HPS211H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Pneumatic Chemistry, Pneumatic Trough, Phlogiston TheoryPremium

4 pages65 viewsWinter 2016

History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
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HPS211 – 27/01/2016
p. 55-78
The Chemical Revolution
Chemistry Unreformed
- Alchemy found its roots in Greek alchemy (trying to understand processes of metalwork
& fundamental elements of matter
- Searching for the philosophers stone
- Medicinal properties of substances
-Parcelsus, properties of matter were the precursor to successful chemistry, remedies for
disease based on properties of natural substances (iatrochemistry), four elements (fire, air,
earth, water), tria prima (salt, sulphur, mercury)
-Van Helmont, denied existence of the four elements & tria prima, only element is water,
did the water and tree experiment where the tree gained weight but the earth it was
growing in didn’t, interested in physiological processes such as digestion
-Boyle, everything is matter in motion, wanted to embrace chemical and mechanical
chemistry part of natural philosophy
-Stahl, phlogiston as a way of explaining metallurgical processes, pure metals are a
combination of metal ores (calxes) and phlogiston
-Wright, pneumatic chemistry, his painting shows birds breathing different airs, middle
class mist watch the scientific experiment, transformed language of chemistry
-Hales, natural philosophy of plants, developed the pneumatic trough
-Black, by heating magnesium, he could make “fixed air” (carbon dioxide), tested air by
reacting with acids and alkalis
-Priestly, found nitrous oxide and dephlogisticated air (oxygen), new philosophy of nature,
burning released phlogiston and plants consume it, believed in divine benevolence
-Beddoes, advocate of Priestly’s views, believed health could be achieved by a proper
balance of stimulants and sedatives
-Davy, chemical and medicinal properties, abandoned phlogiston theory, first soda water,
eudiometer (mixed air, to be tested in a glass tube with nitrous air)
-Morveau, phlogiston may have negative weight
-Lavoisier, convinced air must have a role in combustion, introduced oxygen (acid
former), abandoned phlogiston theory, hydrogen (water former), whole new chemical
language, elements were substances that could not be decomposed any further, carefully
weighted ingredients,
Chemistry Reformed
-Davy, undermined the idea that acidity depends on oxygen, used electrochemical
processes to isolate chemicals
-Dalton, matter may be composed of indivisible particles, atomic theory, elements would
always bind together in the simplest ratios (assumption)
-Berzelius, classified elements in electropositive and electronegative, used the battery,
electrochemical atomic theory, introduced a new nomenclature (closest to the modern day
The Scientific Revolution
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