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Dalton's Atomic Theory
which was first put forward in 1808 by John Dalton, is regarded as the
foundation of modern chemistry. It gave insight into the composition of matter,
and explained many chemical phenomena that were not understood before then. In
summary, the theory consists of the following ideas:
matter is made up of small, indivisible, discrete particles called atoms.
2. That atoms
are indestructible, and cannot be created.
3. That atoms
of a particular element are all exactly the same in every respect, and are
different from those of all other elements. This explained why elements are pure
substances, with each element having the same properties that are different from
chemical combination occurs between small whole numbers of atoms of the reacting
substances. This explained chemical reactions and the properties of the new
atomic theory stood for about a century and became the basis for studying
chemical composition and reaction. However, as fresh knowledge became available
over the decades some incorrectness was noticed in the theory.
the statement that atoms are indestructible and cannot be created. That claim
has been found not to be completely true with the discovery of nuclear chemistry
where nuclear reactions could destroy and create different atoms.
is worthy to note that it is only through nuclear reactions that you can have
atoms being destroyed or created, it does not happen in chemical reactions. So
Dalton’s atomic theory as regards chemical reactions still hold true.
where Dalton’s theory has been faulted is in stating that atoms of the same
element are exactly alike in all respect. The discovery of isotopes in some
elements where there are atoms of different masses has made that statement not
to be totally correct.
In spite of the incorrectness in some aspects of Dalton’s atomic theory, the
explanation that chemical reaction involves the separation and combination of
atoms, and that these atoms possess characteristic properties has remained
relevant in today’s study of chemistry.
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