Letter | Published:

On the Behaviour of Stretched Indiarubber when Heated


SOME time ago (NATURE, vol. xxv. p. 507) you permitted me to express a doubt as to the invariable success of an often-quoted experiment with cylinders of bismuth and iron, intended to illustrate some relations between specific heat and thermal conductivity.1 I regret that I have made further progress along the evil road of scepticism. I should like, in fact, to ask whether it is absolutely true to say without qualification, as is done in many text-books, that india-rubber (when stretched) forms an exception to the general law that the volume of a body is increased when the temperature is increased. The usual form of the experiment supposed to prove this is well known: a piece of india-rubber tube or cord is stretched by a weight connected with a long light index-lever, and it is shown that when heat is applied the india-rubber gets decidedly shorter.

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