I know that this question might sound stupid to most of the people, but for a chemist noob like me is not very clear. So, here's the main question:

Is it appropriate to use the symbols (l) for liquids and (g) for gas in any reactions, or do the reactions have to be specific for a certain application?

The reason why I'm asking this is that in most of the cases, you don't see this notation. Also, are there other notations, for example (v) for vapor, or (s) for solid??

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I'd rarely, if ever, use (l) for liquid. I'd never use (v) for vapor. I'd only use (s) and (g) if they really added information to the equation. I'd be more inclined to use up-arrow for gas being given off and down-arrow for a precipitate. Some reactions do use a gas reacting with a solid. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Feb 21, 2017 at 16:27
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ In addition to @MaxW's suggestions, the (aq) identifier for aqueous species is commonly seen and useful at times, especially if there is ambiguity concerning whether the solvent is water or something else. $\endgroup$ Feb 21, 2017 at 16:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Take for example H + OH + M -> H2O + M*. I would not use any of these indicators here. M could be anything really, H and OH are highly reactive radicals and defining them as "being a gas" is certainly questionable. $\endgroup$
    – AMT
    Feb 21, 2017 at 18:59
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The one place that I'd used additional symbols everywhere is when calculating Standard Enthalpy of Formation. With all the swirling around it is easy to get lost. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Feb 21, 2017 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ Is there really (v) for vapor? Is there any arguments from authority (IUPAC or similar)? $\endgroup$
    – mhchem
    Mar 9, 2017 at 13:57


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