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Explain the terms percentage composition, empirical formula and molecular formula.
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Percentage composition:

  • The percentage composition of a compound is the percentage by weight of each element present in the compound.
  • Quantitative determination of the constituent elements by suitable methods provides the percent elemental composition of a compound.
  • If the percent total is not 100, the difference is considered as percent oxygen.
  • From the percentage composition, the ratio of the atoms of the constituent elements in the molecule is calculated.

Empirical formula:

The simplest ratio of atoms of the constituent elements in a molecule is called the empirical formula of that compound. e.g. The empirical formula of benzene is CH 

Molecular formula:

  1. Molecular formula of a compound is the formula which indicates the actual number of atoms of the constituent elements in a molecule.
    e.g. The molecular formula of benzene is C6H6.
  2. It can be obtained from the experimentally determined values of percent elemental composition and molar mass of that compound.
  3. Molecular formula can be obtained from the empirical formula if the molar mass is known.

           Molecular formula = r\(\times\) Empirical formula

\(r = \frac{Molecular\ mass}{ Empirical\ for\ mulamass}\)

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