Question

# The percentage composition of sodium phosphate, as determined by analysis is: 42.1% of sodium, 18.9% of phosphorus and 39% of oxygen. Find the empirical formula of the compound (work to two decimal places). [H = 1, N = 14, O = 16, Na = 23, P = 31, Cl = 35.5, Pt = 195]

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Solution

## Element Atomic mass Percentage Relative number of moles Simplest mole ratio Whole number ratio Na 23 42.1 $\frac{42.1}{23}=1.83$ $\frac{1.83}{0.61}=3$ 3 P 31 18.9 $\frac{18.9}{31}=0.61$ $\frac{0.61}{0.61}=1$ 1 O 16 39 $\frac{39}{16}=2.44$ $\frac{2.44}{0.61}=4$ 4 Empirical formula of the compound is Na3PO4.

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