Chemical analysis shows that citric acid contains 37.51% C, 4.20% H, and 58.29% O. What is the empirical formula for citric acid?
As with all empirical formula problems of this kind, it is useful to assume that there
We divide thru by the SMALLEST molar quantity, and then normalize the result (i.e. convert it to whole numbers!):
To normalize, we mulitply this formula by a factor of
We could find out from mass spectroscopy that citric acid gives a molecular ion at