Elements of Chemistry, - In a New Systematic Order, Containing all the Modern Discoveries
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Calculation before Combustion.

The air in the jar before combustion was 353 cubical inches, but it was only under a barometrical pressure of 27 inches 9-1/2 lines; which, reduced to decimal fractions by Tab. I. of the Appendix, gives 27.79167 inches; and from this we must deduct the difference of 4-1/2 inches of water, which, by Tab. II. corresponds to 0.33166 inches of the barometer; hence the real pressure of the air in the jar is 27.46001. As the volume of elastic fluids diminish in the inverse ratio of the compressing weights, we have the following statement to reduce the 353 inches to the volume the air would occupy at 28 inches barometrical pressure.

353 : x, the unknown volume, :: 27.46001 : 28. Hence, x = 353 x 27.46001 / 28 = 346.192 cubical inches, which is the volume the same quantity of air would have occupied at 28 inches of the barometer.

The 210th part of this corrected volume is 1.65, which, for the five degrees of temperature above the standard gives 8.255 cubical inches; and, as this correction is subtractive, the real corrected volume of the air before combustion is 337.942 inches.

Calculation after Combustion.

By a similar calculation upon the volume of air after combustion, we find its barometrical pressure 27.77083 - 0.51593 = 27.25490. Hence, to have the volume of air under the pressure of 28 inches, 295 : x :: 27.77083 : 28 inversely; or, x = 295 x 27.25490 / 28 = 287.150. The 210th part of this corrected volume is 1.368, which, multiplied by 6 degrees of thermometrical difference, gives the subtractive correction for temperature 8.208, leaving the actual corrected volume of air after combustion 278.942 inches.

Result.

The corrected volume before combustion 337.942

Ditto remaining after combustion 278.942 ———— Volume absorbed during combustion 59.000.

SECT. VIII.

Method of determining the Absolute Gravity of the different Gasses.

Take a large balloon A, Pl. V. Fig. 10. capable of holding 17 or 18 pints, or about half a cubical foot, having the brass cap bcde strongly cemented to its neck, and to which the tube and stop-cock f g is fixed by a tight screw. This apparatus is connected by the double screw represented separately at Fig. 12. to the jar BCD, Fig. 10. which must be some pints larger in dimensions than the balloon. This jar is open at top, and is furnished with the brass cap h i, and stop-cock l m. One of these slop-cocks is represented separately at Fig. 11.

We first determine the exact capacity of the balloon by filling it with water, and weighing it both full and empty. When emptied of water, it is dried with a cloth introduced through its neck d e, and the last remains of moisture are removed by exhausting it once or twice in an air-pump.

When the weight of any gas is to be ascertained, this apparatus is used as follows: Fix the balloon A to the plate of an air-pump by means of the screw of the stop-cock f g, which is left open; the balloon is to be exhausted as completely as possible, observing carefully the degree of exhaustion by means of the barometer attached to the air-pump. When the vacuum is formed, the stop-cock f g is shut, and the weight of the balloon determined with the most scrupulous exactitude. It is then fixed to the jar BCD, which we suppose placed in water in the shelf of the pneumato chemical apparatus Fig. 1.; the jar is to be filled with the gas we mean to weigh, and then, by opening the stop-cocks f g and l m, the gas ascends into the balloon, whilst the water of the cistern rises at the same time into the jar. To avoid very troublesome corrections, it is necessary, during this first part of the operation, to sink the jar in the cistern till the surfaces of the water within the jar and without exactly correspond. The stop-cocks are again shut, and the balloon being unscrewed from its connection with the jar, is to be carefully weighed; the difference between this weight and that of the exhausted balloon is the precise weight of the air or gas contained in the balloon. Multiply this weight by 1728, the number of cubical inches in a cubical foot, and divide the product by the number of cubical inches contained in the balloon, the quotient is the weight of a cubical foot of the gas or air submitted to experiment.

Exact account must be kept of the barometrical height and temperature of the thermometer during the above experiment; and from these the resulting weight of a cubical foot is easily corrected to the standard of 28 inches and 10 deg., as directed in the preceding section. The small portion of air remaining in the balloon after forming the vacuum must likewise be attended to, which is easily determined by the barometer attached to the air-pump. If that barometer, for instance, remains at the hundredth part of the height it stood at before the vacuum was formed, we conclude that one hundredth part of the air originally contained remained in the balloon, and consequently that only 99/100 of gas was introduced from the jar into the balloon.

FOOTNOTES:

[58] According to the proportion of 114 to 107, given between the French and English foot, 28 inches of the French barometer are equal to 29.83 inches of the English. Directions will be found in the appendix for converting all the French weights and measures used in this work into corresponding English denominations.—E.

[59] When Fahrenheit's thermometer is employed, the dilatation by each degree must be smaller, in the proportion of 1 to 2.25, because each degree of Reaumur's scale contains 2.25 degrees of Fahrenheit; hence we must divide by 472.5, and finish the rest of the calculation as above.—E.

CHAP. III.

Description of the Calorimeter, or Apparatus for measuring Caloric.

The calorimeter, or apparatus for measuring the relative quantities of heat contained in bodies, was described by Mr de la Place and me in the Memoirs of the Academy for 1780, p. 355. and from that Essay the materials of this chapter are extracted.

If, after having cooled any body to the freezing point, it be exposed in an atmosphere of 25 deg. (88.25 deg.), the body will gradually become heated, from the surface inwards, till at last it acquire the same temperature with the surrounding air. But, if a piece of ice be placed in the same situation, the circumstances are quite different; it does not approach in the smallest degree towards the temperature of the circumambient air, but remains constantly at Zero (32 deg.), or the temperature of melting ice, till the last portion of ice be completely melted.

This phenomenon is readily explained; as, to melt ice, or reduce it to water, it requires to be combined with a certain portion of caloric; the whole caloric attracted from the surrounding bodies, is arrested or fixed at the surface or external layer of ice which it is employed to dissolve, and combines with it to form water; the next quantity of caloric combines with the second layer to dissolve it into water, and so on successively till the whole ice be dissolved or converted into water by combination with caloric, the very last atom still remaining at its former temperature, because the caloric has never penetrated so far as long as any intermediate ice remained to melt.

Upon these principles, if we conceive a hollow sphere of ice at the temperature of Zero (32 deg.) placed in an atmosphere 10 deg. (54.5 deg.), and containing a substance at any degree of temperature above freezing, it follows, 1st, That the heat of the external atmosphere cannot penetrate into the internal hollow of the sphere of ice; 2dly, That the heat of the body placed in the hollow of the sphere cannot penetrate outwards beyond it, but will be stopped at the internal surface, and continually employed to melt successive layers of ice, until the temperature of the body be reduced to Zero (32 deg.), by having all its superabundant caloric above that temperature carried off by the ice. If the whole water, formed within the sphere of ice during the reduction of the temperature of the included body to Zero, be carefully collected, the weight of the water will be exactly proportional to the quantity of caloric lost by the body in passing from its original temperature to that of melting ice; for it is evident that a double quantity of caloric would have melted twice the quantity of ice; hence the quantity of ice melted is a very exact measure of the quantity of caloric employed to produce that effect, and consequently of the quantity lost by the only substance that could possibly have supplied it.

