Five main points of Dalton's atomic theory
1. Elements are made of extremely small particles called atoms. 2. Atoms of a given element are identical in size, mass, and other properties; atoms of different elements differ in size, mass, and other properties. 3. Atoms cannot be subdivided, created, or destroyed.
4. Atoms of different elements combine in simple whole-number ratios to form chemical compounds. 5. In chemical reactions, atoms are combined, separated, or rearranged. Dalton proposed an additional "rule of greatest simplicity" that created controversy, since it could not be independently confirmed. When atoms combine in only one ratio, ".it must be presumed to be a binary one, unless some cause appear to the contrary".. Dalton proceeded to print his first published table of relative atomic weights. Six elements appear in this table, namely hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, sulfur, and phosphorus, with the atom of hydrogen conventionally assumed to weigh 1. He hypothesized the structure of compounds can be represented in whole number ratios. So, one atom of element X combining with one atom of element Y is a binary compound. Furthermore, one atom of element X combining with two elements of Y or vice versa, is a ternary compound. Many of the first compounds listed in the New System of Chemical Philosophy correspond to modern views, although many others do not. Despite the uncertainty at the heart of Dalton's atomic theory, the principles of the theory survived. To be sure, the conviction that atoms cannot be subdivided, created, or destroyed into smaller particles when they are combined, separated, or rearranged in chemical reactions is inconsistent with the existence of nuclear fusion and nuclear fission, but such processes are nuclear reactions and not chemical reactions. In addition, the idea that all atoms of a given element are identical in their physical and chemical properties is not precisely true, as we now know that...
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