A student researcher analyzing the identity of the by-product of a reaction found that the compound contained 63.6% nitrogen and 36.4% oxygen. What is the most likely formula of this compound?
# of moles of nitrogen = 63.6/14 ≈ 4.5 moles of nitrogen
# of moles of oxygen = 36.4/16 ≈ 2.275 moles of oxygen
Divide every number of moles with the smallest number of moles calculated in Step 1. Here the smaller one is 2.275. Divide both mole numbers by 2.275. This will give you the simplest ratio between them.
Nitrogen 4.5/2.275 ≈ 2 Oxygen 2.275/2.275 ≈ 1
Since the ratio of nitrogen to oxygen is 2:1, the compound is N2O.