By Fred Aftalion

Goals to supply a global standpoint on chemistry, integrating the tale of chemical technological know-how with that of the chemical undefined, and emphasizing vital advancements of the 20 th century.

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By 1775, Lavoisier had become convinced that air combined with metals and combustible substances during their calcination. He proceeded to demonstrate that air was a mixture of oxygen and another substance, which he called nitrogen. According to Lavoisier, the phlogiston theory could be totally discarded, since combustion and calcination were simply the combination of an active substance with oxygen. In a memoir to the Académie des Sciences dated 1783, he argued at length against the phlogiston theory and was supported by the French mathematician and astronomer Pierre Simon de Laplace, as well as by the chemists Claude Louis Berthollet, Louis Bernard Guyton de Morveau, and Antoine François Fourcroy.

Lavoisier was married on December 4, 1771 to the daughter of the Fermier Général Jacques Paulze, and set up his laboratory in the Arsenal. It is there that he carried out his experiments on combustion and respiration as well as his studies of the composition of water, thereby laying the foundation of modem chemistry. By 1775, Lavoisier had become convinced that air combined with metals and combustible substances during their calcination. He proceeded to demonstrate that air was a mixture of oxygen and another substance, which he called nitrogen.

Carl Wilhelm Scheele believed in phlogiston and referred in his works to a "fire-air" (Feuerluft). " He believed, like most of his contemporaries, that when air was saturated with phlogiston combustion was prevented. Lavoisier, on the other hand, observed that the phlogiston theory could not explain why a metal became heavier when it was changed into calx. He proved in 1776 that the oxygen found in the air, which combined with the metals when they were calcined, accounted for the increase in weight.

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