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Law of multiple proportions

From Academic Kids

In chemistry, the law of multiple proportions is one of the basic laws of stoichiometry, alongside the law of definite proportions. It is sometimes called Dalton's Law after its discoverer, the English chemist John Dalton.

One statement of the law is:

If two elements form more than one compound between them, then the ratios of the weights of the second element which combine with a fixed mass of the first element will be ratios of small whole numbers.

For example, considering two of the carbon oxides: CO and CO2, 100 grams of carbon may react with 133 grams of oxygen to produce carbon monoxide, or with 267 grams of oxygen to produce carbon dioxide. The ratio of the masses of oxygen that can react with 100 grams of carbon is 266:133 ≈ 2:1, a ratio of small whole numbers.

John Dalton first expressed this observation in 1803. A few years previously, the French chemist Joseph Proust had proposed the law of definite proportions, which expressed that the elements combined to form compounds in certain well-defined proportions, rather than mixing in just any proportion. Careful study of the actual numerical values of these proportions led Dalton to propose his law of multiple proportions. This was an important step toward the atomic theory that he would propose later that year, and it laid the basis for chemical formulas for compounds.

The law of multiple proportions is best demonstrated using simple compounds. For example, if one tried to demonstrate it using the hydrocarbons decane (chemical formula C10H22) and undecane (C11H24), one would find that 100 grams of carbon could react with 18.46 grams of hydrogen to produce decane or with 18.31 grams of hydrogen to produce undecane, for a ratio of hydrogen masses of 121:120, which is hardly a ratio of "small" whole numbers.

es:Proporciones mltiples ja:倍数比例の法則 pl:Prawo stosunków wielokrotnych

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