Chemical reaction, a process in which one or more substances, the reactants, are converted to one or more different substances, the products. Substances are either chemical elements or compounds. A chemical reaction rearranges the constituentatoms of the reactants to create different substances as products.
Chemical reactions are an integral part of technology, of culture, and indeed of life itself. Burning fuels, smeltingiron, making glass and pottery, brewing beer, and making wine and cheese are among many examples of activities incorporating chemical reactions that have been known and used for thousands of years. Chemical reactions abound in the geology of Earth, in the atmosphere and oceans, and in a vast array of complicated processes that occur in all living systems.
Chemical reactions must be distinguished from physical changes. Physical changes include changes of state, such as ice melting to water and water evaporating to vapour. If a physical change occurs, the physical properties of a substance will change, but its chemical identity will remain the same. No matter what its physical state, water (H2O) is the same compound, with each molecule composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen. However, if water, as ice, liquid, or vapour, encounters sodium metal (Na), the atoms will be redistributed to give the new substances molecular hydrogen (H2) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH). By this, we know that a chemical change or reaction has occurred.
The concept of a chemical reaction dates back about 250 years. It had its origins in early experiments that classified substances as elements and compounds and in theories that explained these processes. Development of the concept of a chemical reaction had a primary role in defining the science of chemistry as it is known today.
The first substantive studies in this area were on gases. The identification of oxygen in the 18th century by Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele and English clergyman Joseph Priestley had particular significance. The influence of French chemist Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier was especially notable, in that his insights confirmed the importance of quantitative measurements of chemical processes. In his book Traité élémentaire de chimie (1789; Elementary Treatise on Chemistry), Lavoisier identified 33 “elements”—substances not broken down into simpler entities. Among his many discoveries, Lavoisier accurately measured the weight gained when elements were oxidized, and he ascribed the result to the combining of the element with oxygen. The concept of chemical reactions involving the combination of elements clearly emerged from his writing, and his approach led others to pursue experimental chemistry as a quantitative science.
The other occurrence of historical significance concerning chemical reactions was the development of atomic theory. For this, much credit goes to English chemist John Dalton, who postulated his atomic theory early in the 19th century. Dalton maintained that matter is composed of small, indivisible particles, that the particles, or atoms, of each element were unique, and that chemical reactions were involved in rearranging atoms to form new substances. This view of chemical reactions accurately defines the current subject. Dalton’s theory provided a basis for understanding the results of earlier experimentalists, including the law of conservation of matter (matter is neither created nor destroyed) and the law of constant composition (all samples of a substance have identical elemental compositions).
Thus, experiment and theory, the two cornerstones of chemical science in the modern world, together defined the concept of chemical reactions. Today experimental chemistry provides innumerable examples, and theoretical chemistry allows an understanding of their meaning.
This article is about "lines of force", as used in the early history and philosophy of electromagnetism. For the modern use of "lines of force" as a way to depict electromagnetic and other vector fields, see Field line.
A line of force in Faraday's extended sense is synonymous with Maxwell's line of induction. According to J.J. Thomson, Faraday usually discusses lines of force as chains of polarized particles in a dielectric, yet sometimes Faraday discusses them as having an existence all their own as in stretching across a vacuum. In addition to lines of force, J.J. Thomson—similar to Maxwell—also calls them tubes of electrostaticinductance, or simply Faraday tubes. From the 20th century perspective, lines of force are energy linkages embedded in a 19th-century unified field theory that led to more mathematically and experimentally sophisticated concepts and theories, including Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic waves, and Einstein's relativity.
Lines of force originated with Michael Faraday, whose theory holds that all of reality is made up of force itself. His theory predicts that electricity, light, and gravity have finite propagation delays. The theories and experimental data of later scientific figures such as Maxwell, Hertz, Einstein, and others are in agreement with the ramifications of Faraday's theory. Nevertheless, Faraday's theory remains distinct. Unlike Faraday, Maxwell and others (e.g., J.J. Thomson) thought that light and electricity must propagate through an ether. In Einstein's relativity, there is no ether, yet the physical reality of force is much weaker than in the theories of Faraday.
Historian Nancy J. Nersessian in her paper "Faraday's Field Concept" distinguishes between the ideas of Maxwell and Faraday:
The specific features of Faraday's field concept, in its 'favourite' and most complete form, are that force is a substance, that it is the only substance and that all forces are interconvertible through various motions of the lines of force. These features of Faraday's 'favourite notion' were not carried on. Maxwell, in his approach to the problem of finding a mathematical representation for the continuous transmission of electric and magnetic forces, considered these to be states of stress and strain in a mechanical aether. This was part of the quite different network of beliefs and problems with which Maxwell was working.