I have made this supposition of what would take place in a hollow sphere of ice, for the purpose of more readily explaining the method used in this species of experiment, which was first conceived by Mr de la Place. It would be difficult to procure such spheres of ices and inconvenient to make use of them when got; but, by means of the following apparatus, we have remedied that defect. I acknowledge the name of Calorimeter, which I have given it, as derived partly from Greek and partly from Latin, is in some degree open to criticism; but, in matters of science, a slight deviation from strict etymology, for the sake of giving distinctness of idea, is excusable; and I could not derive the name entirely from Greek without approaching too near to the names of known instruments employed for other purposes.

The calorimeter is represented in Pl. VI. It is shown in perspective at Fig. 1. and its interior structure is engraved in Fig. 2. and 3.; the former being a horizontal, and the latter a perpendicular section. Its capacity or cavity is divided into three parts, which, for better distinction, I shall name the interior, middle, and external cavities. The interior cavity f f f f, Fig. 4. into which the substances submitted to experiment are put, is composed of a grating or cage of iron wire, supported by several iron bars; its opening or mouth LM, is covered by the lid HG, of the same materials. The middle cavity b b b b, Fig. 2. and 3. is intended to contain the ice which surrounds the interior cavity, and which is to be melted by the caloric of the substance employed in the experiment. The ice is supported by the grate m m at the bottom of the cavity, under which is placed the sieve n n. These two are represented separately in Fig. 5. and 6.

In proportion as the ice contained in the middle cavity is melted, by the caloric disengaged from the body placed in the interior cavity, the water runs through the grate and sieve, and falls through the conical funnel c c d, Fig. 3. and tube x y, into the receiver F, Fig. 1. This water may be retained or let out at pleasure, by means of the stop-cock u. The external cavity a a a a, Fig. 2. and 3. is filled with ice, to prevent any effect upon the ice in the middle cavity from the heat of the surrounding air, and the water produced from it is carried off through the pipe ST, which shuts by means of the stop-cock r. The whole machine is covered by the lid FF, Fig. 7. made of tin painted with oil colour, to prevent rust.

When this machine is to be employed, the middle cavity b b b b, Fig. 2. and 3., the lid GH, Fig. 4. of the interior cavity, the external cavity a a a a, Fig. 2. and 3. and the general lid FF, Fig. 7. are all filled with pounded ice, well rammed, so that no void spaces remain, and the ice of the middle cavity is allowed to drain. The machine is then opened, and the substance submitted to experiment being placed in the interior cavity, it is instantly closed. After waiting till the included body is completely cooled to the freezing point, and the whole melted ice has drained from the middle cavity, the water collected in the vessel F, Fig. 1. is accurately weighed. The weight of the water produced during the experiment is an exact measure of the caloric disengaged during the cooling of the included body, as this substance is evidently in a similar situation with the one formerly mentioned as included in a hollow sphere of ice; the whole caloric disengaged is stopped by the ice in the middle cavity, and that ice is preserved from being affected by any other heat by means of the ice contained in the general lid, Fig. 7. and in the external cavity. Experiments of this kind last from fifteen to twenty hours; they are sometimes accelerated by covering up the substance in the interior cavity with well drained ice, which hastens its cooling.

The substances to be operated upon are placed in the thin iron bucket, Fig. 8. the cover of which has an opening fitted with a cork, into which a small thermometer is fixed. When we use acids, or other fluids capable of injuring the metal of the instruments, they are contained in the matras, Fig. 10. which has a similar thermometer in a cork fitted to its mouth, and which stands in the interior cavity upon the small cylindrical support RS, Fig. 10.

It is absolutely requisite that there be no communication between the external and middle cavities of the calorimeter, otherwise the ice melted by the influence of the surrounding air, in the external cavity, would mix with the water produced from the ice of the middle cavity, which would no longer be a measure of the caloric lost by the substance submitted to experiment.

When the temperature of the atmosphere is only a few degrees above the freezing point, its heat can hardly reach the middle cavity, being arrested by the ice of the cover, Fig. 7. and of the external cavity; but, if the temperature of the air be under the degree of freezing, it might cool the ice contained in the middle cavity, by causing the ice in the external cavity to fall, in the first place, below zero (32 deg.). It is therefore essential that this experiment be carried on in a temperature somewhat above freezing: Hence, in time of frost, the calorimeter must be kept in an apartment carefully heated. It is likewise necessary that the ice employed be not under zero (32 deg.); for which purpose it must be pounded, and spread out thin for some time, in a place of a higher temperature.

The ice of the interior cavity always retains a certain quantity of water adhering to its surface, which may be supposed to belong to the result of the experiment; but as, at the beginning of each experiment, the ice is already saturated with as much water as it can contain, if any of the water produced by the caloric should remain attached to the ice, it is evident, that very nearly an equal quantity of what adhered to it before the experiment must have run down into the vessel F in its stead; for the inner surface of the ice in the middle cavity is very little changed during the experiment.

By any contrivance that could be devised, we could not prevent the access of the external air into the interior cavity when the atmosphere was 9 deg. or 10 deg. (52 deg. or 54 deg.) above zero. The air confined in the cavity being in that case specifically heavier than the external air, escapes downwards through the pipe x y, Fig. 3, and is replaced by the warmer external air, which, giving out its caloric to the ice, becomes heavier, and sinks in its turn; thus a current of air is formed through the machine, which is the more rapid in proportion as the external air exceeds the internal in temperature. This current of warm air must melt a part of the ice, and injure the accuracy of the experiment: We may, in a great degree, guard against this source of error by keeping the stop-cock u continually shut; but it is better to operate only when the temperature of the external air does not exceed 3 deg., or at most 4 deg., (39 deg. to 41 deg.); for we have observed, that, in this case, the melting of the interior ice by the atmospheric air is perfectly insensible; so that we may answer for the accuracy of our experiments upon the specific heat of bodies to a fortieth part.

We have caused make two of the above described machines; one, which is intended for such experiments as do not require the interior air to be renewed, is precisely formed according to the description here given; the other, which answers for experiments upon combustion, respiration, &c. in which fresh quantities of air are indispensibly necessary, differs from the former in having two small tubes in the two lids, by which a current of atmospheric air may be blown into the interior cavity of the machine.

It is extremely easy, with this apparatus, to determine the phenomena which occur in operations where caloric is either disengaged or absorbed. If we wish, for instance, to ascertain the quantity of caloric which is disengaged from a solid body in cooling a certain number of degrees, let its temperature be raised to 80 deg. (212 deg.); it is then placed in the interior cavity f f f f, Fig. 2. and 3. of the calorimeter, and allowed to remain till we are certain that its temperature is reduced to zero (32 deg.); the water produced by melting the ice during its cooling is collected, and carefully weighed; and this weight, divided by the volume of the body submitted to experiment, multiplied into the degrees of temperature which it had above zero at the commencement of the experiment, gives the proportion of what the English philosophers call specific heat.

Fluids are contained in proper vessels, whose specific heat has been previously ascertained, and operated upon in the machine in the same manner as directed for solids, taking care to deduct, from the quantity of water melted during the experiment, the proportion which belongs to the containing vessel.

