Problem: When hydrocarbons are burned in a limited amount of air, both CO and CO2 form. When 0.460 g of a particular hydrocarbon was burned in air, 0.477 g of CO, 0.749 g of CO2, and 0.460 g of H2O were formed.What is the empirical formula of the compound?

FREE Expert Solution

We have to determine the molecular formula of a hydrocarbon, 0.460 g of which 0.477 g CO, 0.749 g CO2 and 0.460 g H2O upon combustion.


Empirical formula is a chemical formula that gives the relative proportions of elements in a compound but not the actual number of atoms of elements in a compound.


We will calculate the empirical formula through these steps:

Step 1: Find the mass of C and H using the given masses of CO, CO2 and H2O.

Step 2: Find the percentage of C and H in the compound.

Step 3: Dividing the percentages of C and H by their average atomic masses.

Step 4: Dividing the obtained numbers by the smallest number among them and rounding off to the nearest whole numbers to get the empirical formula.


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Problem Details

When hydrocarbons are burned in a limited amount of air, both CO and CO2 form. When 0.460 g of a particular hydrocarbon was burned in air, 0.477 g of CO, 0.749 g of CO2, and 0.460 g of H2O were formed.

What is the empirical formula of the compound?