohol sulfuris  carbon disulfide 
alcohol, wood  methyl alcohol 
alum  aluminum potassium sulfate 
alumina  aluminum oxide 
antichlor  sodium thiosulfate 
antifreeze  ethylene glycol 
antimony black  antimony trisulfide 
antimony bloom  antimony trioxide 
antimony glance  antimony trisulfide 
antimony red (vermillion)  antimony oxysulfide 
aqua ammonia  aqueous solution of ammonium hydroxide 
aqua fortis  nitric acid 
aqua regia  nitrohydrochloric acid 
aromatic spirit of ammonia  ammonia in alcohol 
arsenic glass  arsenic trioxide 
azurite  mineral form of basic copper carbonate 
asbestos  magnesium silicate 
aspirin  acetylsalicylic acid 
baking soda  sodium bicarbonate 
banana oil (artificial)  isoamyl acetate 
barium white  barium sulfate 
benzol  benzene 
bicarbonate of soda  sodium hydrogen carbonate or sodium bicarbonate 
bichloride of mercury  mercuric chloride 
bichrome  potassium dichromate 
bitter salt  magnesium sulfate 
black ash  crude form of sodium carbonate 
black copper oxide  cupric oxide 
black lead  graphite (carbon) 
blanc-fixe  barium sulfate 
bleaching powder  chlorinated lime; calcium hypochlorite 
blue copperas  copper sulfate (crystals) 
blue lead  lead sulfate 
blue salts  nickel sulfate 
blue stone  copper sulfate (crystals) 
blue vitriol  copper sulfate 
bluestone  copper sulfate 
bone ash  crude calcium phosphate 
bone black  crude animal charcoal 
boracic acid  boric acid 
borax  sodium borate; sodium tetraborate 
bremen blue  basic copper carbonate 
brimstone  sulfur 
burnt alum  anhydrous potassium aluminum sulfate 
burnt lime  calcium oxide 
burnt ochre  ferric oxide 
burnt ore  ferric oxide 
brine  aqueous sodium chloride solution 
butter of antimony  antimony trichloride 
butter of tin  anhydrous stannic chloride 
butter of zinc  zinc chloride 
calomel  mercury chloride; mercurous chloride 
carbolic acid  phenol 
carbonic acid gas  carbon dioxide 
caustic lime  calcium hydroxide 
caustic potash  potassium hydroxide 
caustic soda  sodium hydroxide 
chalk  calcium carbonate 
Chile saltpeter  sodium nitrate 
Chile nitre  sodium nitrate 
Chinese red  basic lead chromate 
Chinese white  zinc oxide 
chloride of soda  sodium hypochlorite 
chloride of lime  calcium hypochlorite 
chrome alum  chromic potassium sulfate 
chrome green  chromium oxide 
chrome yellow  lead (VI) chromate 
chromic acid  chromium trioxide 
copperas  ferrous sulfate 
corrosive sublimate  mercury (II) chloride 
corundum (ruby, sapphire)  chiefly aluminum oxide 
cream of tartar  potassium bitartrate 
crocus powder  ferric oxide 
crystal carbonate  sodium carbonate 
dechlor  sodium thiophosphate 
diamond  carbon crystal 
emery powder  impure aluminum oxide 
epsom salts  magnesium sulfate 
ethanol  ethyl alcohol 
farina  starch 
ferro prussiate  potassium ferricyanide 
ferrum  iron 
flores martis  anhydride iron (III) chloride 
fluorspar  natural calcium fluoride 
fixed white  barium sulfate 
flowers of sulfur  sulfur 
'flowers of' any metal  oxide of the metal 
formalin  aqueous formaldehyde solution 
French chalk  natural magnesium silicate 
French vergidris  basic copper acetate 
galena  natural lead sulfide 
Glauber's salt  sodium sulfate 
green verditer  basic copper carbonate 
green vitriol  ferrous sulfate crystals 
gypsum  natural calcium sulfate 
hard oil  boiled linseed oil 
heavy spar  barium sulfate 
