Background09

Background09 - Background Information John Dalton(1766-1844...

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Background Information John Dalton (1766-1844) was so taken with the notion of atomism that he never quite grasped the distinction between an atom and a molecule of an element. The most stable form of many elements, such as oxygen, hydrogen, and the halogens, is not a single atom but a diatomic molecule. Because Dalton believed that the smallest unit of an element must be an atom, he had a hard time accepting Gay-Lussac's data about the combining volumes of gases. The reconciliation between Dalton's theory and Gay-Lussac's data was brought about by Amedeo Carlo Avogadro (1776-1856). He accomplished this by making the distinction between an atom and a molecule of an element and by making the hypothesis that equal volumes of gases contain equal numbers of molecules. For example, if you believe that hydrogen and chlorine are monoatomic and that equal volumes of gases (at the same temperature and pressure) contain equal numbers of atoms, then one volume of hydrogen should react with one volume of chlorine to form one volume of HCl: H(g) + Cl(g) ---> HCl(g) But when you do the experiment you will find that two volumes of HCl are produced. Avogadro interpreted this result by assuming that the smallest unit of hydrogen and chlorine is a diatomic molecule, not an atom, and by writing the equation as follows: H
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Background09 - Background Information John Dalton(1766-1844...

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