Problem: The following diagram represents the collection of CO2 and H2O molecules formed by complete combustion of a hydrocarbon.What is the empirical formula of the hydrocarbon?

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FREE Expert Solution

We’re being asked to determine the empirical formula of a hydrocarbon from the combustion diagram above.

Recall that in combustion analysis, a hydrocarbon reacts with excess O2 to form products. 

For a compound composed of C ad H the reaction looks like this:


CxHy + O2 (excess) x CO2 + y H2O


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Problem Details
The following diagram represents the collection of CO2 and H2O molecules formed by complete combustion of a hydrocarbon.

5 H2O and 4 CO2 molecules.

What is the empirical formula of the hydrocarbon?