Fuel and Refractory Materials

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    THIS book is intended to meet the want of a manual intermediate in size between the exhaustive treatises of Percy, Mills, and Rowan on the one hand, and such brief outlines of the subject as may be found in manuals of metallurgy on the other. Seven chapters out of fifteen are devoted to fuel, one to the recovery of bye-products, three to furnaces and refractory materials, whilst the subjects of pyrometry, calorimetry, utilisation and testing of fuel are dismissed in one chapter each. The book is written in a clear and concise style, and is profusely illustrated with excellent diagrams. The subjects of coking, recovery of bye-products, and preparation and use of gaseous fuel are treated in a very practical manner and in great detail. The chapter on the important subject of pyrometry is not so satisfactory, as although an account is given of almost every type of instrument, whether obsolete or not, the impression is given that the author has little practical knowledge of many of the instruments described, as scarcely any criticism is offered, and the descriptions are often in the inventor's own words. The result is that an engineer, wishing to put in a pyrometer for practical purposes, would receive little assistance in choosing the best type of instrument for any special case. An exact definition of the various thermometric “scales” of the several instruments would also be desirable, so that the exact meaning of a temperature measured, say on the platinum resistance scale, could be clearly shown. The same historic completeness and lack of criticism applies to the chapter on calorimetry; a student might get the idea that for practical purposes it is a matter of indifference whether the heat of combustion of a fuel be determined by Berthier's process (fusion with litharge) or by the Berthelot-Mahler process. Taking the size of the baok into consideration, very few essential points have been omitted. It is to be hoped, however, that in the second edition space may be found in Chapter x. for a description of an anemometer of the Fletcher type, the direct measurement of the gaseous velocity in a shaft being much preferable to the indirect methods given. The approximate analysis of flue gases is now so common in works, that a short account of the methods used, together with an application (such as a boiler trial), would be very useful. The only method mentioned for carrying out such analyses is both cumbersome and expensive. At the end of the book is an admirable set of references to works and papers bearing on the subject.

    Fuel and Refractory Materials.

    By A. Humboldt Sexton. (London: Blackie and Son, 1896.)

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    Fuel and Refractory Materials. Nature 55, 222 (1897) doi:10.1038/055222a0

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