hydrocyanic acid  hydrogen cynanide 
hypo (photography)  sodium thiosulfate solution 
Indian red  ferric oxide 
Isinglass  agar-agar gelatin 
jeweler's rouge  ferric oxide 
killed spirits  zinc chloride 
lampblack  crude form of carbon; charcoal 
laughing gas  nitrous oxide 
lead peroxide  lead dioxide 
lead protoxide  lead oxide 
lime  calcium oxide 
lime, slaked  calcium hydroxide 
limewater  aqueous solution of calcium hydroxide 
liquor ammonia  ammonium hydroxide solution 
litharge  lead monoxide 
lunar caustic  silver nitrate 
liver of sulfur  sufurated potash 
lye or soda lye  sodium hydroxide 
magnesia  magnesium oxide 
manganese black  manganese dioxide 
marble  mainly calcium carbonate 
mercury oxide, black  mercurous oxide 
methanol  methyl alcohol 
methylated spirits  methyl alcohol 
milk of lime  calcium hydroxide 
milk of magnesium  magnesium hydroxide 
milk of sulfur  precipitated sulfur 
"muriate" of a metal  chloride of the metal 
muriatic acid  hydrochloric acid 
natron  sodium carbonate 
nitre  potassium nitrate 
nordhausen acid  fuming sulfuric acid 
oil of mars  deliquescent anhydrous iron (III) chloride 
oil of vitriol  sulfuric acid 
oil of wintergreen (artificial)  methyl salicylate 
orthophosphoric acid  phosphoric acid 
Paris blue  ferric ferrocyanide 
Paris green  copper acetoarsenite 
Paris white  powdered calcium carbonate 
pear oil (artificial)  isoamyl acetate 
pearl ash  potassium carbonate 
permanent white  barium sulfate 
plaster of Paris  calcium sulfate 
plumbago  graphite 
potash  potassium carbonate 
potassa  potassium hydroxide 
precipitated chalk  calcium carbonate 
Prussic acid  hydrogen cyanide 
pyro  tetrasodium pyrophosphate 
quicklime  calcium oxide 
quicksilver  mercury 
red lead  lead tetraoxide 
red liquor  aluminum acetate solution 
red prussiate of potash  potassium ferrocyanide 
red prussiate of soda  sodium ferrocyanide 
Rochelle salt  potassium sodium tartrate 
rock salt  sodium chloride 
rouge, jeweler's  ferric oxide 
rubbing alcohol  isopropyl alcohol 
sal ammoniac  ammonium chloride 
sal soda  sodium carbonate 
salt, table  sodium chloride 
salt of lemon  potassium binoxalate 
salt of tartar  potassium carbonate 
saltpeter  potassium nitrate 
silica  silicon dioxide 
slaked lime  calcium hydroxide 
soda ash  sodium carbonate 
soda nitre  sodium nitrate 
soda lye  sodium hydroxide 
soluble glass  sodium silicate 
sour water  dilute sulfuric acid 
spirit of hartshorn  ammonium hydroxide solution 
spirit of salt  hydrochloric acid 
spirit of wine  ethyl alcohol 
spirits of nitrous ether  ethyl nitrate 
sugar, table  sucrose 
sugar of lead  lead acetate 
sulfuric ether  ethyl ether 
talc or talcum  magnesium silicate 
tin crystals  stannous chloride 
trona  natural sodium carbonate 
unslaked lime  calcium oxide 
Venetian red  ferric oxide 
verdigris  basic copper acetate 
Vienna lime  calcium carbonate 
vinegar  impure dilute acetic acid 
vitamin C  ascorbic acid 
vitriol  sulfuric acid 
washing soda  sodium carbonate 
water glass  sodium silicate 
white caustic  sodium hydroxide 
white lead  basic lead carbonate 
white vitriol  zinc sulfate crystals 
yellow prussiate of potash  potassium ferrocyanide 
yellow prussiate of soda  sodium ferrocyanide 
zinc vitriol  zinc sulfate 
zinc white  zinc oxide 
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