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Which formula is an empirical formula? (1) N2O4(2) NH3 (3) C3H6(4) P4O10

January 2018 NY Regents Chemistry Exam

6 Which formula is an empirical formula?

(1) N2O4 (2) NH3

(3) C3H6

(4) P4O10

Solution: Empirical formula is a formula with the smallest whole number ratio of atoms. We just need to see if we can divide subscripts further. If we can, this is not an empirical formula. For example, N2O4 can be divided by 2 to give N1O2. NH3 can not be divided any further and must be an empirical formula.

Answer: 2

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