Chemical symbol

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A chemical symbol is a code for a chemical element or chemical group. The term element symbol is sometimes used for the elements. They are used to represent the elements in the periodic table.


Chemical symbols for elements consist of one or two letters from the Latin alphabet, with the first letter capitalized, but can contain three when the element has a systematic temporary name. The letters are selected from the Latin name of the chemical element.

Chemical symbols have been officially chosen by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

Pseudoelement symbols are symbols that appear to be chemical element symbols, but represent certain very common substituents or indicate an unspecified member of a group of elements. These are known as pseudoelement symbols or organic elements and are treated like univalent "elements" in skeletal formulae.


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