Is there a name for the class of stand alone molecules that contains oxygen, water, hydrogen peroxide, and ozone? ($\ce{O2}$, $\ce{H2O}$, $\ce{H2O2}$, $\ce{O3}$) I would not want to include hydroxyls $\ce{OH}$ because they aren't neutral molecules that I can buy.

I think oxide and oxygenate is too generic.

Thanks for your help!

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Oxygen and ozone are oxygen allotropes. Water and peroxide are both hydrogen oxides (dihydrogen di/mono oxides). I don't think there's a name for the four of them. $\endgroup$
    – Molx
    Sep 7, 2015 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ For C and H, there are hydrocarbons. These do not include the elements and their allotropes, though. $\endgroup$
    – Karsten
    Jan 25, 2023 at 20:49

2 Answers 2


Not only I've never heard of a name for such a class, but the very choice of compounds seems quite artificial to me. What feature do they have in common?

  • Consisting of H and O? That would exclude oxygen and ozone.
  • Consisting of H and/or O? That would include $\mathrm H_2$ as well.
  • Containing "active oxygen", whatever that might mean? That would exclude water, but include a bunch of inorganic and organic peroxides.
  • Oxide is indeed too generic; also, it does not include oxygen and ozone. Oxygenate is even farther off.

Why would you want to have such a class, really?

  • $\begingroup$ The idea was indeed to have a class of compounds that contain an oxygen that can be or is already active. Adsorbing water, ozone, oxygen, or hydrogen peroxide on a TiO2(110) surface for example will all interact with oxygen vacancies present on the surface. (I guess this is more of a surface science kind of question.) I wanted a way to refer to them all without explicitly listing them out each time. I guess there isn't a good way to classify them, thanks for the response! $\endgroup$
    – Coherent
    Sep 7, 2015 at 18:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Now that makes things a lot clearer. But is the class really this narrow? Not being quite familiar with surface science, I still have a strong feeling that any alcohol (and maybe almost any other oxygen-containing molecule) would do just as well. Would it not? $\endgroup$ Sep 7, 2015 at 18:16
  • $\begingroup$ Right, I can call organic compounds oxygenates to encompass alcohols, aldehydes, and ketones but I wasn't sure if there was a term I could use as easily for those without carbon essentially. Thanks for the input! $\endgroup$
    – Coherent
    Sep 7, 2015 at 20:56

Probably the best generic description is given by Wikipedia:

Hydrogen polyoxides (also known as oxidanes, oxohydrogens, or oxyhydrogens) are chemical compounds that consist only of hydrogen and oxygen atoms, are bonded exclusively by single bonds (i.e., they are saturated), and are acyclic (have molecular structures containing no cycles or loops). They can, therefore, be classed as hydrogen chalcogenides.

Examples are known experimentally up to $\ce{HO3}$ and $\ce{H2O5}$, and neutral $\ce{H3O}$ has been proposed on theoretical grounds. The polyoxygen species enter into the mechanisms of reactions involving $\ce{O2}$, ozone and hydrogen peroxide, and $\ce{H3O}$ at high pressures may exist in ice-giant planetary interiors.

Molecules that contain a divalent oxygen atom are sometimes named as derivatives of "oxidane", the parent being $\ce{H2O}$, even though that compound per se is of course named "water".


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