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The Temperature of Ignition of Explosive Gaseous Mixtures

Nature volume 49, pages 138139 | Download Citation



AN important contribution to our knowledge of this subject is communicated to the Berichte by Prof. Victor Meyer of leidelberg, in conjunction with his assistant, Herr A. Münch. The interesting experiments which were carried out some eighteen months ago in the Heidelberg laboratory, concerning the onditions under which the explosion or silent combination of gaseous mixtures occurs, left the question of the precise temperaures of explosive combination undetermined, inasmuch as the necessary high temperatures were attained by the use of boiling alts whose temperatures of ebullition lay a considerable number of degrees apart. The researches have since been continued under conditions in which it has been found possible to determine the actual temperatures with precision. In these experiments any possibility of the occurrence of appreciable amounts of silent combination has been avoided, in order that the determinations of the temperature of explosive combination might be unaffected by errors due to that cause. The conspicuous novelty of the method adopted consists in placing the small bulb containing the mixture to be exploded inside the larger bulb of the air thermometer employed to determine the temperature, thus at once ensuring that the explosion bulb and the thermometer bulb shall be leated to precisely the same temperature. The objection which at first suggests itself, that the heat suddenly developed at the moment of explosion might exert a disturbing influence upon the indications of the air thermometer, was direct and repeated experiment to be without validity, such disturbance being found to be too small to be measured. The bulb in which the explosion is brought about is not closed, for the explosion of such detonating mixtures of gases at rest, that is to say, confined to a closed space, is so violent that if the glass escapes pulverisation it s much distorted, owing to the temperature to which it requires to be heated being about its softening point. The distortion usually takes the form of a shrinking from two opposite points, where the glass is drawn in and distended to such an extent as to produce two internal spheres. Such deformation would of course alter considerably the volume of the air thermometer. This is avoided by attaching a long stem to the bulb, open at the free extremity, and of passing a slow current of the gaseous mixture through the apparatus. The bulb of the thermometer was heated by means of a bath of a fused alloy consisting of equal parts of tin and lead, and it was found immaterial whether the thermometer was directly immersed in the molten metal or protected by means of a closely-fitting refractory metal sheath. The estimation of the temperature was effected by displacing the air of the thermometer, whose volume was known, by means of a current of hydrochloric acid gas, and measuring its volume over distilled water which had recently been freed from air by boiling.

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