Question Video: Identifying the Type of Formula Used to Represent a Hydrocarbon Chemistry

Which type of formula is used to represent the molecule in this diagram?


Video Transcript

Which type of formula is used to represent the molecule in this diagram?

In this question, we are being asked to identify the type of formula being represented. When taking a look at the diagram provided, we should first know that the diagram can be represented as two bonded CH3 groups. If we write this as CH3CH3, then this is what we call the structural formula. Since we have two CH3 groups, we can also describe the composition of the molecule as (CH3)2, in which the CH3 group is written inside of parentheses and a two is written outside of parentheses to indicate the number of CH3 groups. This type of formula is called a condensed formula.

When looking at the atoms present within the diagram, we can see that there are two carbon atoms and six hydrogen atoms present in the molecule. We can use this information to represent the molecule with a molecular formula of C2H6. We could reduce this molecular formula because the subscripts two and six have a greatest common factor of two. After dividing each subscript by two, we get the reduced formula CH3, which is known as the empirical formula.

Of all of the types of formulas we’ve discussed, only the provided diagram is a representation of the molecule that shows all of the atoms and bonds. And we can see that each individual chemical bond is represented by a line. This type of formula is known as the displayed formula. In conclusion, the type of formula used to represent the molecule in the diagram provided is the displayed formula.

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