Otherwise described as “equivalent weights” or “combining proportions,” represent the propoitions by weight in which the chemical elements combine amongst themselves or, in other words, the weights which will combine with 1 part of hydrogen. In many cases, these equivalent weights are identical with the atomic weights of the same, elements, but not in all cases. For instance, the affinity of oxygen for hydrogen requires 2 atoms for its saturation to produce water, and as the relative weight of hydrogen as the standard is 1, that of oxygen is 8. Sulphur also requires 2 atoms of hydrogen to satisfy its affinity, and whilst its atomic, weight is 32, its equivalent weight is therefore 16. Phosphorus and arsenic require each 3 atoms of hydrogen, and this vary ing power of combination of each element is termed its valency.
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