Everyday, we encounter chemical substances. In our household alone, substances that we use to clean, and those that are staples in our medicine cabinet, as shown in the picture below, are made up of chemical substances. These chemicals that we use everyday are made up of atoms of a fixed proportion and these atoms are arranged in a certain way. How do we know what the atoms are, their proportion as well as their arrangement? This information can be gathered from the chemical formula of the substance.
Chemical Substances in Our Medicine Cabinet
A __compound__ is a substance made up of a definite proportion of ‘’two or more elements’’. A __chemical formula__ tells us about the number of atoms of each element in a compound. It contains the symbols of the atoms of the elements present in the compound, as well as how many there are for each element in the form of subscripts. Below are a few examples of a few compounds and what their chemical formulas are:
Each chemical substance has a specific chemical composition, so these chemical substances have their own chemical formula. Let us take a look at the chemical formula of glucose: the subscript is 12 for carbon, so there are 12 carbon (C) atoms, 22 hydrogen (H) atoms and 11 oxygen (O) atoms.
!!!Types of Chemical Formulas
There are different types of chemical formulas and each type gives us different information about a chemical substance. The different types of chemical formulas include: molecular, empirical, structural and condensed. In this section, we will discuss the different types and we will go over a few examples.
The __molecular formula__, sometimes known as __true formula__ tells us the ‘’actual’’ number of the...
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...ound in a chemical substance. The different types of chemical formulas all give what types of elements and the ratio of the elements present in a chemical compound. Each type of chemical formula provides different information about a chemical compound.
The empirical formula gives us the simplest ratio of atoms of the elements in a compound. The molecular formula tells us the actual number of atoms for each element that is present in a compound. The structural formula, in addition to giving the actual number of atoms of elements, also gives us the spatial arrangement of the atoms and which atoms are bonded to each other. The condensed structural formula like a ‘’shortcut’’ or a short hand way of writing the structural formula which still gives the spatial arrangement of the atoms of different elements without having to take up as much space as the structural formula.
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