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Consider air pollutants like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide for which we use their chemical formulas, $\ce{CO}$ and $\ce{NO2}$ respectively, as a way to compactly refer to them when writing reports or academic papers. However there are some pollutants for which this notation does not correspond to a chemical formula, e.g., particulate matter which we also represent like this: $\ce{PM10}$, $\ce{PM_{2.5}}$.

Considering this, it feels that calling this notation a "chemical formula" is not appropriate. So what is the right name for this notation?

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    $\begingroup$ I would denote $PM_{10}$ as abbreviation and I am not aware of an overarching name for both notations. In addition to $PM_{10}$ we also have things like VOCs, which I would also consider as abbreviations -- but somehow different abbreviations ... . If you need a word for the heading of a table, I would suggest using compound, species or parameter (whereas, parameter might be something different, if you do air quality modeling). $\endgroup$ – daniel.heydebreck Mar 15 at 20:07
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks @daniel.heydebreck . Yesterday I did little more research and it seems that indeed it is an abbreviation or a symbol. $\endgroup$ – fire-bee Mar 17 at 0:09

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