Do ionic compounds have only empirical formulas?

Dec 26, 2016

Yes, ionic compounds have only empirical formulas.

Explanation:

Ionic compounds like $\text{NaCl}$ exist only as separate $\text{Na"^"+}$ and $\text{Cl"^"-}$ ions in a crystalline arrangement.

There are no molecules. only separate sodium and chloride ions.

Thus, we must use the ratio of $\text{Na"^"+}$ and $\text{Cl"^"-}$ ions — the empirical formula — to describe the compound.

Indeed, all ionic compounds have only an empirical formula.