Problem: An organic compound contains C, H, and O. The percentages of H and C are 6.73% H, and 39.99% C by mass. The molar mass is 60.06 amu. What is the molecular formula of the compound?A) CH2OB) C4H8O4C) C2H3O2D) C2H4O2E) C3H6O3

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We’re being asked to determine the molecular formula of a compound composed of C, H, and O given the mass percent of C and H. 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 3: Get the ratio of the molar mass and empirical mass to determine the molecular formula.


Step 1: The compound is composed of C, H, O and we’re only given the mass percent of C (39.99% C) and H (6.73% H). Recall that the mass percentages of a compound must add up to 100%. This means:



Recall that mass percent is given by:



Assuming we have 100 g of the compound, this means we have 39.99 g C, 6.73 g H, and 53.28 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.


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Problem Details

An organic compound contains C, H, and O. The percentages of H and C are 6.73% H, and 39.99% C by mass. The molar mass is 60.06 amu. What is the molecular formula of the compound?

A) CH2O

B) C4H8O4

C) C2H3O2

D) C2H4O2

E) C3H6O3

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