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On Certain Methods of Chemical Research1

Nature volume 14, pages 1213 | Download Citation



THE lecturer began by describing the simple form of apparatus which he employed many years ago in his researches on the heat evolved in the combination of oxygen, chlorine, bromine, &c., with other bodies. In every case the bodies to be combined were inclosed in a vessel surrounded with water, and the combination was effected either by the ignition of a fine platinum wire, or where they acted directly upon one another, by the fracture of a glass capsule containing one of the combining bodies, the heat being measured by the rise of temperature of the water. He next referred to the arrangement by which he had been the first to decompose water so as to render visible the hydrogen and oxygen, and to measure their relative volumes by means of atmospheric electricity and of electrical, currents from the ordinary machine. For this purpose fine platinum wires were hermetically sealed into fine thermometer tubes, which were then filled with dilute sulphuric acid by withdrawing the air by ebullition. The same current of frictional electricity will decompose the water in almost an indefinite number such couples arranged in a consecutive series. Capillary tubes of this kind may be employed for eudiometric experiments, which would be exceedingly tedious in wide tubes. Thus oxygen gas can at once be absorbed by passing the silent discharge through it while standing over a solution of iodide of potassium. By means of th air pump it is easy with a gentle exhaustion to expand the gas so that it may fill the whole tube while the open end is immersed in the liquid which it is desired to introduce; on removing the pressure the gas will be in contac with the new liquid.

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