Problem: Vitamin C is known chemically by the name ascorbic acid. Determine the empirical formula of ascorbic acid if it is composed of 40.92% carbon, 4.58% hydrogen, and 54.50% oxygen.

🤓 Based on our data, we think this question is relevant for Professor Pulido's class at MDC.

FREE Expert Solution

We’re being asked to determine the empirical formula of ascorbic acid if it is composed of 40.92% carbon, 4.58% hydrogen, and 54.50% oxygen.


This means we need to do the following steps:


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

Step 2: Determine the lowest whole number ratio of C, H, and O to get the empirical formula.



Step 1: The compound is composed of C, H, O and we’re given the mass percent of C (40.92% C), H (4.58% H) and O (54.50% O)

Check if the mass percentages of the compound add up to 100%


This means:


Total mass% = mass% C + mass%H + mass% OTotal mass % = 40.92% + 4.58%+ 54.50%Total mass% = 100.00%


Recall that mass percent is given by:

%mass = mass XTotal massx100


Assuming we have 100 g of the compound, this means we have 40.92 g C, 4.58 g H, and 54.50 g O

Now, we need to get the moles of each element in the compound. 


The atomic masses are 12 g/mol C, 1 g/mol H, 16 g/mol O.


View Complete Written Solution
Problem Details

Vitamin C is known chemically by the name ascorbic acid. Determine the empirical formula of ascorbic acid if it is composed of 40.92% carbon, 4.58% hydrogen, and 54.50% oxygen.