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Homework Help: Chemical formula of diesel

  1. Aug 23, 2011 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    For a assessment task at school, I have to compare various types of fuel, one of which is diesel. One aspect of the task is to name the chemical formula for each fuel.

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I keep finding that the formula for diesel is C12H23. I know that diesel is made up of various hydrocarbons, but C12H23 is niether a alkane, alkyne or alkene. Is C12H23 the correct formula, and if so, what is the structural formula
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2011 #2


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    It's a mixture of things as you noted. The (weighted) average empirical formula contains absolutely no structural information. It only gives you ratios between carbon/hydrogen which is only helpful to determine the stoichiometry of combustion. You can't tell from looking at the empirical formula the difference between a compound that is an alkene or if it contains a cyclic structure either. Or one that is an alkyne from a diene from a bicyclic.

    Empirical formula is not the same as structural formula.
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