Views of Faraday
At first Faraday considered the physical reality of the lines of force as a possibility, yet several scholars agree that for Faraday their physical reality became a conviction. One scholar dates this change in the year 1838. Another scholar dates this final strengthening of his belief in 1852. Faraday experimentally studied lines of magnetic force and lines of electrostatic force, showing them not to fit action at a distance models. In 1852 Faraday wrote the paper "On the Physical Character of the Lines of Magnetic Force" which examined gravity, radiation, and electricity, and their possible relationships with the transmission medium, transmission propagation, and the receiving entity.
Views of Maxwell
Initially, Maxwell took an agnostic approach in his mathematization of Faraday's theories. This is seen in Maxwell's 1855 and 1856 papers: "On Faraday's Lines of Force" and "On Faraday's Electrotontic State". In the 1864 paper "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" Maxwell gives scientific priority of the electromagnetic theory of light to Faraday and his 1846 paper "Thoughts on Ray Vibrations". Maxwell wrote:
Faraday discovered that when a plane polarized ray traverses a transparent diamagnetic medium in the direction of the lines of magnetic force produced by magnets or currents in the neighborhood, the plane of polarization is caused to rotate.
The conception of the propagation of transverse magnetic disturbances to the exclusion of normal ones is distinctly set forth by Professor Faraday in his "Thoughts on Ray Vibrations." The electromagnetic theory of light, as proposed by him, is the same in substance as that which I have begun to develop in this paper, except that in 1846 there was no data to calculate the velocity of propagation.
Tube of force
Maxwell changed Faraday's phrase lines of force to tubes of force, when expressing his fluidic assumptions involved in his mathematization of Faraday's theories. A tube of force, also called a tube of electrostatic induction or field tube, are the lines of electric force which moves so that its beginning traces a closed curve on a positive surface, its end will trace a corresponding closed curve on the negative surface, and the line of force itself will generate an inductive tubular surface. Such a tube is called a "Solenoid". There is a pressure at right angles to a tube of force of one half the product of the dielectric and magnetic density. If through the growth of a field the tubes of force are spread sideways or in width there is a magnetic reaction to that growth in intensity of electric current. However, if a tube of force is caused to move endwise there is little or no drag to limit velocity. Tubes of force are absorbed by bodies imparting momentum and gravitational mass. Tubes of force are a group of electric lines of force.
Early on in his research (circa 1831), Faraday calls the patterns of apparently continuous curves traced out in metallic filings near a magnet magnetic curves. Later on he refers to them as just an instance of magnetic lines of force or simply lines of force. Eventually Faraday would also begin to use the phrase "magnetic field".
Other relevant papers
- Faraday, Michael, "Thoughts on Ray Vibrations", Philosophical Magazine, May 1846, or Experimental Researches, iii, p. 447
- Faraday, Michael, Experimental Researches, Series 19.
- ^1907 Encyclopædia Britannica, page 64
- ^ abNotes on Recent Researches in Electricity and Magnetism, Joseph John Thomson, James Clerk Maxwell, 1883
- ^Fields of Force, William Berkson, 1974
- ^Forces and Fields, Mary B. Hesse, 1961
- ^Faraday Rediscovered: Essays on the Life and Work of Michael Faraday, 1791-1867, David Gooding, Frank A. J. L. James, Stockton Press, 1985, ISBN 0-943818-91-5, ISBN 978-0-943818-91-7, 258 pages, page 183-
- ^ abThe Origins of Field Theory, L. Pearce Williams (Cornell University), 1966, Random House, p. 88 (a) , p.124 (b)
- ^Energy, Force, and Matter, P.M. Harman, 1982, Cambridge University Press, p. 80
- ^A.T. Williams. "Sneaking Up On Einstein". Retrieved 2008-10-29.
- ^Faraday's Experimental Researches in Electricity: The First Series, Howard J. Fisher, 2004, Green Lion Press, p. 22 et al.
- ^Colin A. Russell, Michael Faraday: Physics and Faith, 2000, Oxford University Press, pp. 99-100 Chapter 9 "Electromagnetism: 'At Play in the Fields of the Lord'