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, } July 7, 1865. On Chemical Nomenclature.
1 one acid by another, whereas the process is admitted to THE CHEMICAL NEWS.
be an interchange of half the hydrogen in hydric sulphate with potassium in potassic nitrate, forming hydro
potassio sulphate and hydric nitrate. VOLUME XII.
It was admitted by all who spoke on the subject at
the Chemical Society, that hydrogen-salts must in exact No. 292. JULY 7, 1865.
language be named 'similarly to other 'salts; and one distinguished member mentioned that, in describing to students such a reaction as the above, he uses such terms
as sulphate of hydrogen and nitrate of hydrogen.. SCIENTIFIC AND ANALYTICAL It was at first supposed by some members that I advoCHEMISTRY.
cated the immediate introduction of systematic and accurate names into common and popular language. The
learned member felt alarm at the danger of having to On Chemical Nomenclature. By ALEXANDER W. speak of mercurous chloride instead of " calomel,” manWILLIAMSON, F.R.S., F.C.S.
ganic peroxide instead of " manganese," hydric sulphate I HAD some weeks ago the honour of submitting to the instead of sulphuric acid,” &c.; and manufacturers consideration of the Chemical Society a few practical would certainly not have received with favour a pro
posal to give up the term “soda” for sodic carbonate, to suggestions on the subject of chemical nomenclature, say arsenious acid instead of "arsenic." framed in the hope of diminishing the inconsistencies I accordingly hastened to explain that my suggestions which prevail in it at present, and of aiding the develop- towards improving our systematic nomenclature were ment of its best tendencies.
only expected, if adopted, to react gradually upon the My chief proposal was to adopt, as systematically as popular language, and that for the present I contemplate possible , terms such as mercurous nitrate, Hg2(NO3)2 ; acid” as heretofore, meaning those compounds which in
ordering a couple of carboys of “sulphuric acid " or "nitric mercuric hydronitrate, HgHONO,; hydric sulphate, systeniatic language are designated hydric sulphate" H,80,; potassic hydrate, KHO; hydropotassic sulphate, and hydric nitrate;" but that when I have to explain to HKSO, ; hydrodisodic phosphate, HNa,PO,; sodic sul- learners the reactions of those hydrogen salts, I should phate, Na2SO4; sodic disulphate, Na,s,o,, &c.; give them the systematic names which correspond to ferric oxydisulphate, Fe,0(80.); ferric dioxysulphate, their composition. The popular and trivial names by
2 Fe,0,30., &c. The result of two evenings' discussion which they are known are abbreviations formed so as to
point to the essential or characteristic constituent. It is of the subject was to show that the principles of such not practicable to send out real sulphuric acid, Soz; but nomenclature are, upon the whole, approved, and the manufacturers and consumers know that the value of names formed in accordance with those principles offer oil of vitriol is not in the water which it contains, but altogether greater proportional recommendations than in the "real acid.". In like manner, the common crysany other names which are before chemists.
tals of hydrated sodic carbonate are valuable in propor
tion to the percentage of soda, Na,0, which they contain, In the course of the discussion which took place on and they are not unreasonably named after their chathe subject, I had occasion to point out that, inasmuch racteristic constituent. as salts in which the base is hydrogen, such as hydric There was, on the part of one or two distinguished nitrate, hydric sulphate, hydric phosphate, &c., are members of the Society, a feeling that the retention of admitted to be analogous in their constitution and pro- of electro-negative oxides” and “electro-positive oxides”
the words acid and base in their established signification perties to the salts of the regular metals such as silver, might be inconvenient in presence of the fact that potassium, &c., it is desirable, when describing their re- chlorine forms with hydrogen a very acid salt, and that actions, to designate them by names bearing a corre- some other elements also form acid hydrides. But when sponding analogy to the names of the salts of silver, it is admitted that H,SO, is a salt, though of very acid potassium, &c.; that in describing the reactions of properties, that HNO3 and H,PO, are also very acid double salts, containing as base partly hydrogen, partly salts, and that in scientific language they must be desigsome heavier metal, such as common rhombic phosphate, &c., should be salts of considerable acidity, and it is not
nated as salts, it really is not surprising that HCI,HBr, HNa,PO,, it is not only desirable to introduce the name unnatural to call them salts of hydrogen in systematic of the hydrogen in a form similar to that of the other nomenclature. The fact that we cannot remove the metal, but it is really not possible to obtain systematic elements of water from hydric chloride and make C1,-0, and consistent names without representing in them the whilst we can remove water from hydric sulphate and metallic functions of the hydrogen ; that when hydro- make 50-0, is really no reason against classing, side gen is in the place of an acid or chlorous constituent of by side, hydrogen salts with compound radicals such as & salt, it must be described by a term which represents NO,, SO, PO,, &c., and those with elementary radicals the fact of its having such functions.
such as CI, Br. &c. In fact it is not allowable to apply to hydrogen-salts Since my suggestions have been published, Mr. names which conceal their analogy with other salts, or
Foster has published in the Philosophical Magazine a which imply the absence of saline constitution in hydro- paper “On Chemical Nomenclature, and chiefly on the gen salts. Thus it is a faulty expression to say that the
use of the word Acid.” In this paper Mr. Foster excommon process for preparing so-called nitric acid con- presses assent to the form of names of which I had resists in the action of sulphuric acid on potassic nitrate, commended the systematic adoprion; and he says, “ If forming potassic bisulphate and nitric acid ; for such an we regard the salts of hydrogen as constituted like the expression conveys the idea of a mere displacement of salts of any other metal, the application to them of the
VOL. XII. No. 292.-JULY 7, 1865.