The discovery of new elements (pre-16)

Jons Jacob Berzelius reaction with carbon

Jons Jacob Berzelius obtained four elements (thorium, cerium, selenium and impure silicon) mainly by reduction with carbon.


a) Ytterby has the unique distinction of having four elements named after it. Look at the Periodic Table and suggest what these elements might be. You could try to confirm your suggestions by doing a search on the internet or research in a library.

b) Use an internet search engine to help you find out what sort of symbols were used by chemists to represent elements before the letter symbols introduced by Berzelius in the early 1800s.


Q 1.     Berzelius used the technique of reaction with carbon to isolate elements from their compounds. One common compound of silicon is silicon dioxide (SiO2), which is found in sand. Suggest word and symbol equations for the reaction of carbon with silicon dioxide to form silicon. What other compound would be produced?

Click here to see the answers