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QUESTION

# What is the empirical formula of potassium chloride?

The empirical formula for potassium chloride is "KCl".

The empirical formula for a compound is the lowest whole number ratio of in one molecule or formula unit of the compound. The chemical formula for an ionic compound such as "KCl" is always the same as its empirical formula.

We can determine the empirical formula for potassium chloride by using the charges on the ions. Potassium ions have a 1+ charge, and the formula "K"^+", and chloride ions have a 1- charge, and the formula "Cl"^(-)". All empirical formulas have a of zero. So the ratios of the positive and negative ions must result in an overall charge of zero. In the case of potassium and chlorine, a 1:1 ratio results in a net charge of zero. So the formula for potassium chloride is "KCl".

"K"^++"Cl"^(-)rarr"KCl"