A Chemical Formulas !: What Is A Chemical Formula?

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!!!What Is A Chemical Formula?

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
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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.

!!Molecular Formula

The __molecular formula__, sometimes known as __true formula__ tells us the ‘’actual’’ number of the different elements in one molecule of a compound. In a molecular formula, each element is written as their symbols in the periodic table, and the number of atoms for each element is shown by the subscript (small number to the lower right of the element). The following are examples of molecular formulas:

For instance, if we look at butane, it has 4 carbon (C) atoms and 10 hydrogen (H) atoms.


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