What is the empirical formula of a compound that has a carbon-to-hydrogen ratio of 2 to 6?

1 Answer
Mar 22, 2016

It's asking you what empirical formula means.

An empirical formula is a chemical formula containing the lowest-reduced subscripts. You can think of it as a fraction:

#"6 H"/"2 C"xx"1/2"/"1/2" -> "3 H"/"1 C"#

Therefore, #"C"_2"H"_6# reduces to #\mathbf("CH"_3)#. This is not actually a very stable compound, but it's real.

A methyl radical has the structural formula #cdot"CH"_3# (so its carbon has one nonbonding valence electron). It is neutral.