# How would you calculate the empirical formula of acetic acid (CH3COOH)?

Oct 23, 2015

The empirical formula for acetic acid is $\text{CH"_2"O}$.

#### Explanation:

$\text{CH"_3"COOH}$ can be written as $\text{C"_2"H"_4"O"_2}$.

An empirical formula represents the lowest whole number ratio of elements in a compound.

The subscripts in the formula $\text{C"_2"H"_4"O"_2}$ can be reduced to the simplest whole number ratio by dividing the subscripts in the molecular formula by $2$.

The empirical formula of acetic acid is $\text{CH"_2"O}$.