Problem: An organic compound was found to contain only C, H, and Cl. When a 1.60 -g sample of the compound was completely combusted in air, 3.75 g of CO2 was formed. In a separate experiment the chlorine in a 1.30 -g sample of the compound was converted to 1.65 g of AgCl.Determine the empirical formula of the compound.

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We’re being asked to determine the empirical formula of a compound composed of C, H, and Cl given the combustion analysis, a 1.60-g sample is combusted to produce 3.75 g of COand in a separate experiment, the chlorine in a 1.30-g sample was converted into 1.65-g AgCl


Recall that in combustion analysisa compound reacts with excess O2 to form products

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


CxHyClz + O2 (excess) x CO2 + y H2O+ z HCl


This means we need to do the following steps:

Step 1: Calculate the mass of C in the compound from combustion.

Step 2: Calculate the mass of Cl in the compound from the reaction.

Step 3: Calculate the mass of H by subtracting the mass of C and Cl from the total mass.

Step 4: Determine the lowest whole number ratio of C, H, and Cl to get the empirical formula.


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Problem Details

An organic compound was found to contain only C, H, and Cl. When a 1.60 -g sample of the compound was completely combusted in air, 3.75 g of CO2 was formed. In a separate experiment the chlorine in a 1.30 -g sample of the compound was converted to 1.65 g of AgCl.

Determine the empirical formula of the compound.

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What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Combustion Analysis concept. You can view video lessons to learn Combustion Analysis. Or if you need more Combustion Analysis practice, you can also practice Combustion Analysis practice problems.

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Minger's class at UCB.