You are on page 1of 5

12.

1 AN OVERVIEW OF PHYSICAL AND


PHASE CHANGE
Each physical state is caleed a phase, a physically distinct, homogeneus part of
a system. The water in a closed container constitutes one phase; the water vapor
above the liquid is a second phase; add some ice, and there are three.
In this section, you’ll see that interactions between the potential energy and the
kinetic energy

12. 2 CHEMICAL ARTS AND THE ORIGIN OF


MODERN CHEMISTRY
This brief overview of early breakthroughs, and a few false directions, describes
how
the modern science of chemistry arose and progressed.
Prechemical Traditions
Chemistry had its origin in a prescientifi c past that incorporated three
overlapping
traditions—alchemy, medicine, and technology:
1. The alchemical tradition. Alchemy was an occult study of nature that began
in the 1st century ad and dominated thinking for over 1500 years. Originally infl
uenced
by the Greek idea that matter strives for “perfection,” alchemists later became
obsessed with converting “baser” metals, such as lead, into “purer” ones, such
as gold.
The alchemists’ names for substances and their belief that matter could be
altered
magically were very diffi cult to correct over the centuries. Their legacy to
chemistry
was in technical methods. They invented distillation, percolation, and extraction
and
devised apparatus still used routinely today (Figure 1.4). But perhaps even more
important was that alchemists encouraged observation and experimentation,
which
replaced the Greek approach of explaining nature solely through reason.
2. The medical tradition. Alchemists also infl uenced medical practice in
medieval
Europe. And ever since the 13th century, distillates and extracts of roots, herbs,
and
other plant matter have been used as sources of medicines. The alchemist and
physician
Paracelsus (1493–1541) considered the body to be a chemical system and
illness
an imbalance that could be restored by treatment with drugs. Although many
early
prescriptions were useless, later ones had increasing success. Thus began the
alliance
between medicine and chemistry that thrives today.
3. The technological tradition. For thousands of years, pottery making, dyeing,
and especially metallurgy contributed greatly to people’s experience with
materials.
During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, books were published that
described
how to purify, assay, and coin silver and gold, how to use balances, furnaces,
and
crucibles, and how to make glass and gunpowder. Some introduced quantitative
measurement,
which was lacking in alchemical writings. Many creations from those times
are still marveled at throughout the world. Nevertheless, the skilled artisans
showed
little interest in why a substance changes or how to predict its behavior.
The Phlogiston Fiasco and the Impact of Lavoisier
Chemical investigation in the modern sense—inquiry into the causes of changes
in
matter—began in the late 17th century. At that time, most scientists explained
combustion,
the process of burning, with the phlogiston theory. It proposed that combustible
materials contain phlogiston, an undetectable substance released when the
material
burns. Highly combustible materials like charcoal were thought to contain a lot
of
phlogiston, and slightly combustible materials like metals only a little. But
inconsistencies
continuously arose.
Phlogiston critics: Why is air needed for combustion, and why does charcoal
stop burning in a closed vessel?
Phlogiston supporters: Air “attracts” phlogiston out of the charcoal, and burning
stops when the air in the vessel is “sat urated” with phlogiston.
Critics also noted that when a metal burns, it forms its calx, which weighs more
than
the metal, leading them to ask,
Critics: How can the loss of phlogiston cause a gain in mass?
Supporters: Phlogiston has negative mass.
As ridiculous as these responses seem now, it’s important to remember that,
even today,
scientists may dismiss conflicting evidence rather than abandon an accepted
idea.
The conflict over phlogiston was resolved when the young French chemist
Antoine Lavoisier (1743–1794) performed several experiments:
1. Heating mercury calx decomposed it into two products—mercury and a
gas—
whose total mass equaled the starting mass of the calx.
2. Heating mercury with the gas reformed the calx, and, again, the total mass
remained
constant.
3. Heating mercury in a measured volume of air yielded mercury calx and left
fourfifths
of the air remaining.
4. A burning candle placed in the remaining air was extinguished.
Lavoisier named the gas oxygen and gave metal calxes the name metal oxides.
His
explanation of his results made the phlogiston theory irrelevant:
• Oxygen, a normal component of air, combines with a substance when it burns.
• In a closed container, a combustible substance stops burning when it has
combined
with all the available oxygen.
• A metal calx (metal oxide) weighs more than the metal because its mass
includes
the mass of the oxygen.
This new theory triumphed because it relied on quantitative, reproducible
measurements,
not on strange properties of undetectable substances. Because this approach is at
the heart of science, many propose that the science of chemistry began with
Lavoisier.
Summary
a. Alchemy, medicine, and technology placed little emphasis on objective
experimentation, focusing instead on mystical explanations or practical
experience,
but these traditions contributed some apparatus and methods that are still
important.
b. Lavoisier overthrew the phlogiston theory by showing quantitatively that
oxygen,
a component of air, is required for combustion and combines with a burning
substance.
g