If the quantity of caloric disengaged during the combination of different substances is to be determined, these substances are to be previously reduced to the freezing degree by keeping them a sufficient time surrounded with pounded ice; the mixture is then to be made in the inner cavity of the calorimeter, in a proper vessel likewise reduced to zero (32 deg.); and they are kept inclosed till the temperature of the combination has returned to the same degree: The quantity of water produced is a measure of the caloric disengaged during the combination.

To determine the quantity of caloric disengaged during combustion, and during animal respiration, the combustible bodies are burnt, or the animals are made to breathe in the interior cavity, and the water produced is carefully collected. Guinea pigs, which resist the effects of cold extremely well, are well adapted for this experiment. As the continual renewal of air is absolutely necessary in such experiments, we blow fresh air into the interior cavity of the calorimeter by means of a pipe destined for that purpose, and allow it to escape through another pipe of the same kind; and that the heat of this air may not produce errors in the results of the experiments, the tube which conveys it into the machine is made to pass through pounded ice, that it may be reduced to zero (32 deg.) before it arrives at the calorimeter. The air which escapes must likewise be made to pass through a tube surrounded with ice, included in the interior cavity of the machine, and the water which is produced must make a part of what is collected, because the caloric disengaged from this air is part of the product of the experiment.

It is somewhat more difficult to determine the specific caloric contained in the different gasses, on account of their small degree of density; for, if they are only placed in the calorimeter in vessels like other fluids, the quantity of ice melted is so small, that the result of the experiment becomes at best very uncertain. For this species of experiment we have contrived to make the air pass through two metallic worms, or spiral tubes; one of these, through which the air passes, and becomes heated in its way to the calorimeter, is contained in a vessel full of boiling water, and the other, through which the air circulates within the calorimeter to disengage its caloric, is placed in the interior cavity, f f f f, of that machine. By means of a small thermometer placed at one end of the second worm, the temperature of the air, as it enters the calorimeter, is determined, and its temperature in getting out of the interior cavity is found by another thermometer placed at the other end of the worm. By this contrivance we are enabled to ascertain the quantity of ice melted by determinate quantities of air or gas, while losing a certain number of degrees of temperature, and, consequently, to determine their several degrees of specific caloric. The same apparatus, with some particular precautions, may be employed to ascertain the quantity of caloric disengaged by the condensation of the vapours of different liquids.

The various experiments which may be made with the calorimeter do not afford absolute conclusions, but only give us the measure of relative quantities; we have therefore to fix a unit, or standard point, from whence to form a scale of the several results. The quantity of caloric necessary to melt a pound of ice has been chosen as this unit; and, as it requires a pound of water of the temperature of 60 deg. (167 deg.) to melt a pound of ice, the quantity of caloric expressed by our unit or standard point is what raises a pound of water from zero (32 deg.) to 60 deg. (167 deg.). When this unit is once determined, we have only to express the quantities of caloric disengaged from different bodies by cooling a certain number of degrees, in analogous values: The following is an easy mode of calculation for this purpose, applied to one of our earliest experiments.

We took 7 lib. 11 oz. 2 gros 36 grs. of plate-iron, cut into narrow slips, and rolled up, or expressing the quantity in decimals, 7.7070319. These, being heated in a bath of boiling water to about 78 deg. (207.5 deg.), were quickly introduced into the interior cavity of the calorimeter: At the end of eleven hours, when the whole quantity of water melted from the ice had thoroughly drained off, we found that 1.109795 pounds of ice were melted. Hence, the caloric disengaged from the iron by cooling 78 deg. (175.5 deg.) having melted 1.109795 pounds of ice, how much would have been melted by cooling 60 deg. (135 deg.)? This question gives the following statement in direct proportion, 78 : 1.109795 :: 60 : x = 0.85369. Dividing this quantity by the weight of the whole iron employed, viz. 7.7070319, the quotient 0.110770 is the quantity of ice which would have been melted by one pound of iron whilst cooling through 60 deg. (135 deg.) of temperature.

Fluid substances, such as sulphuric and nitric acids, &c. are contained in a matras, Pl. VI. Fig. 9. having a thermometer adapted to the cork, with its bulb immersed in the liquid. The matras is placed in a bath of boiling water, and when, from the thermometer, we judge the liquid is raised to a proper temperature, the matras is placed in the calorimeter. The calculation of the products, to determine the specific caloric of these fluids, is made as above directed, taking care to deduct from the water obtained the quantity which would have been produced by the matras alone, which must be ascertained by a previous experiment. The table of the results obtained by these experiments is omitted, because not yet sufficiently complete, different circumstances having occasioned the series to be interrupted; it is not, however, lost sight of; and we are less or more employed upon the subject every winter.

CHAP. IV.

Of Mechanical Operations for Division of Bodies.

SECT. I.

Of Trituration, Levigation, and Pulverization.

These are, properly speaking, only preliminary mechanical operations for dividing and separating the particles of bodies, and reducing them into very fine powder. These operations can never reduce substances into their primary, or elementary and ultimate particles; they do not even destroy the aggregation of bodies; for every particle, after the most accurate trituration, forms a small whole, resembling the original mass from which it was divided. The real chemical operations, on the contrary, such as solution, destroy the aggregation of bodies, and separate their constituent and integrant particles from each other.

Brittle substances are reduced to powder by means of pestles and mortars. These are of brass or iron, Pl. I. Fig. 1.; of marble or granite, Fig. 2.; of lignum vitae, Fig. 3.; of glass, Fig. 4.; of agate, Fig. 5.; or of porcellain, Fig. 6. The pestles for each of these are represented in the plate, immediately below the mortars to which they respectively belong, and are made of hammered iron or brass, of wood, glass, porcellain, marble, granite, or agate, according to the nature of the substances they are intended to triturate. In every laboratory, it is requisite to have an assortment of these utensils, of various sizes and kinds: Those of porcellain and glass can only be used for rubbing substances to powder, by a dexterous use of the pestle round the sides of the mortar, as it would be easily broken by reiterated blows of the pestle.

The bottom of mortars ought to be in the form of a hollow sphere, and their sides should have such a degree of inclination as to make the substances they contain fall back to the bottom when the pestle is lifted, but not so perpendicular as to collect them too much together, otherwise too large a quantity would get below the pestle, and prevent its operation. For this reason, likewise, too large a quantity of the substance to be powdered ought not to be put into the mortar at one time; and we must from time to time get rid of the particles already reduced to powder, by means of sieves to be afterwards described.

The most usual method of levigation is by means of a flat table ABCD, Pl. 1. Fig. 7. of porphyry, or other stone of similar hardness, upon which the substance to be reduced to powder is spread, and is then bruised and rubbed by a muller M, of the same hard materials, the bottom of which is made a small portion of a large sphere; and, as the muller tends continually to drive the substances towards the sides of the table, a thin flexible knife, or spatula of iron, horn, wood, or ivory, is used for bringing them back to the middle of the stone.

In large works, this operation is performed by means of large rollers of hard stone, which turn upon each other, either horizontally, in the way of corn-mills, or by one vertical roller turning upon a flat stone. In the above operations, it is often requisite to moisten the substances a little, to prevent the fine powder from flying off.

There are many bodies which cannot be reduced to powder by any of the foregoing methods; such are fibrous substances, as woods; such as are tough and elastic, as the horns of animals, elastic gum, &c. and the malleable metals which flatten under the pestle, instead of being reduced to powder. For reducing the woods to powder, rasps, as Pl. I. Fig. 8. are employed; files of a finer kind are used for horn, and still finer, Pl. 1. Fig. 9. and 10. for metals.

