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What Is Empirical Formula?

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Lakshmipriya Nair Profile
Empirical formula refers to the chemical formulas of various elements and their relative proportions in a molecule than the actual number of atoms in the elements. It tells us about the relative ratios of different atoms in a compound. Isomerism, structure or absolute numbers of atoms find no mention in empirical formulas. It is the standard for ionic compounds and macromolecules.

Empirical here denotes a process of elemental analysis. Empirical formula is the reduced form of molecular formula and the simplest formula for a compound. It consists of elemental symbols in the elements that make the compound as well as the smallest whole number ratio. It is also a term used in physics to denote a mathematical equation that already has predicted results but its theoretical basis cannot be explained.
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Dave Cowles
Dave Cowles commented
More simply, it is just the basic whole number formula of a compound's atoms giving only information on their percentages. C2H6O is ethanol, CH4 is methane but two+ different compounds can have the same empirical formula so it is not too useful.

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