feb 27, 1783 - caloric theory - subtle fluid caloric as the substance of heat (frigoric)


The caloric theory is an obsolete scientific theory that heat consists of a self-repellent fluid called caloric that flows from hotter bodies to colder bodies. Caloric was also thought of as a weightless gas that could pass in and out of pores in solids and liquids. The "caloric theory" was superseded by the mid-19th century in favor of the mechanical theory of heat, but nevertheless persisted in some scientific literature—particularly in more popular treatments—until the end of the 19th century.[1]

There is one version of the caloric theory that was introduced by Antoine Lavoisier. Lavoisier developed the explanation of combustion in terms of oxygen in the 1770s. In his paper "Réflexions sur le phlogistique" (1783), Lavoisier argued that phlogiston theory was inconsistent with his experimental results, and proposed a 'subtle fluid' called caloric as the substance of heat.[2] According to this theory, the quantity of this substance is constant throughout the universe,[citation needed] and it flows from warmer to colder bodies. Indeed, Lavoisier was one of the first to use a calorimeter to measure the heat changes during chemical reaction.

In the 1780s, some believed that cold was a fluid, "frigoric". Pierre Prévost argued that cold was simply a lack of caloric.

Added to timeline:

5 months ago
Bartram Barton


feb 27, 1783
~ 236 years ago
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