Some of the metals, though not brittle enough to powder under the pestle, are too soft to be filed, as they clog the file, and prevent its operation. Zinc is one of these, but it may be powdered when hot in a heated iron mortar, or it may be rendered brittle, by alloying it with a small quantity of mercury. One or other of these methods is used by fire-work makers for producing a blue flame by means of zinc. Metals may be reduced into grains, by pouring them when melted into water, which serves very well when they are not wanted in fine powder.

Fruits, potatoes, &c. of a pulpy and fibrous nature may be reduced to pulp by means of the grater, Pl. 1. Fig. 11.

The choice of the different substances of which these instruments are made is a matter of importance; brass or copper are unfit for operations upon substances to be used as food or in pharmacy; and marble or metallic instruments must not be used for acid substances; hence mortars of very hard wood, and those of porcelain, granite, or glass, are of great utility in many operations.

SECT. II.

Of Sifting and Washing Powdered Substances.

None of the mechanical operations employed for reducing bodies to powder is capable of producing it of an equal degree of fineness throughout; the powder obtained by the longest and most accurate trituration being still an assemblage of particles of various sizes. The coarser of these are removed, so as only to leave the finer and more homogeneous particles by means of sieves, Pl. I. Fig. 12. 13. 14. 15. of different finenesses, adapted to the particular purposes they are intended for; all the powdered matter which is larger than the intestices of the sieve remains behind, and is again submitted to the pestle, while the finer pass through. The sieve Fig. 12. is made of hair-cloth, or of silk gauze; and the one represented Fig. 13. is of parchment pierced with round holes of a proper size; this latter is employed in the manufacture of gun-powder. When very subtile or valuable materials are to be sifted, which are easily dispersed, or when the finer parts of the powder may be hurtful, a compound sieve, Fig. 15. is made use of, which consists of the sieve ABCD, with a lid EF, and receiver GH; these three parts are represented as joined together for use, Fig. 14.

There is a method of procuring powders of an uniform fineness, considerably more accurate than the sieve; but it can only be used with such substances as are not acted upon by water. The powdered substance is mixed and agitated with water, or other convenient fluid; the liquor is allowed to settle for a few moments, and is then decanted off; the coarsest powder remains at the bottom of the vessel, and the finer passes over with the liquid. By repeated decantations in this manner, various sediments are obtained of different degrees of fineness; the last sediment, or that which remains longed suspended in the liquor, being the finest. This process may likewise be used with advantage for separating substances of different degrees of specific gravity, though of the same fineness; this last is chiefly employed in mining, for separating the heavier metallic ores from the lighter earthy matters with which they are mixed.

In chemical laboratories, pans and jugs of glass or earthen ware are employed for this operation; sometimes, for decanting the liquor without disturbing the sediment, the glass syphon ABCHI, Pl. II. Fig. 11. is used, which may be supported by means of the perforated board DE, at the proper depth in the vessel FG, to draw off all the liquor required into the receiver LM. The principles and application of this useful instrument are so well known as to need no explanation.

SECT. III.

Of Filtration.

A filtre is a species of very fine sieve, which is permeable to the particles of fluids, but through which the particles of the finest powdered solids are incapable of passing; hence its use in separating fine powders from suspension in fluids. In pharmacy, very close and fine woollen cloths are chiefly used for this operation; these are commonly formed in a conical shape, Pl. II. Fig. 2. which has the advantage of uniting all the liquor which drains through into a point A, where it may be readily collected in a narrow mouthed vessel. In large pharmaceutical laboratories, this filtring bag is streached upon a wooden stand, Pl. II. Fig. 1.

For the purposes of chemistry, as it is requisite to have the filtres perfectly clean, unsized paper is substituted instead of cloth or flannel; through this substance, no solid body, however finely it be powdered, can penetrate, and fluids percolate through it with the greatest readiness. As paper breaks easily when wet, various methods of supporting it are used according to circumstances. When a large quantity of fluid is to be filtrated, the paper is supported by the frame of wood, Pl. II. Fig. 3. ABCD, having a piece of coarse cloth stretched over it, by means of iron-hooks. This cloth must be well cleaned each time it is used, or even new cloth must be employed, if there is reason to suspect its being impregnated with any thing which can injure the subsequent operations. In ordinary operations, where moderate quantities of fluid are to be filtrated, different kinds of glass funnels are used for supporting the paper, as represented Pl. II. Fig. 5. 6. and 7. When several filtrations must be carried on at once, the board or shelf AB, Fig. 9. supported upon stands C and D, and pierced with round holes, is very convenient for containing the funnels.

Some liquors are so thick and clammy, as not to be able to penetrate through paper without some previous preparation, such as clarification by means of white of eggs, which being mixed with the liquor, coagulates when brought to boil, and, entangling the greater part of the impurities of the liquor, rises with them to the surface in the state of scum. Spiritous liquors may be clarified in the same manner by means of isinglass dissolved in water, which coagulates by the action of the alkohol without the assistance of heat.

As most of the acids are produced by distillation, and are consequently clear, we have rarely any occasion to filtrate them; but if, at any time, concentrated acids require this operation, it is impossible to employ paper, which would be corroded and destroyed by the acid. For this purpose, pounded glass, or rather quartz or rock-cristal, broke in pieces and grossly powdered, answers very well; a few of the larger pieces are put in the neck of the funnel; these are covered with the smaller pieces, the finer powder is placed over all, and the acid is poured on at top. For the ordinary purposes of society, river-water is frequently filtrated by means of clean washed sand, to separate its impurities.

SECT. IV.

Of Decantation.

This operation is often substituted instead of filtration for separating solid particles which are diffused through liquors. These are allowed to settle in conical vessels, ABCDE, Pl. II. Fig. 10. the diffused matters gradually subside, and the clear fluid is gently poured off. If the sediment be extremely light, and apt to mix again with the fluid by the slightest motion, the syphon, Fig. 11. is used, instead of decantation, for drawing off the clear fluid.

In experiments, where the weight of the precipitate must be rigorously ascertained, decantation is preferable to filtration, providing the precipitate be several times washed in a considerable proportion of water. The weight of the precipitate may indeed be ascertained, by carefully weighing the filtre before and after the operation; but, when the quantity of precipitate is small, the different proportions of moisture retained by the paper, in a greater or lesser degree of exsiccation, may prove a material source of error, which ought carefully to be guarded against.

CHAP. V.

Of Chemical Means for separating the Particles of Bodies from each other; without Decomposition, and for uniting them again.

I have already shown that there are two methods of dividing the particles of bodies, the mechanical and chemical. The former only separates a solid mass into a great number of smaller masses; and for these purposes various species of forces are employed, according to circumstances, such as the strength of man or of animals, the weight of water applied through the means of hydraulic engines, the expansive power of steam, the force of the wind, &c. By all these mechanical powers, we can never reduce substances into powder beyond a certain degree of fineness; and the smallest particle produced in this way, though it seems very minute to our organs, is still in fact a mountain, when compared with the ultimate elementary particles of the pulverized substance.

