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Key People:Joseph Loschmidt...(Show more)Related Topics:Fischer projectionEmpirical formulaStructural formulaMolecular formulaGeneral formula...(Show more)

Chemical formula, any of number of kinds of expression of the composition or structure of chemistry compounds. The forms generally encountered are empirical, molecular, structural, and projection formulas.

An empirical formula is composed of icons representing facets in a compound, such together Na because that sodium and Cl for chlorine, and also subscripts indicating the relative number of atoms of every constituent element. (A subscript is no used, however, unless the number is an ext than one.) Thus, benzene is stood for by the empirical formula CH, which indicates that a usual sample the the compound has one atom of carbon (C) come one atom of hydrogen (H). Water is stood for by the empirical formula H2O, denoting that the substance includes two atoms of hydrogen (H2) because that every atom that oxygen (O).


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A basic formula is a form of empirical formula the represents the composition of any kind of member of whole class of compounds. Every member the the course of paraffin hydrocarbons is, for example, composed of hydrogen and also carbon, the number of hydrogen atoms always being 2 or more than twice the variety of carbon atoms. Given that n represents “any number,” the general formula of this course is therefore CnH2n + 2.

Empirical formulas are normally used to represent substances v undetermined molecular frameworks or substances not comprised of typical molecular entities—e.g., salt chloride (table salt), i beg your pardon is composed of ions. To express the chemistry composition that the individual molecule of a substance—the molecule gift the smallest particle in i beg your pardon the substance retains its chemical properties—a molecular formula is employed. Because that example, the molecular recipe C2H4 and C3H6 for ethylene and also propylene, respectively, state the number and also kind the every atom present in a molecule of each substance. In contrast, both ethylene and propylene have the very same empirical formula, CH2, since they room both composed of carbon and also hydrogen atom in a proportion of 1 come 2. In part cases, such as water, the empirical and also molecular formulas of a substance may be identical.


Structural formulas determine the location of chemical bonds in between the atoms of a molecule. A structural formula consists of icons for the atoms linked by short lines that stand for chemical bonds—one, two, or three lines standing for single, double, or triple bonds, respectively. Because that example, the structure formula that ethane is

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signifying that the compound is composed of 2 carbon atom each connected to the other and to 3 hydrogen atom by solitary bonds. Structural recipe are specifically useful because that showing how compounds with the the same kind and variety of atoms differ.

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A projection formula is a two-dimensional depiction of what is actually a three-dimensional molecule. Such a formula each other the structural form in the it is composed of signs representing atoms of the constituent elements connected to each other by dashes or curves that stand because that chemical bonds. Thus, the methane molecule, identified by a tetrahedral disposition of 4 chemical bonds about a carbon atom, is conveniently represented by the forecast formula

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Projection formulas are widely provided in the research of stereoisomers—compounds that have the same composition however that different in the spatial plan of the atoms consisting of their molecules. Certain conventions for illustration projection formulas have actually been embraced so that stereoisomers deserve to be distinguished from one one more by means of proper differences in your formulas.