# Empirical formula & molecular formula: chemistry class 11

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Chemical formulas were obtained by determining the masses of all elements combined to form a molecule. Then we arrived at two important types of formulas in chemistry that is the molecular formula and the empirical formula. In this article, we will discuss the empirical formula and the molecular formula, so let’s get started…

An empirical formula represents the simple whole number ratio of different atoms present in a compound, while the molecular formula shows the exact number of different types of atoms present in a molecule of a compound. If the mass percent of various elements present in a compound are known, their molecular formula can be determined. The molecular formula is also obtained if the molar mass is known.

Inside Story

## What is the molecular formula?

• The molecular formula is the derived formula of molecules and represents the total number of individual atoms present in a molecule of a compound.
• A molecular formula uses a subscript that gives the actual number of each type of atom in a molecule of the compound.
• Molecular formulas are assigned gram molecular masses, which are simple integer multiples of the mass of the corresponding empirical formula.

The general statement relating molecular formula and the empirical formula is given as

## What is the empirical formula?

• The molecular formula is the simplest formula for a compound, defined as the ratio of subscripts to the smallest possible integer number of elements present in the formula. It is also known as the simplest formula.
• An empirical formula for a compound is the formula of a substance written with the smallest whole number subscript.
• The empirical formula provides information about the ratio of the atomic numbers in the compound. The percentage composition of a compound leads directly to its empirical formula.

## Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

##### Why is it called an empirical formula?

If there is no subscription, it means there is an atom in the compound. The most direct formulation is also known as an analytical formula. The mathematical formulation is the ratio of the composite elements present. The subscripts in the formula are the number of atoms, resulting in a whole relationship between them.

##### What is an empirical formula with an example?

In chemistry, the empirical formula of a chemical compound is the simplest whole number ratio of atoms present in a compound. A simple example of this concept is that the empirical formula of sulfur monoxide, or SO, would simply be SO, as is the empirical formula of disulfur dioxide, S2O2

##### How are empirical and molecular formulas similar?

Molecular formulas tell you how many atoms of each element are in a compound, and empirical formulas tell you the simplest or most reduced ratio of elements in a compound. If a compound’s molecular formula cannot be reduced anymore, then the empirical formula is the same as the molecular formula.

##### What is called molecular formula?

The molecular formula is an expression that defines the number of atoms of each element in one molecule of a compound. It shows the actual number of each atom in a molecule. For example, the molecular formula of propane is C4H10. In this formula, there are 4 carbon atoms and 10 hydrogen atoms in the given compound.

##### Is CH4 both empirical and molecular?

The molecular formula of methane is CH4 and because it contains only one carbon atom, that is also its empirical formula.

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