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Molecular Formula

The molecular formula is the true formula representing the total number of atoms of each element present in one molecule of a compound. It is entirely possible that two or more substances will have the same percent composition, yet be distinctly different compounds.

A molecular formula consists of the chemical symbols for the constituent elements followed by numeric subscripts describing the number of atoms of each element present in the molecule. Molecular formulas describe the exact number and type of atoms in a single molecule of a compound. The constituent elements are represented by their chemical symbols, and the number of atoms of each element present in each molecule is shown as a subscript following that element’s symbol. 

Molecular Formula is defined as "the formula that shows the actual number of each kind of atom in a molecule."

The Molecular Formula is calculated from the empirical formula when the molar mass is known.
Molecular FormulaOften the molecular formula is the same as the empirical formula. If the molecular formula is not the same, it will be an integral multiple of the empirical formula.

The Molecular Formula is the true formula representing the total number of atoms of each element present in one molecule of the compound.

Related Calculators
Molecular Formula Calculator How to Calculate Molecular Mass
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Molecular Problems

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Solved problems based on molecular formula are given below.

Solved Examples

Question 1: A hydrocarbon contains 92.5% of carbon and 7.5% of hydrogen by weight. The molecular weight of the compound is 78. Deduce the molecular formula of the hydrocarbon.
Solution:
 
Element 
%
atomic weight
% atomic weight
Relative numbers Simplest ratio
92.5
12.011
$\frac{92.5}{12.011}$ = 7.701
$\frac{7.701}{7.433}$ = 0.03 1
7.5
1.008
$\frac{7.5}{1.008}$ = 7.433 $\frac{7.433}{7.433}$ = 1 1

The empirical formula of the hydrocarbon = CH
The formula weight of CH = 12.011 + 1.008 = 13.019
The molecular weight of the compound = 78

We have
(Formula weight)n = Molecular weight
or 13.019 n = 78
n = 6
(Empirical formula)n = Molecular formula
Hence the molecular formula = (CH)6 = C6H6

 

Question 2: Empirical formula of a compound is XY2. If its empirical formula weight is equal to its vapor density. Calculate the molecular formula of the compound.
Solution:
 
Molecular formula = Empirical formula $\times$ n

n = $\frac{molecular\ weight}{Empirical\ formula\ weight}$ = $\frac{2 \times vapor\ density}{Empirical\ formula\ weight}$

but Vapor density = Empirical formula weight

Therefore n = 2

Therefore Molecular formula = XY2 $\times$ 2 = X2Y2
Therefore Molecular formula of the compound = X2Y4
 

More topics in Molecular Formula
Bond Order Formula Condensed Structural Formula
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