How do you calculate the empirical formula of a hydrocarbon?

1 Answer
Jul 13, 2017

Answer:

How else but by experiment......?

Explanation:

And #"empirical"# actually means #"experimental"#. And thus you take a known mass of hydrocarbon, combust it in a furnace, and the volumes of carbon dioxide and water that are evolved in the combustion may be accurately measured. See here. And from the #%C#, #%H#, #%N# figures we can get an #"empirical formula"#, and given a measurement of molecular weight, we can calculate a #"molecular formula."#

See here for another example. See here for the process of combustion.