What is the correct name of #Fe_2O_3#?

1 Answer
Feb 11, 2016

There are both a correct modern (IUPAC) name and a correct historical name. Both distinguish between the iron oxidation states.


The IUPAC - International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry - defines modern chemical nomenclature. Oxides are described with the metal atom first, followed by its oxidation state. Thus, the two forms of iron oxides are FeO and #Fe_2O_3#, with an iron oxidation state of +2 and +3, respectively.

The IUPAC designation for #Fe_2O_3# is iron (III) oxide.

The older historical names used the endings "ous" and "ic" to differentiate the two states. This is consistent with all oxide compounds (including "hypo", "hyper" prefixes for other values).

The former name for #Fe_2O_3# is ferric oxide.

In all cases, only calling it iron oxide is chemically incorrect.