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Chemistry in the past

  1. Dec 3, 2012 #1
    Hello, how did chemists of the past know the weight of the elements to build up the periodic table without using new lab tecniques ?
    Have they transformed all the elements in to gases and used Avogadro's law to obtain a relative atomic mass ? And how did they it was an element and not a compost ?

    Thank you
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2012 #2

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    They used quality balances to measure weight, and a lot of guesswork.

    Some composite substances were considered elements till they were proved to be not.
     
  4. Dec 4, 2012 #3
    Yes but to compare atomic weight of two elements you must be sure you have the same number of particles in both elements, how did they solved this ?
     
  5. Dec 4, 2012 #4

    DrDu

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    What exactly do you mean with "whithout using new lab techniques"?
     
  6. Dec 4, 2012 #5
    withou the possibility to calculate the number of particles in a mole
     
  7. Dec 4, 2012 #6

    Borek

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    You don't need that, equivalent masses are relative.
     
  8. Dec 4, 2012 #7
    What do you mean?
    If I take 1 g of Fe and 1g of S I can't calculate relative atomic weight because they don't contains the same quantity of atoms...
     
  9. Dec 4, 2012 #8

    Borek

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  10. Dec 4, 2012 #9
    Dalton was the first to propose and publish a system of atomic weights.

    Google "Dalton atomic weights" finds lots.

    However he was right about some and wrong about other weights, as were those who followed immediately.

    The story of how the correct values gradually unfolded is quite fascinating and well presented in the book

    "Chasing the Molecule" by Julian Buckingham
     
  11. Dec 5, 2012 #10

    DrDu

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    You don't need to have vapours. You can also infer the ammount of moles e.g. from freezing point depression of solutions of salts, boiling point increase etc.
    As others pointed out before, a lot can be learned from studying the mass proportions in different compounds.
     
  12. Dec 5, 2012 #11
    What are that ?
     
  13. Dec 5, 2012 #12

    Borek

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    Have you tried to google them or do you expect to be spoon feed all the time?
     
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