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Chemistry LibreTexts

3.3: Composition of Chemical Compounds

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  • \[2\times(1.0079\;amu) + 1 \times (15.9994 \;amu) = 18.01528 \;amu\]

    If a substance exists as discrete molecules (as with atoms that are chemically bonded together) then the chemical formula is the molecular formula, and the formula weight is the molecular weight. For example, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen can chemically bond to form a molecule of the sugar glucose with the chemical and molecular formula of C6H12O6. The formula weight and the molecular weight of glucose is thus:
    \[6\times(12\; amu) + 12\times(1.00794\; amu) + 6\times(15.9994\; amu) = 180.0 \;amu\]

    Ionic substances are not chemically bonded and do not exist as discrete molecules. However, they do associate in discrete ratios of ions. Thus, we can describe their formula weights, but not their molecular weights. Table salt (NaCl), for example, has a formula weight of:

    \[23.0\; amu + 35.5 \;amu = 58.5 \;amu\]

    Contributors and Attributions

    • Anonymous

    Mike Blaber (Florida State University)