How do I write #Sn(NO_3)_2# in Ionic formula?

1 Answer
Mar 27, 2014

You write Sn(NO₃)₂ as Sn²⁺, 2NO₃⁻.

The formula Sn(NO₃)₂ tells you that there are one Sn ion and two NO₃ ions in a formula unit.

The positive ions come first in the formula. So we have #Sn^(m+)# ions and #NO_3^(n-)# ions. But what are the values of m and n?

Sn is not a metal from Group 1, 2, or 3, so the Periodic Table doesn’t help us. And NO₃ is a polyatomic ion. Again, the Periodic Table gives no help.

We have to think of some simple compound that contains NO₃. Possibilities are HNO₃ and NaNO₃. Both H and Na are in Group 1. They form +1 ions.

Since HNO₃ is neutral and H has a charge of +1, NO₃ must have a charge of -1. The formula of the ion is NO₃⁻.

Sn(NO₃)₂ contains two NO₃⁻ ions, for a total charge of -2. The Sn ion must then have a charge of +2. We write its symbol as Sn²⁺.

The ionic formulation of Sn(NO₃)₂ is Sn²⁺, 2NO₃⁻.