How Many Carbon Atom Moles in One Mole of Sucrose?

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

One of the first questions you'll encounter when working with moles will ask you to determine the relationship between number of atoms in a compound and the number of moles (mol). (To refresh your memory, the mole is the SI unit identifying the number of particles in a given amount of matter.)

For example, how many moles of carbon (C) atoms are in 1 mole of table sugar (sucrose)?

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 of sucrose contains 12 moles of carbon atoms, 22 moles of hydrogen atoms, and 11 moles of oxygen atoms. When you are talking about 1 mole of 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 mole of sucrose.