The chemical agents, on the contrary, divide bodies into their primitive particles. If, for instance, a neutral salt be acted upon by these, it is divided, as far as is possible, without ceasing to be a neutral salt. In this Chapter, I mean to give examples of this kind of division of bodies, to which I shall add some account of the relative operations.

SECT. I.

Of the Solution of Salts.

In chemical language, the terms of solution and dissolution have long been confounded, and have very improperly been indiscriminately employed for expressing both the division of the particles of a salt in a fluid, such as water, and the division of a metal in an acid. A few reflections upon the effects of these two operations will suffice to show that they ought not to be confounded together. In the solution of salts, the saline particles are only separated from each other, whilst neither the salt nor the water are at all decomposed; we are able to recover both the one and the other in the same quantity as before the operation. The same thing takes place in the solution of resins in alkohol. During metallic dissolutions, on the contrary, a decomposition, either of the acid, or of the water which dilutes it, always takes place; the metal combines with oxygen, and is changed into an oxyd, and a gasseous substance is disengaged; so that in reality none of the substances employed remain, after the operation, in the same state they were in before. This article is entirely confined to the consideration of solution.

To understand properly what takes place during the solution of salts, it is necessary to know, that, in most of these operations, two distinct effects are complicated together, viz. solution by water, and solution by caloric; and, as the explanation of most of the phenomena of solution depends upon the distinction of these two circumstances, I shall enlarge a little upon their nature.

Nitrat of potash, usually called nitre or saltpetre, contains very little water of cristallization, perhaps even none at all; yet this salt liquifies in a degree of heat very little superior to that of boiling water. This liquifaction cannot therefore be produced by means of the water of cristallization, but in consequence of the salt being very fusible in its nature, and from its passing from the solid to the liquid state of aggregation, when but a little raised above the temperature of boiling water. All salts are in this manner susceptible of being liquified by caloric, but in higher or lower degrees of temperature. Some of these, as the acetites of potash and soda, liquify with a very moderate heat, whilst others, as sulphat of potash, lime, &c. require the strongest fires we are capable of producing. This liquifaction of salts by caloric produces exactly the same phenomena with the melting of ice; it is accomplished in each salt by a determinate degree of heat, which remains invariably the same during the whole time of the liquifaction. Caloric is employed, and becomes fixed during the melting of the salt, and is, on the contrary, disengaged when the salt coagulates. These are general phenomena which universally occur during the passage of every species of substance from the solid to the fluid state of aggregation, and from fluid to solid.

These phenomena arising from solution by caloric are always less or more conjoined with those which take place during solutions in water. We cannot pour water upon a salt, on purpose to dissolve it, without employing a compound solvent, both water and caloric; hence we may distinguish several different cases of solution, according to the nature and mode of existence of each salt. If, for instance, a salt be difficultly soluble in water, and readily so by caloric, it evidently follows, that this salt will be difficultly soluble in cold water, and considerably in hot water; such is nitrat of potash, and more especially oxygenated muriat of potash. If another salt be little soluble both in water and caloric, the difference of its solubility in cold and warm water will be very inconsiderable; sulphat of lime is of this kind. From these considerations, it follows, that there is a necessary relation between the following circumstances; the solubility of a salt in cold water, its solubility in boiling water, and the degree of temperature at which the same salt liquifies by caloric, unassisted by water; and that the difference of solubility in hot and cold water is so much greater in proportion to its ready solution in caloric, or in proportion to its susceptibility of liquifying in a low degree of temperature.

The above is a general view of solution; but, for want of particular facts, and sufficiently exact experiments, it is still nothing more than an approximation towards a particular theory. The means of compleating this part of chemical science is extremely simple; we have only to ascertain how much of each salt is dissolved by a certain quantity of water at different degrees of temperature; and as, by the experiments published by Mr de la Place and me, the quantity of caloric contained in a pound of water at each degree of the thermometer is accurately known, it will be very easy to determine, by simple experiments, the proportion of water and caloric required for solution by each salt, what quantity of caloric is absorbed by each at the moment of liquifaction, and how much is disengaged at the moment of cristallization. Hence the reason why salts are more rapidly soluble in hot than in cold water is perfectly evident. In all solutions of salts caloric is employed; when that is furnished intermediately from the surrounding bodies, it can only arrive slowly to the salt; whereas this is greatly accelerated when the requisite caloric exists ready combined with the water of solution.

In general, the specific gravity of water is augmented by holding salts in solution; but there are some exceptions to the rule. Some time hence, the quantities of radical, of oxygen, and of base, which constitute each neutral salt, the quantity of water and caloric necessary for solution, the increased specific gravity communicated to water, and the figure of the elementary particles of the cristals, will all be accurately known. From these all the circumstances and phenomena of cristallization will be explained, and by these means this part of chemistry will be compleated. Mr Seguin has formed the plan of a thorough investigation of this kind, which he is extremely capable of executing.

The solution of salts in water requires no particular apparatus; small glass phials of different sizes, Pl. II. Fig. 16. and 17. pans of earthern ware, A, Fig. 1. and 2. long-necked matrasses, Fig. 14. and pans or basons of copper or of silver, Fig. 13. and 15. answer very well for these operations.

SECT. II.

Of Lixiviation.

This is an operation used in chemistry and manufactures for separating substances which are soluble in water from such as are insoluble. The large vat or tub, Pl. II. Fig. 12. having a hole D near its bottom, containing a wooden spiget and fosset or metallic stop-cock DE, is generally used for this purpose. A thin stratum of straw is placed at the bottom of the tub; over this, the substance to be lixiviated is laid and covered by a cloth, then hot or cold water, according to the degree of solubility of the saline matter, is poured on. When the water is supposed to have dissolved all the saline parts, it is let off by the stop-cock; and, as some of the water charged with salt necessarily adheres to the straw and insoluble matters, several fresh quantities of water are poured on. The straw serves to secure a proper passage for the water, and may be compared to the straws or glass rods used in filtrating, to keep the paper from touching the sides of the funnel. The cloth which is laid over the matters under lixiviation prevents the water from making a hollow in these substances where it is poured on, through which it might escape without acting upon the whole mass.

This operation is less or more imitated in chemical experiments; but as in these, especially with analytical views, greater exactness is required, particular precautions must be employed, so as not to leave any saline or soluble part in the residuum. More water must be employed than in ordinary lixiviations, and the substances ought to be previously stirred up in the water before the clear liquor is drawn off, otherwise the whole mass might not be equally lixiviated, and some parts might even escape altogether from the action of the water. We must likewise employ fresh portions of water in considerable quantity, until it comes off entirely free from salt, which we may ascertain by means of the hydrometer formerly described.

In experiments with small quantities, this operation is conveniently performed in jugs or matrasses of glass, and by filtrating the liquor through paper in a glass funnel. When the substance is in larger quantity, it may be lixiviated in a kettle of boiling water, and filtrated through paper supported by cloth in the wooden frame, Pl. II. Fig. 3. and 4.; and in operations in the large way, the tub already mentioned must be used.

SECT. III.

Of Evaporation.

This operation is used for separating two substances from each other, of which one at least must be fluid, and whose degrees of volatility are considerably different. By this means we obtain a salt, which has been dissolved in water, in its concrete form; the water, by heating, becomes combined with caloric, which renders it volatile, while the particles of the salt being brought nearer to each other, and within the sphere of their mutual attraction, unite into the solid state.

