Foundations of Chemistry

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 109–119 | Cite as

Elements of the third kind and the spin-dependent chemical force



A lively philosophical debate has lately arisen over the nature of elementhood in chemistry. Two different senses in which the technical term ELEMENT is currently in use by chemists have been identified, leaving chemistry open to the logical fallacy of equivocation. This paper introduces a third, more elemental candidate: the high-enthalpy short-lived unbonded atom. An enthalpy index based on free-atoms-as-elements is established, whereby one can monitor the degree to which an atom’s spin-based attractive force is implemented exo-enthalpically when the atom binds chemically to others. Enthalpy indexing shows that the strength of an atom’s attractive force is proportional to its spin angular momentum. Vibrational spectroscopy shows that the force varies inversely as the fourth power of the inter-atom distance. Both features differentiate the chemical force from the stronger electromagnetic force and from the weaker Van der Waals force.


Homomeric molecule Pseudo-element Protochemical atom Atomic spin Chemical force Enthalpy index 



The author wishes to thank Reviewer #2 for suggesting a more focused treatment of the chemical elements and for pointing out several errors of fact in an earlier draft.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemistry DepartmentThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  2. 2.LondonCanada

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