Explain how to count the atoms Ina molecule. How many atoms does one molecule of water have in it?

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Nov 3, 2016


To count atoms in a molecule, add the subscripts of the molecule. Remember that if you do not see a subscript after a symbol, its subscript is 1. One molecule of water contains 3 atoms.


The molecular formula for water is #H_2O#, meaning there are 2 hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. I found this by adding the subscripts. 2 is the subscript on hydrogen, and 1 is the subscript on oxygen, so 2 + 1 = 3 atoms total.

For example, to count the number of atoms in one molecule of glucose, #C_6H_12O_6#, add the subscripts, so 6+12+6 is 24 atoms. Note that #C_6H_12O_6# is the molecular formula of glucose, not the empirical formula.

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