How Many Moles of C Atoms Are in 1 mol of Sucrose?

Sugar cubes are made of sucrose.
Sugar cubes are made of sucrose. Larry Washburn / Getty Images

One of the first types of questions you'll encounter working with moles is determining the relationship between number of atoms in a compound and the number of moles. Here's a typical chemistry homework problem:

Question: How many moles of carbon (C) atoms are in 1 mol of table sugar (sucrose)?

Answer: The chemical formula of sucrose is C12H22O11. When you are given a chemical formula, each one- or two-letter symbol stands for an element. C is carbon, H is hydrogen, and O is oxygen. The subscripts following each element symbol indicate the number of atoms of each element in the molecule.

So, 1 mole (mol) of sucrose contains 12 moles of carbon atoms, 22 moles of hydrogen atoms, and 11 moles of oxygen atoms. When you say "1 mol sucrose", it's the same as saying 1 mole of sucrose atoms, so there are Avogadro's number of atoms in one mole of sucrose (or carbon or anything measured in moles).

There are 12 moles of C atoms in 1 mol of sucrose.