Difference between an Empirical and Molecular Formula.


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Empirical formulas and molecular formulas are types of chemical formulas.
Chemical formulas represent the composition of a substance with atomic symbols.

Empirical formulas show the simplest whole number ratio of these atoms.
Molecular formulas show the actual ratio of atoms in the compound.

Here is an example:

Glucose is the a simple sugar whose molecular formula is C6H12O6

Its empirical formula would be CH2O which would be its molecular formula divided by the smallest whole number


 Chemical Name Empirical Formula  Molecular Formula 
 Hydrogen peroxide  HO H2O2
 Benzene CH C6H6
 Dinitrogen tetroxide  NO2 N2O4

It is important to remember that several compounds can have the same empirical formula.

Chemical Name  Empirical Formula Molecular Formula
 Benzene CH C6H6
 Acetylene CH C2H2