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# What Is the Empirical Formula of Magnesium Oxide?

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Lowest whole number ratio of moles of magnesium to moles of oxygen is determined. Usually requires both the moles of magnesium and the moles of oxygen to be divided by whichever is the lowest number. Empirical formula of magnesium oxide is written: Please do not block ads on this website. Magnesium metal reacts with oxygen from the atmosphere in a combustion reaction to produce grey-white solid magnesium oxide.

Since the product, magnesium oxide, contains only magnesium "atoms" and oxygen "atoms" 1 , we could write the formula Mg x O y in which:. We cannot see the atoms of each element in the compound because they are much too small, so we can't count them just be looking at 1 "molecule" of magnesium oxide. We need a different way to determine the values of x and y. There is a relationship between the mass of an element and the number of "atoms" of that element:.

The atomic weight of each element is listed in the Periodic Table of the Elements:. Therefore, if we know the mass of an element we can calculate how many atoms of that element are present:. So, if we know the mass of magnesium and the mass of oxygen making up our sample of magnesium oxide, Mg x O y , product, then:. In this experiment we will determine the empirical formula for magnesium oxide, that is, we will determine the lowest whole number ratio of x to y:.

Note that the quantity equal to an element's mass divided by its molar mass is measured in units of moles:. So, we only need to measure the mass of magnesium and the mass of oxygen present in the magnesium oxide sample in order to determine the ratio of moles of magnesium to moles of oxygen, from which we can determine the empirical formula of the magnesium oxide.

The Law of Mass Conservation tells us that during a chemical reaction mass can neither be created nor destroyed, so the total mass of the system before the chemical reaction must be equal to the total mass of the system after completion of the chemical reaction:. Magnesium metal and magnesium oxide are both solids at room temperature and pressure, so we can easily weigh these in order to determine their mass. We can not easily weigh the amount of oxygen gas used to combust the magnesium, but we don't have to because we can use the Law of Mass Conservation to calculate how much oxygen is present in the magnesium oxide we produce:.

The mass of magnesium used and the mass of oxygen atoms we calculate can then be used to determine the ratio of magnesium atoms to oxygen atoms in the compound using the relationship we derived above, that is:. However, the value of x and the value of y will probably be fractions or decimals rather than whole numbers:. In order to force this into a ratio of whole numbers we will divide both x and y by the lowest number 0. We then write the empirical formula for the magnesium oxide Mg x O y by replacing the x and y with the values we have calculated, for example:.

Play the game now! In this experiment we will be using a piece of apparatus known as a crucible. A crucible is ceramic vessel with a lid used to hold substances that are heated to high temperatures.

A crucible is preferable to using a glass test tube in this experiment because:. Place a pipe clay triangle in a ring stand. Slide a Bunsen Burner on a blue flame not a smokey yellow flame under the crucible so that the hottest part of the flame the top of the inner blue cone is directly heating the bottom of the crucible. Heat for 5 minutes to burn off any contaminants that may be present.

The bottom of the crucible should glow red-hot for about 20 seconds. This is known as heating to incandescence. Slide the Bunsen Burner, still on a blue flame, out from under the crucible before turning it off.

This should ensure that no soot attaches to the bottom of the crucible. Use tongs to re-position the lid so that it covers the open crucible. Cool the clean, empty crucible and lid to room temperature without removing it from the pipe clay triangle. Related questions How do empirical formulas and molecular formulas differ? How do you find molecular formula of a compound? What is the chemical formula of a diamond? What is the chemical formula of a carbohydrate? What is the empirical formula for valproic acid?

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Assume that you heated g of magnesium and obtained g of the oxide. What is the empirical formula of magnesium oxide? Solution. The empirical formula is the simplest whole-number ratio of atoms in a compound. The ratio of atoms is the same as the ratio of moles. So our job is to calculate the molar ratio of #"Mg"# to #"O"#.

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Magnesium is reacted with oxygen from the air in a crucible, and the masses before and after the oxidation are measured. The resulting masses are used to calculate the experimental empirical formula of magnesium oxide, which is then compared to the theoretical empirical formula.

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Empirical Formula of Magnesium Oxide by Experiment Chemistry Tutorial Key Concepts. Empirical formula of a compound gives the lowest whole number ratio of atoms of each element present in the compound. Empirical formula of magnesium oxide is determined by reacting magnesium metal with oxygen from the air to produce the magnesium oxide. magnesium nitride to magnesium oxide. Thus, the final product of the synthesis will be pure magnesium oxide. Using calculations similar to those presented in Example 2, you will determine the empirical formula of the magnesium oxide product.

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Theoretical empirical formula of magnesium oxide = MgO Trial 1 To obtain the empirical formula MgO, the mole ratio of magnesium to oxygen should be 1 to 1, hence the theoretical mole of oxygen should be equal as the mole of magnesium = mol. Determining the Empirical Formula of Magnesium. Oxide Intro The empirical formula of a substance is the simplest whole number ratio of the number of atoms of each element in the compound.3/5(2).