September 22nd, 2010
Page 63 in Lab Manuel
Purpose: To determine the Empirical Formula of a compound (magnesium oxide).
Background: An Empirical Formula is the simplest whole number ratio of the elements in the compound. This ratio of whole numbers tells you the stoichiometric ratio and molar ratio of the different atoms. The empirical formula can be found through an experiment if the sample compound can by synthesized. This three step process includes determining the mass of each element, calculating the number of moles of each element, and expressing the molar ratio of each element as the smallest whole number. This process yields the compound's empirical formula.