Atoms and Molecules

Trends in Reactivity and the Periodic Table

What was the law of octaves?

The law of octaves was put forth by the British chemist John Newlands. He noticed that, when the elements were listed in order of increasing atomic weight, elements with similar properties occurred every eight elements. The trend was named “the law of octaves” by analogy to musical scales, and it was the first realization of the relationship between atomic masses and a repeating pattern of elemental properties. This periodicity has since been explained in detail as chemists have gained a better understanding of atomic structure, and the law of octaves played a crucial role in the development of the periodic table chemists use today.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Chemistry Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App