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General Chemistry

Chapter 3, lecture 1 of 3

Formulas, Equations, and Moles

$ Atomic weights, molar masses, and related concepts
$ The Mole
$ Mass percent
$ Empirical Formulas from analyses

Some terms to know:

Atomic Mass Unit (amu): A mass unit equal to exactly one-twelfth (1/12) the mass of a carbon atom
(1.6605402x10 kg). One carbon atom weighs 12 amu.

Molecular mass: The sum of the atomic masses of all atoms in a molecule of substance.

Formula mass: The sum of the atomic masses of all atoms in a formula unit of the compound.

Example: Calculate the formula weight of calcium hydroxide.


Question: When do we use formula mass versus molecular mass?

The Mole!

Mole: The quantity of the substance having the same number of elementary entities as there are in
12 g (exactly) of Carbon-12, namely 6.022 x 1023 (Avogadro's Number, NA). Elementary entities may
be atoms, molecules, ions, or specified groups.

Molar Mass: (M, units g mol-1) The mass of Avogadro's number, NA, of elementary entities X,
symbol MX, e.g. MO = 15.999 g mol-1,

For all substances, the molar mass in grams per mole is numerically equal to the formula
weight in atomic mass units.

Question: A) How many moles are in a 20.4 g sample of sodium nitrate? How many formula units?
How many oxygen atoms? B) What is the mass in grams of one formula unit of sodium nitrate?

Percent composition
Through use of the molecular mass of a compound and the atomic mass of each of its constituents
we can determine the mass percentage that each element contributes.

Example: Lead (II) Chromate is used in paint pigment. What is the percent by mass of each
element in Lead (II) Chromate?

Empirical Formulas from Analyses

The empirical formula is the simplest WHOLE number ratio between numbers of different elements
making up a compound,
e.g. Glucose, has molecular formula is C6H12O6 ,the empirical formula is_____________

Procedure for converting mass % to empirical formula:

1. From mass percent assume a 100 g sample to obtain mass of each element.
2. Use atomic weights to obtain moles of each element.
3. Calculate mole ratio by dividing by lowest number of moles.
4. If necessary, multiply to get the whole number mole ratio.

Example: Vitamin C has 40.92% C, 4.58% H and 54.50% O. What is the empirical formula?
Follow procedure outlined above.

Element mass (g) # moles (step 2) Mole ratio (step 3)

Since the mole ratio of H is not close to a whole number we need to multiply by ____in order to make
it whole.

The Empirical Formula is ______________________

Combustion Analysis

The process: A sample is burned in O2 which releases CO2 and H2O as products which are collected
in separate chambers. The masses of H2O and CO2 are then determined and then converted to %C
and %H in the original sample.

Let us learn through an example: We have a 0.2000g sample made up of only C,H, and O.
Combustion analysis yields .2000 g H2O and .4880g CO2. What is the mass of each element in the

1. Determine fraction of H in H2O

H in H2O =

2. Determine mass of H in .2000 g of H2O.

mH =

3. Determine fraction of C in CO2
C in CO2 =

4. Determine mass of C in .4880 g CO2

mC =

4. Determine mass of oxygen in sample by difference. Why?

mO = mass sample - mass H - mass C

From here we could go on and determine the empirical formula for our sample.