I am doing the following question (from the 1988 HSC Chemistry paper):
In the 19th Century the atomic weight of zirconium (Zr) was known but there was considerable doubt about the formula of zirconium oxide. Experiments determined the relative weight of the volatile chloride to be about 233.
Assuming that zirconium in the oxide has the same valency, this evidence suggests that the formula for the oxide is:
I am not sure what is meant by the sentence 'Experiments determined the relative weight of the volatile chloride to be about 233'. By 'volatile chloride', are they referring to zirconium oxide or something else? It seems that they are referring to something else since a chloride is a compound of chlorine with another element or group.
Also, by the statement 'assuming that zirconium in the oxide has the same valency' are they saying that zirconium has the same valency as chlorine (i.e. -1)?
Any insights are appreciated.