# formula weight

Also found in: Dictionary, Medical, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

## formula weight,

in chemistry, a quantity computed by multiplying the atomic weightatomic weight,
mean (weighted average) of the masses of all the naturally occurring isotopes of a chemical element, as contrasted with atomic mass, which is the mass of any individual isotope. Although the first atomic weights were calculated at the beginning of the 19th cent.
(in atomic mass units) of each elementelement,
in chemistry, a substance that cannot be decomposed into simpler substances by chemical means. A substance such as a compound can be decomposed into its constituent elements by means of a chemical reaction, but no further simplification can be achieved.
in a formulaformula,
in chemistry, an expression showing the chemical composition of a compound. Formulas of compounds are used in writing the equations (see chemical equations) that represent chemical reactions. Compounds are combinations in fixed proportions of the chemical elements.
by the number of atoms of that element present in the formula, and then adding all of these products together. For example, the formula weight of water (H2O) is two times the atomic weight of hydrogen plus one times the atomic weight of oxygen. Numerically, this is (2×1.00797)+(1×15.9994)=2.01594+15.9994=18.01534. If the formula used in computing the formula weight is the molecular formula, the formula weight computed is the molecular weightmolecular weight,
weight of a molecule of a substance expressed in atomic mass units (amu). The molecular weight may be calculated from the molecular formula of the substance; it is the sum of the atomic weights of the atoms making up the molecule.
. The percentage by weight of any atom or group of atoms in a compound can be computed by dividing the total weight of the atom (or group of atoms) in the formula by the formula weight and multiplying by 100. For example, the weight percentage of hydrogen in water is determined by taking two times the atomic weight of hydrogen, dividing it by the formula weight of water, and multiplying by 100. Numerically, this is 100×(2×1.00797)/18.01534=11.19% hydrogen in water by weight. Formula weights are especially useful in determining the relative weights of reagents and products in a chemical reaction. For example, it is known that two molecules of hydrogen gas, H2, react with one molecule of oxygen gas, O2, to form two molecules of water, H2O. This reaction may be represented by the chemical equationchemical equation,
group of symbols representing a chemical reaction. Basic Notation Used in Equations

The chemical equation 2H2+O2→2H2O represents the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen to form water.