Problem: Could the empirical formula determined from chemical analysis be used to tell the difference between acetylene, C2H2, and benzene, C6H6?

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We’re being asked to determine if the empirical formula from chemical analysis can be used to tell the difference between acetylene, C2H2, and benzene, C6H6


Recall that empirical measurements are based on a measurable quantity like mass. Knowing the mass of each element in a compound we can determine it's formula. There are two types of formulas, empirical and molecular.

  • Empirical Formula: Lowest whole number ratio of the elements in a compound
  • Molecular Formula: Actual whole number ratio of the elements in a compound.


To solve this problem, we will get the empirical formula of acetylene and benzene then compare if there are any differences.

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Problem Details

Could the empirical formula determined from chemical analysis be used to tell the difference between acetylene, C2H2, and benzene, C6H6?

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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 Empirical Formula concept. You can view video lessons to learn Empirical Formula. Or if you need more Empirical Formula practice, you can also practice Empirical Formula practice problems.

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor St Hill's class at UH.