My book gives the IUPAC name of $\ce{KAl(SO4)2.12H2O}$ which is nothing but emperical formula of potash alum as

"Potassium aluminium (III) sulphate -12 water"

But Wikipedia gives it as "Aluminium potassium sulfate dodecahydrate" , though there could be change in name because of number of water molecules but there is significant difference between the two names

So, my question is how to give IUPAC name to a double salt (potash alum is a double salt), and why is there difference between two iupac names I.e the one which is given in my book and the one in wikipidea.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Aluminium potassium sulphate (or sulfate) dodecahydrate is correct. Cations in alphabetical order. However, the reversed form is tolerable. $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Oct 12, 2015 at 11:29

1 Answer 1


According to the current version of Nomenclature of Inorganic Chemistry – IUPAC Recommendations 2005 (Red Book), alphabetical order is used.

Alphabetical order is used in formulae as follows.

(a) Within the group of cations and within the group of anions, respectively, in formulae of salts and double salts. Deviations from this rule may be acceptable if it is desired to convey specific structural information (…)


Alphabetical order is used in names as follows.

(d) In compositional names, the names of the formally electropositive components and the names of the formally electronegative components are each arranged alphabetically with the former group of components preceding the latter. (…)

Note that the order of components in the name may deviate from the order of the corresponding components in the formula. For example:

$\ce{KMgF3}$ (since K < M)
magnesium potassium fluoride (since m < p)

$\ce{ZnI(OH)}$ (since I < O)
zinc hydroxide iodide (since h < i)


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