Problem: A compound containing only sulfur and nitrogen is 69.6% S by mass; the molar mass is 184 g/mol. What are the empirical and molecular formulas of the compound?

FREE Expert Solution

We’re being asked to determine the molecular formula of a compound containing only sulfur and nitrogen is 69.6% S by mass. This means we need to do the following steps:


Step 1: Calculate the mass and moles of S and N in the compound.

Step 2: Determine the lowest whole number ratio of S and N 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 S and N and we’re only given the mass percent of S (69.6% S). Recall that the mass percentages of a compound must add up to 100%. This means: 


100% = %mass S + %mass N

100% = 69.6% + % mass N

% mass N = 100% – 69.6%

% mass N = 30.4%



Recall that mass percent is given by:

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Problem Details

A compound containing only sulfur and nitrogen is 69.6% S by mass; the molar mass is 184 g/mol. What are the empirical and molecular formulas of the compound?

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

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Ali's class at Antelope Valley College.

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Our data indicates that this problem or a close variation was asked in Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach - Zumdahl Atoms 1st 2nd Edition. You can also practice Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach - Zumdahl Atoms 1st 2nd Edition practice problems.