# difference, chemistry problem, CHEMISTRY EXPERTS WANTED?

what's the difference between empirical formula and molecular formulas? how do you solve empirical problems if the percentage is not given? how do you solve for molecular formulas?

### 3 Answers

- Anonymous1 decade agoFavorite Answer
In chemistry, the empirical formula of a chemical compound is a simple expression of the relative number of each type of atom in it.

In contrast, the molecular formula identifies a multiple of the smallest whole number ratio in moles.

For example, n-hexane, a chemical compound has the molecular formula CH3CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3, implying that it has a straight chain structure, 6 carbon atoms, and 14 hydrogen atoms. Hexane's molecular formula is C6H14, and its empirical formula would be C3H7 showing a C:H ratio of 3:7.

1. Start with the number of grams of each element, given in the problem.

If percentages are given, assume that the total mass is 100 grams so that

the mass of each element = the percent given.

2. Convert the mass of each element to moles using the molar mass from the periodic table.

n = m / M

n = moles

m = mass (g)

M = molar mass (gmol^-1)

3. Divide each mole value by the smallest number of moles calculated.

4. Round to the nearest whole number. This is the mole ratio of the elements and is

represented by subscripts in the empirical formula.

If the number is too far to round (x.1 ~ x.9), then multiply each solution by the same

factor to get the lowest whole number multiple.

e.g. If one solution is 1.5, then multiply each solution in the problem by 2 to get 3.

e.g. If one solution is 1.25, then multiply each solution in the problem by 4 to get 5.

Once the empirical formula is found, the molecular formula for a compound can be determined if the molar mass of the compound is known. Simply calculate the mass of the empirical formula and divide the molar mass of the compound by the mass of the empirical formula to find the ratio between the molecular formula and the empirical formula. Multiply all the atoms (subscripts) by this ratio to find the molecular formula.

hope this hepls:-D

Source(s): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empirical_formula http://www.chem.tamu.edu/class/majors/tutorialnote... - Anonymous1 decade ago
well to start off the difference between to empirical and molecular formulas is that empirical is the smallest whole number ratio molecular is not.

To find the percentages of the elements is find the molar mass of each element then if that element has a subscript multiply the molar mass by it's subscript then add up the molar masses of each element to get the molar mass of the entire equation then take the molar mass of each element and divide it by the molar mass of the whole equation then times that number by 100 to get the percentages of the elements

if you have any questions Email me at want2no_it_all@yahoo.com

this can be very confusing

Source(s): high school chem - SheilaLv 44 years ago
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