As it was long thought that the air had great influence upon the quantity of fluid evaporated, it will be proper to point out the errors which this opinion has produced. There certainly is a constant slow evaporation from fluids exposed to the free air; and, though this species of evaporation may be considered in some degree as a solution in air, yet caloric has considerable influence in producing it, as is evident from the refrigeration which always accompanies this process; hence we may consider this gradual evaporation as a compound solution made partly in air, and partly in caloric. But the evaporation which takes place from a fluid kept continually boiling, is quite different in its nature, and in it the evaporation produced by the action of the air is exceedingly inconsiderable in comparison with that which is occasioned by caloric. This latter species may be termed vaporization rather than evaporation. This process is not accelerated in proportion to the extent of evaporating surface, but in proportion to the quantities of caloric which combine with the fluid. Too free a current of cold air is often hurtful to this process, as it tends to carry off caloric from the water, and consequently retards its conversion into vapour. Hence there is no inconvenience produced by covering, in a certain degree, the vessels in which liquids are evaporated by continual boiling, provided the covering body be of such a nature as does not strongly draw off the caloric, or, to use an expression of Dr Franklin's, provided it be a bad conductor of heat. In this case, the vapours escape through such opening as is left, and at least as much is evaporated, frequently more than when free access is allowed to the external air.

As during evaporation the fluid carried off by caloric is entirely lost, being sacrificed for the sake of the fixed substances with which it was combined, this process is only employed where the fluid is of small value, as water, for instance. But, when the fluid is of more consequence, we have recourse to distillation, in which process we preserve both the fixed substance and the volatile fluid. The vessels employed for evaporation are basons or pans of copper, silver, or lead, Pl. II. Fig. 13. and 15. or capsules of glass, porcellain, or stone ware, Pl. II. A, Fig. 1. and 2. Pl. III. Fig. 3 and 4. The best utensils for this purpose are made of the bottoms of glass retorts and matrasses, as their equal thinness renders them more fit than any other kind of glass vessel for bearing a brisk fire and sudden alterations of heat and cold without breaking.

As the method of cutting these glass vessels is no where described in books, I shall here give a description of it, that they may be made by chemists for themselves out of spoiled retorts, matrasses, and recipients, at a much cheaper rate than any which can be procured from glass manufacturers. The instrument, Pl. III. Fig. 5. consisting of an iron ring AC, fixed to the rod AB, having a wooden handle D, is employed as follows: Make the ring red hot in the fire, and put it upon the matrass G, Fig. 6. which is to be cut; when the glass is sufficiently heated, throw on a little cold water, and it will generally break exactly at the circular line heated by the ring.

Small flasks or phials of thin glass are exceeding good vessels for evaporating small quantities of fluid; they are very cheap, and stand the fire remarkably. One or more of these may be placed upon a second grate above the furnace, Pl. III. Fig. 2. where they will only experience a gentle heat. By this means a great number of experiments may be carried on at one time. A glass retort, placed in a sand bath, and covered with a dome of baked earth, Pl. III. Fig. 1. answers pretty well for evaporations; but in this way it is always considerably slower, and is even liable to accidents; as the sand heats unequally, and the glass cannot dilate in the same unequal manner, the retort is very liable to break. Sometimes the sand serves exactly the office of the iron ring formerly mentioned; for, if a single drop of vapour, condensed into liquid, happens to fall upon the heated part of the vessel, it breaks circularly at that place. When a very intense fire is necessary, earthen crucibles may be used; but we generally use the word evaporation to express what is produced by the temperature of boiling water, or not much higher.

SECT. IV.

Of Cristallization.

In this process the integrant parts of a solid body, separated from each other by the intervention of a fluid, are made to exert the mutual attraction of aggregation, so as to coalesce and reproduce a solid mass. When the particles of a body are only separated by caloric, and the substance is thereby retained in the liquid state, all that is necessary for making it cristallize, is to remove a part of the caloric which is lodged between its particles, or, in other words, to cool it. If this refrigeration be slow, and the body be at the same time left at rest, its particles assume a regular arrangement, and cristallization, properly so called, takes place; but, if the refrigeration is made rapidly, or if the liquor be agitated at the moment of its passage to the concrete state, the cristallization is irregular and confused.

The same phenomena occur with watery solutions, or rather in those made partly in water, and partly by caloric. So long as there remains a sufficiency of water and caloric to keep the particles of the body asunder beyond the sphere of their mutual attraction, the salt remains in the fluid state; but, whenever either caloric or water is not present in sufficient quantity, and the attraction of the particles for each other becomes superior to the power which keeps them asunder, the salt recovers its concrete form, and the cristals produced are the more regular in proportion as the evaporation has been slower and more tranquilly performed.

All the phenomena we formerly mentioned as taking place during the solution of salts, occur in a contrary sense during their cristallization. Caloric is disengaged at the instant of their assuming the solid state, which furnishes an additional proof of salt being held in solution by the compound action of water and caloric. Hence, to cause salts to cristallize which readily liquify by means of caloric, it is not sufficient to carry off the water which held them in solution, but the caloric united to them must likewise be removed. Nitrat of potash, oxygenated muriat of potash, alum, sulphat of soda, &c. are examples of this circumstance, as, to make these salts cristallize, refrigeration must be added to evaporation. Such salts, on the contrary, as require little caloric for being kept in solution, and which, from that circumstance, are nearly equally soluble in cold and warm water, are cristallizable by simply carrying off the water which holds them in solution, and even recover their solid state in boiling water; such are sulphat of lime, muriat of potash and of soda, and several others.

The art of refining saltpetre depends upon these properties of salts, and upon their different degrees of solubility in hot and cold water. This salt, as produced in the manufactories by the first operation, is composed of many different salts; some are deliquescent, and not susceptible of being cristallized, such as the nitrat and muriat of lime; others are almost equally soluble in hot and cold water, as the muriats of potash and of soda; and, lastly, the saltpetre, or nitrat of potash, is greatly more soluble in hot than it is in cold water. The operation is begun, by pouring upon this mixture of salts as much water as will hold even the least soluble, the muriats of soda and of potash, in solution; so long as it is hot, this quantity readily dissolves all the saltpetre, but, upon cooling, the greater part of this salt cristallizes, leaving about a sixth part remaining dissolved, and mixed with the nitrat of lime and the two muriats. The nitre obtained by this process is still somewhat impregnated with other salts, because it has been cristallized from water in which these abound: It is completely purified from these by a second solution in a small quantity of boiling water, and second cristallization. The water remaining after these cristallizations of nitre is still loaded with a mixture of saltpetre, and other salts; by farther evaporation, crude saltpetre, or rough-petre, as the workmen call it, is procured from it, and this is purified by two fresh solutions and cristallizations.

The deliquescent earthy salts which do not contain the nitric acid are rejected in this manufacture; but those which consist of that acid neutralized by an earthy base are dissolved in water, the earth is precipitated by means of potash, and allowed to subside; the clear liquor is then decanted, evaporated, and allowed to cristallize. The above management for refining saltpetre may serve as a general rule for separating salts from each other which happen to be mixed together. The nature of each must be considered, the proportion in which each dissolves in given quantities of water, and the different solubility of each in hot and cold water. If to these we add the property which some salts possess, of being soluble in alkohol, or in a mixture of alkohol and water, we have many resources for separating salts from each other by means of cristallization, though it must be allowed that it is extremely difficult to render this separation perfectly complete.

