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Chemistry - Formulae for Common Chemical Compounds

Most of these formulae appear in molecular chemical form rather than structural form. For example, ethanol appears here as C2H6O rather than C2H5OH. Also, the entries for fructose and glucose are identical (C6H12O6) despite the two compounds having different structures. This means most of the formulae shown in this section merely represent the ratios of each element in a compound, making little or no attempt to convey the structure of the molecule.

It should be noted that this list is definitely not exhaustive, but merely attempts to show formulae for some common compounds.

  • Acetone: C3H6O
  • Acetylene: C2H2
  • Alcohol, methyl (methanol): CH4O
  • Alcohol, butyl (butanol): C4H10O
  • Alcohol, ethyl (ethanol): C2H6O
  • Alcohol, phenol: C6H6O
  • Aluminum oxide (alumina): Al2O3
  • Ammonia: NH3
  • Ammonium carbonate: (NH4)2CO3
  • Ammonium chloride (sal ammoniac): NH4Cl
  • Ammonium nitrate: N2H4O3
  • Aromatic hydrocarbons:

- Acetylene: C2H2

- Ethylene: C2H4

- Propylene: C3H6

- Butylene: C4H8

- Benzene: C6H6

- Toluene: C7H8

- Styrene: C8H8

- Napthalene: C10H8

  • Calcium carbonate (limestone, marble): CaCO3
  • Calcium chloride: CaCl2
  • Calcium hydroxide: Ca(OH)2
  • Calcium oxide (lime or quicklime): CaO
  • Calcium sulfate (gypsum): CaSO4
  • Carbon monoxide: CO
  • Carbon dioxide: CO2
  • Carbon tetrachloride: CCl4
  • Carbonic acid: H2CO3
  • Cellulose: (C6H10O5)n
  • Clay (or shale): H4Al2Si2O9
  • Copper oxide (cuprite): Cu2O
  • Copper oxide (tenorite): CuO
  • Cyanic acid: HOCN
  • Dextrose (synonym for biological glucose): C6H12O6
  • Ethyl mercaptan: C2H6S
  • Ethylene glycol: C2H6O2
  • Ethylene oxide: C2H4O
  • Formaldehyde: CH2O
  • Folic acid: C19H19N7O6
  • Formaldehyde: CH2O
  • Formic acid: CH2O2
  • Fructose (same molecular formula as glucose): C6H12O6
  • Glycerol: C3H8O3
  • Hydrazine: N2H4N
  • Hydrocyanic acid: HCN
  • Hydrofluoric acid: HF
  • Hydrochloric acid: HCl
  • Hydrogen peroxide: H2O2
  • Hydrogen sulfide: H2S
  • Iron oxide: Fe2O3
  • Magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia): Mg(OH)2
  • Nitric acid: HNO3
  • Nitric oxide: NO
  • Nitrogen dioxide: NO2
  • Nitrogen trioxide: NO2
  • Nitroglycerine: C3H5N3O9
  • Nitromethane: CH3NO2
  • Nitrous oxide: N2O
  • Dinitrogen trioxide: N2O3
  • Ozone: O3
  • Paraffinic hydrocarbons:

- Methane: CH4

- Ethane: C2H6

- Propane: C3H8

- Butane: C4H10

- Pentane: C5H12

- Hexane: C6H14

- Heptane: C7H16

- Octane: C8H18

- Nonane: C9H20

- Decane: C10H22
  • Phosgene: COCl2
  • Phosphoric acid: H3PO4
  • Potassium chloride: KCl
  • Potassium cyanide: KCN
  • Potassium hydroxide: KOH
  • Potassium sulfate: K2SO4
  • Silane: SiH4
  • Silica: SiO2
  • Silicon carbide: SiC
  • Sodium chloride (table salt): NaCl
  • Sodium hydroxide: NaOH
  • Sodium fluoride: NaF
  • Strychnine: C21H22N2O2
  • Sucrose: C12H22O11
  • Sulfuric acid: H2SO4
  • Sulfur dioxide: SO2
  • Sulfur hexafluoride: SF6
  • Testosterone: C19H28O2
  • Turpentine: C10H16 (approx.)
  • Zinc sulfate: ZnSO4

Go Back to Lessons in Instrumentation Table of Contents

Comments (1)Add Comment
a question about chemical formulae of food ingredient
written by Fi Global Frankfurt, November 19, 2017
Hello. Your passage above is quite clear but as there are so many chemicals you cannot just write down all of them in one page. So if I read a new chemical on the package of food I bought, how can I find out the formulae of it?

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