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Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier

Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier was born on August 26, 1743 in Paris, France. He was a French lawyer, economist and chemist. When Lavoisier was a chemist, the dominant theory of combustion was the phlogiston theory. Phlogiston was a substance inherent in all matter that was released when something burned. Items with a lot of phlogiston burned easily. Items with little phologiston would not burn. Fires in enclosed spaces would die because the air would become saturated with phlogiston, preventing further combustion. For example, charcoal contained a lot of phlogiston. When burned, this phlogiston would be released and the remaining ashes were all that was left. The problem with phlogiston theory was trying to determine how much phlogiston weighed. In some cases, such as calcinating (heating a metal in air) some metals to form a metal oxide, the weight of the oxide was higher than the original metal. This would imply phlogiston would have a negative value for weight. Lavoisier showed that reactions with oxygen caused oxides to form and combustion to take place. He also showed how the mass of the reactants of a chemical reaction was equal to the mass of the products. This removed the need for phlogiston to have weight, either positive or negative. When he died, phlogiston theory was still accepted, but the next generation of chemists accepted his work and phlogiston theory was gone.

Besides, Lavoisier recognized hydrogen and oxygen were elements and together made up water . He  introduced the idea of allotropes when he discovered carbon and diamonds were the same material.

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