tmx3 Posted March 13, 2020 Share Posted March 13, 2020 This is a topic that I've been thinking about, but before I ask my question, I just want to give some background info.: In 1804, John Dalton published his law of multiple proportions, which states: When two elements (call them A and B) form two different compounds the masses of element B that combine with 1 gram of element A can be expressed as a ratio of small whole numbers. So, carbon monoxide, CO, has a ratio of 1.33 when we divide the mass of Oxygen with 1 gram of Carbon (Carbon equalling 12.01 g or 12.01 amu in 1g of Carbon). And, carbon dioxide, CO2 has a ratio of 2.66 when we divide the mass of Oxygen with 1 gram of Carbon (again, Carbon equalling 12.01 g or 12.01 amu in 1g of Carbon). The ratio of these two...ratios?...will give a small, whole number: 2.66 / 1.33 = 2 Dalton was able to overcome a 2000-year-old perspective (elementalism) and push his view that matter is particulate instead of elemental by using the weights of samples of matter, and by demonstrating that matter pairs up in ratios. Elementalism implies that, basically, matter of one nature or type is different than that of another...so, think: air, fire, water, earth... That sort of thing (not really sure how to explain it). My thinking is this... carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are two different gases. From an elemental perspective, they are different in nature (one is more poisonous than the other), though they are both gases. And, even though they are different than each other, they are still gases...and they are still of an "air" element or type. So, here is the question... Why is it that comparing 1g of an element to another unknown amount, is a determinant for whether or not matter is particulate in nature instead of elemental? I mean, if you take 1g of whatever, and then keep adding more and more of another type of whatever, won't it be just a whole lot of whatevers trying to bond with each other? What if you take 1g Carbon and then oversaturate it with Oxygen? Different types of gases will form, won't they? If different types of gases continue to form, how is that not indicative of the elemental view of matter? The way I see it...Dalton just published a paper about how elements combine in ratios, and that that is more than enough proof that matter is particulate instead of elemental. But, the way I see it, we're just observing different kinds of matter in the sense that, when we look at gases we're observing some different type of gas but of an air element, or when we look at minerals or salts or metals we're just looking at different earth-like elements... And I really don't understand the significance of ratios here. I mean, how does a ratio prove something like the nature of a substance, and furthermore, how does it prove that matter is not elemental? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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