Why is the molecular formula of a compound more useful to a forensic scientist than an empirical formula?

1 Answer
Dec 6, 2015

Answer:

An empirical formula can represent more than one compound. A molecular formula represents one compound, and its structural isomers if applicable.

Explanation:

Examples:
Molecular compounds with empirical formula #"CH"#:
acetylene: #"C"_2"H"_2"#
benzene: #"C"_6"H"_6"#

Molecular compounds with empirical formula #"CH"_2"#:
ethylene: #"C"_2"H"_4"#
butene: #"C"_4"H"_8"#
cyclohexane: #"C"_6"H"_12"#

Molecular compounds with empirical formula #"CH"_2"O"#:
formaldehyde: #"CH"_2"O"#
acetic acid: #"C"_2"H"_4"O"_2"#
glyceraldehyde: #"C"_3"H"_6"O"_3"#
glucose, fructose, galactose (structural isomers): #"C"_6"H"_12"O"_6"#

http://www.sparknotes.com/health/carbohydrates/section1.html

http://www.chem.wisc.edu/deptfiles/genchem/sstutorial/Text6/Tx65/tx65.html