English Chemist Who Proposed the Law of Octaves

John Newland

The English chemist – John Newlands attempted the 62 elements known at that time in the year 1864. He organized those elements in increasing order based on their atomic masses in the periodic table. He observed that every 8th element had related properties. Based on his observation, John Newland’s Law of Octaves was devised.

The Law of Octaves affirms that every eighth element has similar properties when the elements are organized in the ascending order of their atomic masses in the periodic table.

John Newland’s Law of Octaves

John Newlands contrasted the resemblance between the elements to the octaves of music, where every eighth note is analogous to the first. This was the first endeavor of allocating an atomic number to each element. On the other hand, this scheme of categorizing elements was met with a lot of opposition in scientific and logical people.

Limitations of Newland’s Law of Octaves

The main inadequacies of John Newland’s Law of Octaves are listed below:

Various elements were set into the same slots in John Newland’s periodic categorization. For illustration, cobalt, and nickel were located in the same slot.

Elements with unrelated properties were clustered together. For instance, the halogens were clustered with several metals such as cobalt, nickel, and platinum.

Newland’s Law of Octaves was to be believed true only for elements up to calcium. Elements with larger atomic masses could not be contained in the octaves.

The elements that were revealed later could not be set into the octave model. Consequently, this method of categorizing elements did not leave any room for the finding of new elements.


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