Definition of Simplest Formula

What Is the Simplest Formula in Chemistry?

The simplest formula or empirical formula for glucose indicates each molecule has hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen in a ratio of 2:1:1.
The simplest formula or empirical formula for glucose indicates each molecule has hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen in a ratio of 2:1:1. PASIEKA / Getty Images

Simplest Formula Definition

The simplest formula of a compound is a formula that shows the ratio of elements present in the compound. The ratios are denoted by subscripts next to the element symbols.

Also Known As: empirical formula

Simplest Formula Examples

Glucose has a molecular formula of C6H12O6. It contains 2 moles of hydrogen for every mole of carbon and oxygen.

The simplest or empirical formula for glucose is CH2O.

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Definition of Simplest Formula." ThoughtCo, Mar. 18, 2016, thoughtco.com/definition-of-simplest-formula-in-chemistry-605918. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2016, March 18). Definition of Simplest Formula. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-simplest-formula-in-chemistry-605918 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Definition of Simplest Formula." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-simplest-formula-in-chemistry-605918 (accessed January 24, 2018).