# How do you find the molecular formula of 38.8% chlorine and 61.2% oxygen? The molecular weight is 182.9 grams.

Michael Corsi, Ph.D. | Certified Educator

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This is a question that requires you to first figure out the empirical formula of the compound. You can think of the empirical formula of a compound as the formula that shows the ratio of atoms in a molecule to one another but not the actual numbers. The molecular formula shows the actual number of elements in a molecule.

If we have 38.8% Cl and 61.2% O, it is easiest to act as if we have a 100g sample. This is because 38.8% and 61.2% will directly correspond to the number of grams of each element in the sample:

38.8g Cl

61.2g O.

Use the molar mass of both of these elements from the periodic table in order to determine their numerical ratio to...

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