Problem: A compound of molar mass 177 g/mol contains only carbon, hydrogen, bromine, and oxygen. Analysis reveals that the compound contains 8 times as much carbon as hydrogen by mass.Find the molecular formula.

FREE Expert Solution

Recall that the empirical formula is the simplest whole-number ratio of elements in a compound. The molecular formula is related to the empirical formula based on the molar mass.  


But, since only the molar mass of the compound and mass ratio of C and H are given, we need to use mathematical techniques to: 

  1. Determine the best subscripts for O and Br so that the compound’s molar mass is equal to 177 g/mole (based on its molecular formula).  
  2. Determine the subscript or mole ratio of C and H based on the given mass ratio
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Problem Details

A compound of molar mass 177 g/mol contains only carbon, hydrogen, bromine, and oxygen. Analysis reveals that the compound contains 8 times as much carbon as hydrogen by mass.

Find the molecular formula.

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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 Bertolini's class at USC.