The vessels used for cristallization are pans of earthen ware, A, Pl. II. Fig. 1. and 2. and large flat dishes, Pl. III. Fig. 7. When a saline solution is to be exposed to a slow evaporation in the heat of the atmosphere, with free access of air, vessels of some depth, Pl. III. Fig. 3. must be employed, that there may be a considerable body of liquid; by this means the cristals produced are of considerable size, and remarkably regular in their figure.

Every species of salt cristallizes in a peculiar form, and even each salt varies in the form of its cristals according to circumstances, which take place during cristallization. We must not from thence conclude that the saline particles of each species are indeterminate in their figures: The primative particles of all bodies, especially of salts, are perfectly constant in their specific forms; but the cristals which form in our experiments are composed of congeries of minute particles, which, though perfectly equal in size and shape, may assume very dissimilar arrangements, and consequently produce a vast variety of regular forms, which have not the smallest apparent resemblance to each other, nor to the original cristal. This subject has been very ably treated by the Abbe Hauey, in several memoirs presented to the Academy, and in his work upon the structure of cristals: It is only necessary to extend generally to the class of salts the principles he has particularly applied to some cristalized stones.

SECT. V.

Of Simple Distillation.

As distillation has two distinct objects to accomplish, it is divisible into simple and compound; and, in this section, I mean to confine myself entirely to the former. When two bodies, of which one is more volatile than the other, or has more affinity to caloric, are submitted to distillation, our intention is to separate them from each other: The more volatile substance assumes the form of gas, and is afterwards condensed by refrigeration in proper vessels. In this case distillation, like evaporation, becomes a species of mechanical operation, which separates two substances from each other without decomposing or altering the nature of either. In evaporation, our only object is to preserve the fixed body, without paying any regard to the volatile matter; whereas, in distillation, our principal attention is generally paid to the volatile substance, unless when we intend to preserve both the one and the other. Hence, simple distillation is nothing more than evaporation produced in close vessels.

The most simple distilling vessel is a species of bottle or matrass, A, Pl. III. Fig. 8. which has been bent from its original form BC to BD, and which is then called a retort; when used, it is placed either in a reverberatory furnace, Pl. XIII. Fig. 2. or in a sand bath under a dome of baked earth, Pl. III. Fig. 1. To receive and condense the products, we adapt a recipient, E, Pl. III. Fig. 9. which is luted to the retort. Sometimes, more especially in pharmaceutical operations, the glass or stone ware cucurbit, A, with its capital B, Pl. III. Fig. 12, or the glass alembic and capital, Fig. 13. of one piece, is employed. This latter is managed by means of a tubulated opening T, fitted with a ground stopper of cristal; the capital, both of the cucurbit and alembic, has a furrow or trench, r r, intended for conveying the condensed liquor into the beak RS, by which it runs out. As, in almost all distillations, expansive vapours are produced, which might burst the vessels employed, we are under the necessity of having a small hole, T, Fig. 9. in the balloon or recipient, through which these may find vent; hence, in this way of distilling, all the products which are permanently aeriform are entirely lost, and even such as difficultly lose that state have not sufficient space to condense in the balloon: This apparatus is not, therefore, proper for experiments of investigation, and can only be admitted in the ordinary operations of the laboratory or in pharmacy. In the article appropriated for compound distillation, I shall explain the various methods which have been contrived for preserving the whole products from bodies in this process.

As glass or earthen vessels are very brittle, and do not readily bear sudden alterations of heat and cold, every well regulated laboratory ought to have one or more alembics of metal for distilling water, spiritous liquors, essential oils, &c. This apparatus consists of a cucurbit and capital of tinned copper or brass, Pl. III. Fig. 15. and 16. which, when judged proper, may be placed in the water bath, D, Fig. 17. In distillations, especially of spiritous liquors, the capital must be furnished with a refrigetory, SS, Fig. 16. kept continually filled with cold water; when the water becomes heated, it is let off by the stop-cock, R, and renewed with a fresh supply of cold water. As the fluid distilled is converted into gas by means of caloric furnished by the fire of the furnace, it is evident that it could not condense, and, consequently, that no distillation, properly speaking, could take place, unless it is made to deposit in the capital all the caloric it received in the cucurbit; with this view, the sides of the capital must always be preserved at a lower temperature than is necessary for keeping the distilling substance in the state of gas, and the water in the refrigetory is intended for this purpose. Water is converted into gas by the temperature of 80 deg. (212 deg.), alkohol by 67 deg. (182.75 deg.), ether by 32 deg. (104 deg.); hence these substances cannot be distilled, or, rather, they will fly off in the state of gas, unless the temperature of the refrigetory be kept under these respective degrees.

In the distillation of spiritous, and other expansive liquors, the above described refrigetory is not sufficient for condensing all the vapours which arise; in this case, therefore, instead of receiving the distilled liquor immediately from the beak, TU, of the capital into a recipient, a worm is interposed between them. This instrument is represented Pl. III. Fig. 18. contained in a worm tub of tinned copper, it consists of a metallic tube bent into a considerable number of spiral revolutions. The vessel which contains the worm is kept full of cold water, which is renewed as it grows warm. This contrivance is employed in all distilleries of spirits, without the intervention of a capital and refrigetory, properly so called. The one represented in the plate is furnished with two worms, one of them being particularly appropriated to distillations of odoriferous substances.

In some simple distillations it is necessary to interpose an adopter between the retort and receiver, as shown Pl. III. Fig, 11. This may serve two different purposes, either to separate two products of different degrees of volatility, or to remove the receiver to a greater distance from the furnace, that it may be less heated. But these, and several other more complicated instruments of ancient contrivance, are far from producing the accuracy requisite in modern chemistry, as will be readily perceived when I come to treat of compound distillation.

SECT. VI.

Of Sublimation.

This term is applied to the distillation of substances which condense in a concrete or solid form, such as the sublimation of sulphur, and of muriat of ammoniac, or sal ammoniac. These operations may be conveniently performed in the ordinary distilling vessels already described, though, in the sublimation of sulphur, a species of vessels, named Alludels, have been usually employed. These are vessels of stone or porcelain ware, which adjust to each other over a cucurbit containing the sulphur to be sublimed. One of the best subliming vessels, for substances which are not very volatile, is a flask, or phial of glass, sunk about two thirds into a sand bath; but in this way we are apt to lose a part of the products. When these are wished to be entirely preserved, we must have recourse to the pneumato-chemical distilling apparatus, to be described in the following chapter.

CHAP. VI.

Of Pneumato-chemical Distillations, Metallic Dissolutions, and some other operations which require very complicated instruments.

SECT. I.

Of Compound and Pneumato-chemical Distillations.

