The World of Atom (Part II)

ReferenceA Logical Approach to Theoretical Physics

Part I of this series introduced many new concepts including new models for light and atom. We now look into the effects of these concepts on existing ideas in physics.  



Chapter 10: The Birth of Atomic Theory (John Dalton 1766 – 1844)

Atoms of the same element are alike but atoms of different elements are different. Atoms of different elements combine in certain definite ratios.

Chapter 11: The Volume Combination of Gases (Gay-Lussac 1778 – 1850)

Point particles are surrounded by a volume of “heat”. Gases enter into chemical reactions in numerically simple volume ratios, same as the particles.

Chapter 12: Atoms and Molecules – Avogadro’s Law (Avogadro 1776 – 1856)

The volume around the point particle is the same regardless of the mass of the particle. Same number of particles have the same volume.

Same number of particles have the same pressure also, which implies that, on average, velocity of particles is inversely proportional to their mass..

Chapter 13: The Search for Primordial Material – Prout (1785 – 1850)

All elements are formed out of some primordial substance.  

POSTULATE: The primordial substance appears as thought at lowest frequencies, energy at medium frequencies, and mass at highest frequencies.


The theory of atoms was most successfully supported by the investigations in chemistry. Dalton (1766 – 1844) envisioned chemical combination to be an atom to atom union. This was most immediately useful in settling the question of combination in definite proportions. The formula of the compound could now be assumed. From that it was possible to infer the relative weights of the constituent atoms. It established that there is no creation or destruction of atoms, and the pressure of a volume of gas depends on the number of free atoms in that volume. These free atoms are all alike for a given gas. Among fluids particles of one kind can pass through particles of another kind easily. Such diffusion takes place because the particles are always disposed to move to that situation where the pressure is least.

Gay Lussac (1778 – 1850) showed that when gases enter into chemical reactions, they do so in numerically simple volume ratios, and the volume of the products, when gaseous, may be expressed by simple integral numerical ratios to the volume of the original reactants. This is true for gases, when the force of cohesion between free atoms is minimum, and where most of the volume is due to the “atmosphere of heat” surrounding the hard “atom”. The volume ratio is, most likely, also the ratio of free atoms that combine.

Avogadro (1776 – 1856) advanced the principle that equal volumes of different gases at the same temperature and pressure contain the same number of free particles. By this principle Avogadro correctly deduced the chemical formula for water, ammonia, nitrous oxide, nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide. However, for the principle to be valid it was necessary to introduce a new hypothesis, namely, that the free particles of many of the elementary gases such as hydrogen and nitrogen were molecules i.e., combinations of two, or sometimes more, atoms.

This principle means that the same volume is contributed by the individual particles of all gases. In other words, the mass bearing portion of the particle is infinitesimal in volume compared to the total volume of the particle. Therefore, in the whirlpool model of the atom most of the mass is concentrated at the center.

When the temperature of a certain volume of gas is increased, its pressure increases proportionally. Since pressure is due to the repulsive force among the particles, such force increases with temperature. This increases the agitation of the particles, hence increasing their impact on the walls of the container. Since pressure is the same at the same temperature for the same number of particles, the repulsive force among those particles must be the same regardless of their mass. In other words, the average impact of a particle on the walls of the container must be the same. If the molecule is heavier, then its velocity must be less. If the molecule is lighter, its velocity must be greater. This implies an inverse relationship between mass and velocity of the gas molecules under certain conditions.

The notion that all matter is composed of the same primary substance and that when organized in different ways produces the various elements, occurs far back in antiquity. In Dalton’s theory, atoms are distinguished by their different masses. Prout (1785 – 1850) hypothesized that the atoms of all elements are simply combinations of hydrogen. This was based on the specific gravity of elements being integer multiple of the specific gravity of hydrogen. Thus, the mass of hydrogen atom became the fundamental unit of atomic mass. This may have some bearing on how the central core in the whirlpool model of atom is stably formed.


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