Question Video: Determining the IUPAC Name of Formic Acid | Nagwa Question Video: Determining the IUPAC Name of Formic Acid | Nagwa

Question Video: Determining the IUPAC Name of Formic Acid Chemistry • Third Year of Secondary School

According to IUPAC nomenclature, which acid is commonly known as formic acid?

02:54

Video Transcript

According to IUPAC nomenclature, which acid is commonly known as formic acid?

IUPAC stands for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. This organization is the world authority on chemical nomenclature and terminology. The organization was formed in 1919 and has worked to establish a set of consistent and systematic rules for naming organic compounds. Although IUPAC nomenclature rules are widely used today, many compounds are still known by common names or trivial names. This is often because the common name was in use before IUPAC was established, or because the common name is much shorter and easier to use.

In this question, we are given the common name of an acid. We need to determine its chemical structure, then assign the compound and name following the IUPAC nomenclature rules. The name formic acid comes from the Latin word for “ant,” as formic acid was first isolated from the bodies of ants. Formic acid is a carboxylic acid, so its structure contains a carboxyl group. Moreover, formic acid is the simplest carboxylic acid and only contains one carbon atom. So that R group of formic acid is just a hydrogen atom.

Now that we have determined the structure of formic acid, we can assign the structure and name following the IUPAC nomenclature rules. As formic acid is a carboxylic acid, we’ll need to follow the steps for naming carboxylic acids. We start by naming the longest continuous chain of carbon atoms that contains the carboxyl carbon. This name consists of a prefix that indicates the number of carbon atoms in the continuous chain and a suffix that indicates the type of carbon-carbon bond.

Formic acid only has one carbon atom, so we use the prefix meth- to indicate one carbon atom. As there are no other carbon atoms in the chain, we use the suffix -ane to indicate that this portion of the molecule is an alkane and consists of only single covalent bonds. Of course, there is a double bond in the carboxyl group. But we have yet to account for this portion of the structure in the name. Next, we’ll drop the letter “e” from the end of the name and add the ending “oic acid.” This portion of the name indicates that the primary functional group is a carboxylic acid.

We have finished assigning the structure in IUPAC name. So, according to IUPAC nomenclature, the acid that is commonly known as formic acid is methanoic acid.

Join Nagwa Classes

Attend live sessions on Nagwa Classes to boost your learning with guidance and advice from an expert teacher!

  • Interactive Sessions
  • Chat & Messaging
  • Realistic Exam Questions

Nagwa uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more about our Privacy Policy