Phlogiston theory

Superseded theory of combustion / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The phlogiston theory is a superseded scientific theory that postulated the existence of a fire-like element called phlogiston (/flɒˈɪstən, fl-, -ɒn/)[1][2] contained within combustible bodies and released during combustion. The name comes from the Ancient Greek φλογιστόν phlogistón (burning up), from φλόξ phlóx (flame). The idea was first proposed in 1667 by Johann Joachim Becher and later put together more formally by Georg Ernst Stahl. Phlogiston theory attempted to explain chemical processes such as combustion and rusting, now collectively known as oxidation. It was challenged by the concomitant weight increase, and was abandoned before the end of the 18th century following experiments by Antoine Lavoisier and others. Phlogiston theory led to experiments which ultimately concluded with the discovery of oxygen.

The alchemist and physician J. J. Becher proposed the phlogiston theory.