What are the empirical and molecular formulas of maleic acid?

Aug 2, 2017

Molecular formula: ${\text{C"_4"H"_4"O}}_{4}$

Empirical formula: $\text{CHO}$

Explanation:

Maleic acid has the sfcolor(red)("molecular formula"

color(red)(ulbar(|stackrel(" ")(" " "C"_4"H"_4"O"_4" ")|)

The sfcolor(blue)("empirical formula" is derived by finding the greatest common factor of the subscripts in the molecular formula.

The subscripts are

• $4$ (carbon)

• $4$ (hydrogen)

• $4$ (oxygen)

So the greatest common divisor is $4$, and we divide each subscript by $4$ to find the sfcolor(blue)("empirical formula":

"C"_(4"/"4)"H"_(4"/"4)"O"_(4"/"4)

which simplifies to

color(blue)(ulbar(|stackrel(" ")(" ""CHO"" ")|)