As Tyler mentioned in a recent post, there was a lengthy discussion in a forum that prides itself on being science-y. The frustratingly humorous result was no two people had the same opinion on a topic that is believed to be definitive enough to earn the title “Scientific Law“.
As hard as it may be to accept, even Scientific Laws become outdated. The Law Of Conservation of Mass, coined by Antoine Lavoisier seen above, is a great example. There are still many processes in which the Mass Conservation “Law” applies. Energy Conservation, not mass conservation, applies to any process that results in a change in the chemical or atomic structure. Einstein’s famous equation is how we can be confident energy is conserved.
Mass Conservation Thought Experiment
A = X + Y
X + Y = B
A > B
Question: How can A be greater than B, if they are both made up of the same thing?
Answer: “Something Else” must be unaccounted for in our Thought Experiment.
Neutrons (A) have a mass of 1.008701 atomic mass units (amu).
Protons (X) have a mass of 1.007316 amu.
Electrons (Y) have a mass of .000549
Hydrogen (B) has a mass of 1.007825
A neutron is composed of 1 proton and 1 electron. (A = X + Y)
Hydrogen is composed of 1 proton and 1 electron. (B = X + Y)
A = 1.008701 = X + Y = 1.007865. A > X + Y
X + Y = 1.007865 = B = 1.007825. X + Y > B
A > X + Y > B
Mass is not conserved.
Have fun 🙂