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Describe the differences between empirical and molecular formulas.

Empirical formulas show the simplest ratio of atoms in a compound, while molecular formulas show the actual number of atoms.

Empirical formulas are the simplest form of a chemical formula and show the ratio of atoms in a compound. They are obtained by dividing the subscripts of the molecular formula by their greatest common factor. For example, the empirical formula for glucose is CH2O, which represents the simplest ratio of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms in the compound.

Molecular formulas, on the other hand, show the actual number of atoms in a compound. They can be obtained by multiplying the empirical formula by a whole number that represents the number of units in the compound. For example, the molecular formula for glucose is C6H12O6, which shows that there are six carbon, twelve hydrogen, and six oxygen atoms in each molecule of glucose.

Empirical formulas are useful in determining the relative amounts of elements in a compound, while molecular formulas provide more detailed information about the composition of a compound. Molecular formulas are also useful in determining the molar mass of a compound, which is necessary for many chemical calculations.

In summary, empirical formulas show the simplest ratio of atoms in a compound, while molecular formulas show the actual number of atoms. Both types of formulas are important in chemistry and are used to describe the composition of compounds.

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