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formula for rubidium phosphide

The formula for rubidium phosphide is RbH2PO4. This formula identifies the cation (Rb) and the anion (dihydrogen phosphate). It also describes the oxidation state of the cation.

First, you need to understand that this is an ionic compound! It is ionic because the cation and the anion each have one charge, and they add up to zero.

There are several types of ionic compounds: cations with fixed oxidation states, ions with variable oxidation states, and polyatomic ions. You must be able to identify the type of ion and its charge in any given formula.

You should also be able to tell if there are two nonmetals involved in the formula. The formulas above use the Greek system of naming, but that naming technique is only used when a binary compound of two nonmetals is involved.

This is the only method of naming a binary compound that involves a nonmetal, so it is important that you are familiar with this method. You will see this in the four examples above.

The Greek System of Naming

Many unaware ChemTeam students have made the mistake of identifying compounds like BaSO4 as barium monosulfur tetraoxide. This is a very common error, and it has resulted in some unfortunate student mishaps.

Alternatively, you might try to write the name of the compound as “dinitrogen pentaoxide.” This is a more correct form, and it sounds much better.

Another way to name the compound is by using the IUPAC formula for nitrogen dioxide, or nitrogen monoxide. However, you should always write the IUPAC formula in a format that is easy to read.