Common and Trade Names of Chemicals

This is intended to help High School Chemistry students answer questions about the chemical name and/or formula of various everyday substances. This list is, of course, incomplete as there are many more common substances than those included below.

The following table of the chemical names and molecular formulae of common chemicals is arranged in alphabetical order of the common or trade name of the chemical. If you are not sure what the molecular formulae mean you can look up the symbols by viewing the list of chemical elements (listed in alphabetical order of chemical symbol). You can also read more about molecular formulae of organic molecules.

Common /
Household Name
Chemical Name2,3
Molecular Formula

Notes:


Alcohol, wood

methanol, methyl alcohol

CH3OH

Alcohol, grain

ethanol or ethyl alcohol

C2H5OH

Alcohol, rubbing

2-propanol, propan-2-ol,
propyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol

C3H8O

Alcohol

ethanol or ethyl alcohol

C2H6O

Alka Seltzer*

sodium bicarbonate

CHNaO3

Antifreeze

ethylene glycol

C2H6O2

Antiperspirant

aluminum chlorohydrate

Al2Cl(OH)5

Aqua regia

1:3 mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids

HNO3 : 3 HCl

Aspirin*

acetylsalicylic acid

C9H8O4

Baking soda

sodium bicarbonate,
also known as:
sodium hydrogen carbonate

NaHCO3

Baking powder

sodium bicarbonate

NaHCO3

Banana oil

amyl acetate, isoamyl acetate

C7H14O2

Battery acid

sulphuric acid

H2SO4

Bleach (laundry)

sodium hypochlorite

NaClO

Boracic acid

boric acid

H3BO3

Borax

sodium tetraborate decahydrate

Na2B4O7 ⋅10H2O

Brass

alloy of copper and zinc

Cu and Zn

Bronze

alloy of copper and tin

Cu and Sn

Calgon*

calcium hexametaphosphate

(NaPO3)6

Caustic soda

sodium hydroxide

NaOH

Chalk

calcium carbonate

CaCO3

Chloroform

Trichloromethane

CHCl3

Chrome yellow

Lead(II) chromate

PbCrO4

Cream of tartar

Potassium hydrogen tartrate

KHC4H4O6

Diamond

carbon

C

Drano*

sodium hydroxide

NaOH

Easy-off*
(oven cleaner)

sodium hydroxide

NaOH

Egg shells

calcium carbonate

CaCO3

Epsom salts

magnesium sulphate

MgSO4 ⋅7H2O

Ether

Ethyl ether, also known as
ethoxy ethane

C4H10O
or can be written:
(C2H5)2O

Formalin

40% solution of formaldehyde+

CH2O

Glauber's salt

Hydrated sodium sulphate

Na2SO4

Glycerine

glycerol

C3H5(OH)3

Grain alcohol

Ethanol or ethyl alcohol

C2H5OH

Graphite

carbon

C

Green vitriol

Hydrated ferrous sulphate

FeSO4

Gypsum (also known as plasterboard)

calcium sulphate dihydrate

CaSO4 ⋅2H2O

Inverted sugar

Mixture of glucose and fructose

C6H12O6

and
C6H12O6

Laughing gas

Dinitrogen oxide

N2O

Lime

calcium oxide

CaO

Limestone

Calcium carbonate

CaCO3

Liquid paper*

titanium dioxide

TiO2

Lithopone

Mixture of zinc sulphide and barium sulphate

ZnS and BaSO4

Lye

Sodium hydroxide

NaOH

Magnesia

magnesium oxide

MgO

Marble

calcium carbonate

CaCO3

Margarine

partially saturated fatty acid

various

Marsh gas

Methane

CH4

MEK

Methyl ethyl ketone, butanone

C4H8O
= CH3COC2H5

Milk of magnesia

magnesium hydroxide

Mg(OH)2

Moth balls

Traditionally: naphthalene

Modern: 1,4-dichlorobenzene

C10H8

C6H4Cl2

MSG

monosodium glutamate

C5H8NNaO4

Nutrasweet®*

aspartame

C14H18N2O5

Paris green

Double salt of copper acetate and copper arsenite

Cu(C2H3O2)2 ·3Cu(AsO2)2

Pewter

alloy of tin, copper, antimony, and lead

Sn, Cu, Sb & Pb

Picric acid

2,4,6-trinitrophenol (TNP)

C6H3N3O7

Plaster

calcium hydroxide

Ca(OH)2

Plaster of Paris

Calcium sulphate hemihydrate

CaSO4 ⋅½ H2O

Potash

potassium carbonate

K2CO3

Prussian blue

Ferric ferrocyanide

Fe7(CN)18 ⋅14 H2O

Pyrite ('Fool's Gold')

Iron disulphide

FeS2

Quartz

silicon dioxide

SiO2

Quicklime

calcium oxide

CaO

Rolaids®*

dihydroxyaluminum sodium carbonate

NaAl(OH)2CO3

Rubbing alcohol

2-propanol, propan-2-ol,
propyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol

C3H8O

Salt (Table Salt)

sodium chloride

NaCl

Sand

silicon dioxide

SiO2

Sani-flush®*

Sodium bisulphate, with sodium carbonate (and other ingredients)

NaHSO4
with Na2CO3

Saran™ wrap*

poly-1,1-dichloroethylene

[polymer]

Silica

silicon dioxide

SiO4

Slaked lime

Calcium hydroxide

Ca(OH)2

Smelling salts

ammonium carbonate

(NH4)2CO3 ·H2O

Solder

alloy of tin and antimony

Sugar (Table Sugar)

sucrose

C12H22O11

Teflon®*

polymer of tetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)

(C2F4)n

TNT

Trinitrotoluene

C7H5N3O6

Toluol

toluene

C7H8 or
C6H5CH3

Tums®*

calcium carbonate

CaCO3

Tylenol®*

paracetamol (British English); acetominophen (in USA)

C8H9NO2

Vinegar

acetic acid, ethanoic acid

C2H4O2

Vitamin C

ascorbic acid

C6H8O6

Washing soda

Sodium carbonate decahydrate (hydrated sodium carbonate)

NaCO3 ⋅10H2O

White lead

basic lead carbonate

(PbCO3)2 ·Pb(OH)2

Windex®*

ammonia plus detergents, dyes and fragrances.

NH3

Wood alcohol

Methyl alcohol, methanol

CH3OH


See also more molecular formulae of common chemicals.

Chemistry with Mastering Chemistry: An Introduction to Organic, Inorganic and Physical Chemistry Surviving Chemistry Review Book
Homework Helpers: Chemistry (Homework Helpers (Career Press)) Memorize the Periodic Table
Organic Chemistry I for Dummies by Arthur Winter Bioinorganic Chemistry - Inorganic Elements in the Chemistry of Life

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