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What is a binary compound?

Which of these substances are binary compounds: potassium chlorite, potassium chloride, potassium hydroxide, potassium cyanide.
Anna 5/29/00

Vocabulary
binary compound*
compound*
element*
formula*
potassium chloride
potassium chlorite
potassium cyanide
potassium hydroxide
Binary means "two". A binary star is two stars; a binary number is made of two types of digits, ones and zeros; and a binary compound contains two different elements, chemically bound together.

It's easy to recognize binary compounds- if you have their formulas.

Check the binary compounds below.
HCl
HClO
H2S
NH3
HCN
HNO3

If you're given compound names, you'll have to translate them into formulas before you can decide if the compound is binary or not. See the Compounds section of the Companion notes for more on writing formulas from names.

Check the binary compounds below.
rubidium chloride
calcium hypochlorite
water
sodium nitrite
sulfuric acid
gallium arsenide

Author: Fred Senese senese@antoine.frostburg.edu



General Chemistry Online! What is a binary compound?

Copyright © 1997-2010 by Fred Senese
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Last Revised 08/17/15.URL: http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/compounds/faq/what-is-a-binary-compound.shtml