Problem: Valproic acid, used to treat seizures and bipolar disorder, is composed of C, H, and O. A 0.165-g sample is combusted to produce 0.166 g of water and 0.403 g of carbon dioxide.What is the empirical formula for valproic acid?

FREE Expert Solution

We’re being asked to determine the empirical formula of valproic acid, a compound composed of C, H, and O

based on the given the combustion analysis.

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

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

CxHyOz + O2 (excess)  x CO2y H2O

This means we need to do the following steps:

Step 1: Calculate the mass of C and H in the compound.

Step 2: Calculate the mass of O in the compound.

Step 3: Determine the lowest whole number ratio of C, H, and O to get the empirical formula.

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Problem Details

Valproic acid, used to treat seizures and bipolar disorder, is composed of C, H, and O. A 0.165-g sample is combusted to produce 0.166 g of water and 0.403 g of carbon dioxide.

What is the empirical formula for valproic acid?