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# CHM167/chapter2/HaslizaYusof

## EMPIRICAL AND MOLECULAR FORMULA

2.1 Calculation on Empirical & Molecular Formula
Empirical Formulas
the lowest whole number ratio of the atoms in a compound/molecule
- not necessarily represent the actual number of atom in a molecule
Molecular Formulas
show the actual/true formulas of atom of each element in a molecule
Name
Acetylene
Benzene
Ribose
Glucose

## Table: Examples of Molecular & Empirical Formula

Molecular (actual formula)
Empirical (simplest formula)
C2H2
CH
C6H6
CH
C5H10O5
CH2O
C6H12O6
CH2O

Guide to calculating
Empirical Formula

STEP 1

STEP 2

STEP 3

## Use lowest whole number ratio of moles as

subscripts

Example:
A laboratory experiment indicates that a compound contains 6.87g iron & 13.1g chlorine. What is the
empirical formula of this compound?

CHM167/chapter2/HaslizaYusof

EXERCISE

1. Some yellow crystals are analyzed & found to contain 2.32g Li and 2.68g O. What is the empirical
formula?
2. Calculate the EF for 3.57g N and 2.04g O?
3. Peroxyacylnitrate (PAN) is one of the components of smog containing percent composition by mass;
19.8% C, 2.50% H, 11.6% N and the remainder is oxygen. Determine the empirical formula of this
compound

## Molecular Formula = (Empirical Formula) n

n = whole number (1,2,3,.
Compound
Acetaldehyde
Acetic acid
Lactic acid

EF

MF

CH2O
CH2O
CH2O

CH2O
C2H4O2
C3H6O3

Molar mass
(g/mol)
30.0
60.0
90.0

Integer x EF
(CH2O) 1
(CH2O) 2
(CH2O) 3

## * several different compounds that have the same EF, CH2O

n = molar mass of compound (g/mol)
Empirical formula mass (g/mol)

Guide to calculating a
MF from an EF

STEP 1

STEP 2

## Divide the molar mass by the EF mass to

obtain a small integer

STEP 3

## Multiply the ef by an integer to obtain the MF

Integer x EF
mass
1 (30.0)
2 (60.0)
3 (90.0)

CHM167/chapter2/HaslizaYusof

Example:
Earlier we worked out the EF of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to be C 3H4O3. If we are given a molar mass of
176.12 g/mol for ascorbic acid, we can its MF

EXCERCISE
1. Naphthalene is a compound containing carbon & hydrogen that is often used in mothballs. Its
empirical formula is C5H4 and its molar mass is 128.16 g/mol. Find its molecular formula
2. Elemental analysis of butanedione gave the following mass percent composition: C, 55.80%, H,
7.03%; O, 37.17%. The molar mass of butanediane is 86.09 g/mol. Find the empirical formula and
molecular formula of butanediane
3. Nicotine, a stimulant found in tobacco, has the following mass percent composition: C, 74.03%; H,
8.70%; N, 17.27%. The molar mass of nicotine is 162.23 g/mol. Find the empirical formula and
molecular formula of nicotine.
4. Cumene is a hydrocarbon compound composed of C and H. It contains 89.94% of carbon. Its
molecular mass was found to be 120.2 g/mol. determine the empirical formula and the molecular
formula of this compound

CHM167/chapter2/HaslizaYusof

-

## % composition of elements present in a compound in the mass % of each element

by dividing the mass of each element with molar mass & then x 100%
Mass % of each
element in a compound

## mass or molar mass of each element

mass or molar mass of compound

x 100%

Guide to
calculating %
composition

## Determine the total mass of each element in

the molar mass of a formula

## Divide the total mass of each element

by the mass
& multiply to 100%
Example:
1. Calculate the % composition of N2O
2. A sample of ascorbic acid contains only C, H and O. A 3.87 x 10 -3 g of this sample was burnt to yield
5.80 x 10-3 g CO2 and 1.58 x 10-3 g H2O
a) calculate the mass of C and the mass of H
b) calculate the percentage yield of C, H and O
3. Calculate the percentage mass of water in hydrated copper (II) sulphate, CuSO 4.5H2O

CHM167/chapter2/HaslizaYusof

TUTORIAL
1. Butane is compound containing carbon & hydrogen that is used as a fuel in butane lighters. Its
empirical formula is C2H5 and its molar mass is 58.12 g/mol. Find its molecular formula
2. A sample of urea contains 1.121 g N, 0.16 g H, 0.480g C and 0.640 g O. What is the empirical
formula of urea?
3. Acetic acid is a major component in the production of vinegar. Its analysis shows that vinegar
consists of 40% carbon, 6.71% hydrogen and 53.29% oxygen. If the molar mass of acetic acid is 60.0
g/mol, determine the empirical and molecular formula of acetic acid
4. Nicotine is a compound containing carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen. A sample of 1.50 g of

nicotine is found to contain 1.11 g of carbon, 8.7 % by mass of hydrogen and the remainder
is nitrogen
a) Determine the empirical formula of this compound.
b) What is the molecular formula of nicotine if its molar mass is 162 g/mol.
5. Cumene is a hydrocarbon that is used in the production of phenol in industry. Combustion of 4.76 mg
of cumene produces 15.68 mg CO2 and 4.28 mg of H2O
a) calculate the percent composition by mass of C and H in cumene
b) calculate the empirical formula of cumene
c) determine the molecular formula if its molar mass is 120 g/mol
6. When 0.236 g aspirin is burned in excess O2, 0.519 g CO2 and 0.0945 g H2O are formed. Determine
the mass of C, H and O in aspirin