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Chemical laws are those laws of nature relevant to chemistry. The most fundamental concept in chemistry is the law of conservation of mass, which states that there is no detectable change in the quantity of matter during an ordinary chemical reaction. Modern physics shows that it is actually energy that is conserved, and that energy and mass are related; a concept which becomes important in nuclear chemistry. Conservation of energy leads to the important concepts of equilibrium, thermodynamics, and kinetics.

The laws of stoichiometry, that is, the gravimetric proportions by which chemical elements participate in chemical reactions, elaborate on the law of conservation of mass. Joseph Proust's law of definite composition says that pure chemicals are composed of elements in a definite formulation.[1]

Dalton's law of multiple proportions says that these chemicals will present themselves in proportions that are small whole numbers (i.e. 1:2 O:H in water); although in many systems (notably biomacromolecules and minerals) the ratios tend to require large numbers, and are frequently represented as a fraction.[2] Such compounds are known as non-stoichiometric compounds.

The third stoichiometric law is the law of reciprocal proportions, which provides the basis for establishing equivalent weights for each chemical element. Elemental equivalent weights can then be used to derive atomic weights for each element.

More modern laws of chemistry define the relationship between energy and transformations.


  1. ^ "Joseph Louis Proust". History of Chemistry. Retrieved December 17, 2023.
  2. ^ "The Law of Multiple Proportions | General Chemistry Lab News". Retrieved 2023-12-17.