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combining weight

combining weight, the proportion (by weight) in which a chemical element combines with other elements to form compounds. The determination of combining weights was a very important part of early chemical endeavor. The atomic theory of John Dalton (see atom ) was based in part on his determinations of combining weights, which he called atomic weights. Combining weights were usually measured by early chemists on a scale in which hydrogen had a combining weight of 1. See equivalent weight .

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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