How can empirical and molecular formulas be the same?

1 Answer
Feb 17, 2017

Answer:

An empirical formula gives the ratio of the elements involved, reduced to the smallest numbers.

Explanation:

Example :
Let's say that the empirical formula is #CH_2O#. This means that carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are present in the ratio #1div2div1#.

So any compound with this ratio will do:
#C_6H_12O_6# (glucose) is one of them, among many, many others.

But there is also a compound #CH_2O#, formaldehyde (methanal), that is just that: #CH_2O#. So, in this case empirical=molecular.