, the empirical formula of a chemical is a simple expression of the relative number of each type of atom (element
) in it. An empirical formula makes no reference to isomerism
, structure, or absolute number of atoms. The term empirical refers to the process of elemental analysis, an analytical technique used to determine the relative percent composition of a pure chemical substance by element.
For example, hexane could have a chemical formula of CH3CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3, implying that it has a straight chain structure, 6 carbon atoms, and 14 hydrogen atoms. However the empirical formula for the same molecule would be C3H7.