# Stuck on an Empirical Formula Problem

• Themaster711
In summary, the conversation focused on determining the empirical formula of pyridine using the information provided, including the mass of carbon dioxide and water produced from the burning of a sample of pyridine. The conversation also mentioned the lack of information about the mass of nitrogen and the formula for pyridine. Through the discussion, it was determined that the mass of carbon in CO2 and hydrogen in H2O could be used to calculate the mass of nitrogen and ultimately determine the empirical formula of pyridine.
Themaster711
Pyridine is recovered from coke-oven gases and is used extensively in the chemical industry, in particular, in the synthesis of vitamins and drugs. Pyridine contains carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen. A 0.546 g sample was burned to produce 1.518 g of carbon dioxide and 0.311 g of water. Determine the empirical formula of pyridine.

Please show me step by step. I can't seem to figure this out.

Show what you have tried. How many moles of carbon in the sample? Of hydrogen? Of nitrogen?

By using the masses given, I was able to find that for every H2O that is created, there will be 2 CO2 created. I do not know anything about the nitrogen because nothing is said about it in the question. Also, the mass given for the pyridine does me no good because I do not know the formula for it. So far my pyridine is C?H?N?.

Themaster711 said:
I do not know anything about the nitrogen because nothing is said about it in the question. Also, the mass given for the pyridine does me no good because I do not know the formula for it.

What is mass of carbon in CO2? Hydrogen in H2O? Can you use this information to calculate mass of nitrogen?

Thank you so much. That was all I needed. Problem solved.

You are welcome.

## What is an empirical formula?

An empirical formula is the simplest whole number ratio of atoms present in a compound. It represents the relative number of each type of atom in a molecule.

## How do I determine the empirical formula of a compound?

To determine the empirical formula, you need to know the mass or percentage composition of each element in the compound. You can then convert these values into moles and find the smallest whole number ratio between the elements.

## What is the difference between empirical formula and molecular formula?

The empirical formula represents the simplest ratio of atoms in a compound, while the molecular formula represents the actual number of each type of atom in a molecule. The molecular formula is always a whole number multiple of the empirical formula.

## What if the given data for a compound is not in whole numbers?

In some cases, the data for a compound may not be in whole numbers, which can make it difficult to determine the empirical formula. In these cases, you may need to round the numbers to the nearest whole number or use a conversion factor to find the correct ratio.

## Are there any limitations to using empirical formula?

Yes, there are limitations to using empirical formula. It does not provide information about the actual arrangement of atoms in a molecule, and it cannot be used for compounds with complex structures. Additionally, it only gives the relative number of each type of atom and does not provide information about the actual mass of each element in a compound.

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