Dedicated June 8, 1999, at the Académie des sciences de l’Institut de France in Paris, France.

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Commemorative Booklet (PDF)

En español:La revolución química de Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier

Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier forever changed the practice and also concepts of chemistry by forging a new series of activities analyses that would bring order come the chaotic century of Greek philosophy and also medieval alchemy. Lavoisier’s job-related in frame the values of modern-day chemistry led future generations to regard him as a founder the the science.



“The chemical Revolution” commemorative booklet developed by the National historic Chemical Landmarks routine of the American Chemical culture in 1999 (PDF).

Beliefs in Chemistry in ~ Lavoisier’s Time

When the 17-year-old Lavoisier left Mazarin university in Paris in 1761, chemistry hardly could be called a true science. Unlike physics, which had actually come of age through the job-related of Isaac Newton a century earlier, chemistry to be still mired in the tradition of the Greek philosophers. The four elements of Aristotle — earth, air, fire, and water — had been slowly modified by the middle ages alchemists, who included their own arcane language and also symbolism.

Thrown into this mix was the concept of phlogiston. Emerged by the German scientist Georg serious Stahl at an early stage in the 18th century, phlogiston to be a dominant chemical principle of the time since it seemed to describe so much in a straightforward fashion. Stahl thought that every flammability substance had a universal component that fire, which he called phlogiston, native the Greek word for inflammable. Because a combustible substance such as charcoal lost weight when it burned, Stahl reasoned that this adjust was as result of the loss of that is phlogiston ingredient to the air.

It followed that the much less residue a problem left ~ burning, the higher its phlogiston content. Transforming from organic substances come metals, Stahl knew that a steel calx (known this day as one oxide) heated with charcoal created the original metal. He proposed the the phlogiston of the charcoal had actually united with the calx. Therefore, metals, which were assumed to contain phlogiston, were additionally classified as combustibles.

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The difficulty with this scheme was the turning back reaction. When metals were strongly heated in air, the resulting calx weighed an ext than the initial metal, not less, as would certainly be intended if the lead had lost the phlogiston component. This inconsistency brought about some phlogistonists to imply that phlogiston could even have a an adverse weight. Lavoisier was presented to phlogiston through Guillaume Franåois Rouelle, whose lectures that attended while pursuing a law degree. By 1772, having abandoned legislation to go after a career in science, Lavoisier turn his curiosity to the examine of combustion.