Working out the formula of a compound

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lucubration
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How do you work out the formula of a compound? For example how do you work out the fact that the formula of barium sulfate is BaSO₄? I get how to do it for simple ionic compounds because you can balance the charges but how do you do it for something like this?
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charco
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(Original post by lucubration)
How do you work out the formula of a compound? For example how do you work out the fact that the formula of barium sulfate is BaSO₄? I get how to do it for simple ionic compounds because you can balance the charges but how do you do it for something like this?
You have to learn the formula including the ionic charge of the most common polyatomic ions.

In your barium sulfate example you have barium ions (simple ion from group 2) Ba2+ ...

... and the sulfate ion - a common polyatomic ion derived from sulfuric acid, SO42-

You construct the formula by balancing the ionic charges. In this case they are already balanced so you need one barium for each sulfate, BaSO4
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