Newland's Law of Octaves



  • Newlands’ Law of Octaves
  • Limitations of Newlands’ Law of Octaves


In 1866, an English scientist, John Newlands, arranged the then-known elements in order of increasing atomic masses. He started with the element with the lowest atomic mass (hydrogen) and ended with thorium, the 56th element. He found that every eighth element had properties similar to the first.

He compared this to the octaves found in music. Therefore, he called it the ‘Law of Octaves’. It is also known as the ‘Newlands’ Law of Octaves’.

The properties of lithium and sodium were found to be the same. Sodium is the eighth element after lithium.


  • It was found that the Law of Octaves was applicable only to calcium, as after calcium, every eighth element did not possess properties similar to that of the first.

  • Newlands assumed that only 56 elements existed in nature and no more elements would be discovered in the future. But, later on, several new elements were discovered whose properties did not fit into the Law of Octaves.

  • To fit elements into his Table, Newlands adjusted two elements in the same slot but also put some unlike elements under the same.


With the discovery of noble gases, the Law of Octaves became irrelevant.


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Series 2 | Periodic Classification of Elements part 4 (Newland law of octave)

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Periodic Classification of Elements part 4 (Newland law of octave) [00:07:53]
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