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When converting from molecular to empirical formulas, do we just have to simplify in order to get the smallest ratio? For example, one of the homework problems provides us with a diagram of a molecule and asks us to find the molecular and empirical formulas (F 25, sixth edition). Just by counting the individual atoms, I can get the molecular formula, so do I just simplify this to get the empirical formula?
Yes, you can just simplify the molecular formula because the empirical formula is the simplest positive integer ratio of atoms present in the compound. For example, the molecular formula for butane is C4H10, while the empirical formula for butane is C2H5.
Yes that is the way to go. However, if in a problem the molecular formula cannot be reduced then that is also the empirical formula.
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