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I was wondering is someone could please help answer this question for me. I was recently reading the ingredients on my toothpaste container, and one of the compounds in it was 'Sodium Pyrophosphate'; what does the 'Pyro-' prefix mean? I see it elsewhere but I've never come across such a nomenclature such as this. What does it mean in terms of Chemistry?

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It means that there are two phosphates connected together under loss of water, i.e.:

pyrophosphate

If you have any questions about the definitions of chemical nomenclature, have a look at the IUPAC gold book. See here. It basically says, that a pyro compound is one that is formed by heating another compound, usually under the loss of simple molecules like $\mathrm{H_2O}$ or $\mathrm{CO_2}$.

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  • $\begingroup$ So sodium pyrophosphate would be the sodium salt of the above acid ; ) $\endgroup$ – logical x 2 Oct 23 '16 at 8:38

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