Answer :

Joseph Priestly, a British clergyman, performed series of experiments which led to the discovery of oxygen. Some of his experiments also involved the process of photosynthesis. He conducted a burning candle experiment which can be described as follows:

1. Joseph Priestly lit a candle.


2. He then covered the burning candle with a glass jar.


3. He observed that the flame of the candle immediately died out.


Inference: He reasoned that something in air was necessary to keep the flame burning.


He then made some changes to the first experiment:


1. He placed fresh mint leaves underneath the jar and left the entire setup undisturbed for two days.


2. He found that he could relight the candle and it burnt for a while.


Inference: He concluded that the plant had produced the substance required for burning.


So the conclusions that came out of these two experiments were:


● Due to the absence of oxygen, candle flame died out in first case.


● Plant must have generated oxygen which was used to relight the candle.


He also performed an experiment which showed that oxygen supports combustion:


● He focused sunlight on mercuric oxide inside a glass tube.


● A gas was liberated.


● He observed that the candle burnt brighter in the presence of this gas.


Conclusion: The liberated gas was oxygen which made the candle to burn brightly.


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