Question #566d2

1 Answer
Jun 9, 2016

The law of conservation of mass descends automatically from the Dalton Atomic Theory, in particular from points 3 and 5.


The main points of Dalton's atomic theory were:

  1. Elements are made of extremely small particles called atoms.
  2. Atoms of a given element are identical in size, mass, and other properties; atoms of different elements differ in size, mass, and other properties.
  3. Atoms cannot be subdivided, created, or destroyed.
  4. Atoms of different elements combine in simple whole-number ratios to form chemical compounds.
  5. In chemical reactions, atoms are combined, separated, or rearranged.

As long as a chemical reaction consists of a rearrangement of atoms (point 5) and nothing changes in the atoms (point 3), the total mass - that is the sum of the masses of all the involved atoms - must remain unchanged.