Question #82125

1 Answer
Mar 25, 2017

Answer:

A unit cell can contain more than one formula unit of a compound.

Explanation:

A formula unit in chemistry is the smallest whole-number ratio of atoms in a compound.

For example, a formula unit of boron arsenide is #"BAs"#.

A unit cell may contain more than one formula unit of a compound.

The unit cell of #"BAs"# is

BAs
(From Wikimedia Commons)

There are 4 #"As"# atoms (purple) inside the unit cell.

We count the #"B"# atoms (pink) as follows:

#8 color(red)(cancel(color(black)("corners"))) × "⅛ B atom"/(1 color(red)(cancel(color(black)("corner")))) + 6 color(red)(cancel(color(black)("faces"))) × "½ B atom"/(1 color(red)(cancel(color(black)("face")))) = "4 B atoms"#

Hence, a unit cell contains 4 #"B"# atoms and 4 #"As"# atoms or 4 formula units of #"BAs"#.