Question
Thu May 24, 2012 By:

analysis of vitamin C shows that it contains 40.92% carbon by mass,4.48% hydrogen and 54.50% oxygen.determine the empirical formula of vitamin C.

Expert Reply
Thu May 24, 2012

First, find the number of moles of each element in the sample:

40.92 x 1 mole C/ 12g C = 3.14 mole C

4.48 x 1mole H/ 1.008 g H = 4.43 mole H

54.50 x 1 mole O/ 16g O = 3.41 mole O

Dividing each of the three numbers by the smallest one (3.41 mol) gives a C:H:O moleratio of 1 :1.33 :1 and a temporary formula of Multiplying the subscripts bysmall integers in a trial-and-error procedure until whole numbers are found then givesthe empirical formula: C3 x 1 H3 x 1.33  O3 x 1  or C3H4O3

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