In the preceding chapter, I have only treated of distillation as a simple operation, by which two substances, differing in degrees of volatility, may be separated from each other; but distillation often actually decomposes the substances submitted to its action, and becomes one of the most complicated operations in chemistry. In every distillation, the substance distilled must be brought to the state of gas, in the cucurbit or retort, by combination with caloric: In simple distillation, this caloric is given out in the refrigeratory or in the worm, and the substance again recovers its liquid or solid form, but the substances submitted to compound distillation are absolutely decompounded; one part, as for instance the charcoal they contain, remains fixed in the retort, and all the rest of the elements are reduced to gasses of different kinds. Some of these are susceptible of being condensed, and of recovering their solid or liquid forms, whilst others are permanently aeriform; one part of these are absorbable by water, some by the alkalies, and others are not susceptible of being absorbed at all. An ordinary distilling apparatus, such as has been described in the preceding chapter, is quite insufficient for retaining or for separating these diversified products, and we are obliged to have recourse, for this purpose, to methods of a more complicated nature.

The apparatus I am about to describe is calculated for the most complicated distillations, and may be simplified according to circumstances. It consists of a tubulated glass retort A, Pl. IV. Fig. 1. having its beak fitted to a tubulated balloon or recipient BC; to the upper orifice D of the balloon a bent tube DEfg is adjusted, which, at its other extremity g, is plunged into the liquor contained in the bottle L, with three necks xxx. Three other similar bottles are connected with this first one, by means of three similar bent tubes disposed in the same manner; and the farthest neck of the last bottle is connected with a jar in a pneumato-chemical apparatus, by means of a bent tube[60]. A determinate weight of distilled water is usually put into the first bottle, and the other three have each a solution of caustic potash in water. The weight of all these bottles, and of the water and alkaline solution they contain, must be accurately ascertained. Every thing being thus disposed, the junctures between the retort and recipient, and of the tube D of the latter, must be luted with fat lute, covered over with slips of linen, spread with lime and white of egg; all the other junctures are to be secured by a lute made of wax and rosin melted together.

When all these dispositions are completed, and when, by means of heat applied to the retort A, the substance it contains becomes decomposed, it is evident that the least volatile products must condense or sublime in the beak or neck of the retort itself, where most of the concrete substances will fix themselves. The more volatile substances, as the lighter oils, ammoniac, and several others, will condense in the recipient GC, whilst the gasses, which are not susceptible of condensation by cold, will pass on by the tubes, and boil up through the liquors in the several bottles. Such as are absorbable by water will remain in the first bottle, and those which caustic alkali can absorb will remain in the others; whilst such gasses as are not susceptible of absorption, either by water or alkalies, will escape by the tube RM, at the end of which they may be received into jars in a pneumato-chemical apparatus. The charcoal and fixed earth, &c. which form the substance or residuum, anciently called caput mortuum, remain behind in the retort.

In this manner of operating, we have always a very material proof of the accuracy of the analysis, as the whole weights of the products taken together, after the process is finished, must be exactly equal to the weight of the original substance submitted to distillation. Hence, for instance, if we have operated upon eight ounces of starch or gum arabic, the weight of the charry residuum in the retort, together with that of all the products gathered in its neck and the balloon, and of all the gas received into the jars by the tube RM added to the additional weight acquired by the bottles, must, when taken together, be exactly eight ounces. If the product be less or more, it proceeds from error, and the experiment must be repeated until a satisfactory result be procured, which ought not to differ more than six or eight grains in the pound from the weight of the substance submitted to experiment.

In experiments of this kind, I for a long time met with an almost insurmountable difficulty, which must at last have obliged me to desist altogether, but for a very simple method of avoiding it, pointed out to me by Mr Hassenfratz. The smallest diminution in the heat of the furnace, and many other circumstances inseparable from this kind of experiments, cause frequent reabsorptions of gas; the water in the cistern of the pneumato-chemical apparatus rushes into the last bottle through the tube RM, the same circumstance happens from one bottle into another, and the fluid is often forced even into the recipient C. This accident is prevented by using bottles having three necks, as represented in the plate, into one of which, in each bottle, a capillary glass-tube St, st, st, st, is adapted, so as to have its lower extremity t immersed in the liquor. If any absorption takes place, either in the retort, or in any of the bottles, a sufficient quantity of external air enters, by means of these tubes, to fill up the void; and we get rid of the inconvenience at the price of having a small mixture of common air with the products of the experiment, which is thereby prevented from failing altogether. Though these tubes admit the external air, they cannot permit any of the gasseous substances to escape, as they are always shut below by the water of the bottles.

It is evident that, in the course of experiments with this apparatus, the liquor of the bottles must rise in these tubes in proportion to the pressure sustained by the gas or air contained in the bottles; and this pressure is determined by the height and gravity of the column of fluid contained in all the subsequent bottles. If we suppose that each bottle contains three inches of fluid, and that there are three inches of water in the cistern of the connected apparatus above the orifice of the tube RM, and allowing the gravity of the fluids to be only equal to that of water, it follows that the air in the first bottle must sustain a pressure equal to twelve inches of water; the water must therefore rise twelve inches in the tube S, connected with the first bottle, nine inches in that belonging to the second, six inches in the third, and three in the last; wherefore these tubes must be made somewhat more than twelve, nine, six, and three inches long respectively, allowance being made for oscillatory motions, which often take place in the liquids. It is sometimes necessary to introduce a similar tube between the retort and recipient; and, as the tube is not immersed in fluid at its lower extremity, until some has collected in the progress of the distillation, its upper end must be shut at first with a little lute, so as to be opened according to necessity, or after there is sufficient liquid in the recipient to secure its lower extremity.

This apparatus cannot be used in very accurate experiments, when the substances intended to be operated upon have a very rapid action upon each other, or when one of them can only be introduced in small successive portions, as in such as produce violent effervescence when mixed together. In such cases, we employ a tubulated retort A, Pl. VII. Fig. 1. into which one of the substances is introduced, preferring always the solid body, if any such is to be treated, we then lute to the opening of the retort a bent tube BCDA, terminating at its upper extremity B in a funnel, and at its other end A in a capillary opening. The fluid material of the experiment is poured into the retort by means of this funnel, which must be made of such a length, from B to C, that the column of liquid introduced may counterbalance the resistance produced by the liquors contained in all the bottles, Pl. IV. Fig. 1.

Those who have not been accustomed to use the above described distilling apparatus may perhaps be startled at the great number of openings which require luting, and the time necessary for making all the previous preparations in experiments of this kind. It is very true that, if we take into account all the necessary weighings of materials and products, both before and after the experiments, these preparatory and succeeding steps require much more time and attention than the experiment itself. But, when the experiment succeeds properly, we are well rewarded for all the time and trouble bestowed, as by one process carried on in this accurate manner much more just and extensive knowledge is acquired of the nature of the vegetable or animal substance thus submitted to investigation, than by many weeks assiduous labour in the ordinary method of proceeding.

When in want of bottles with three orifices, those with two may be used; it is even possible to introduce all the three tubes at one opening, so as to employ ordinary wide-mouthed bottles, provided the opening be sufficiently large. In this case we must carefully fit the bottles with corks very accurately cut, and boiled in a mixture of oil, wax, and turpentine. These corks are pierced with the necessary holes for receiving the tubes by means of a round file, as in Pl. IV. Fig. 8.

SECT. II.

Of Metallic Dissolutions.

I have already pointed out the difference between solution of salts in water and metallic dissolutions. The former requires no particular vessels, whereas the latter requires very complicated vessels of late invention, that we may not lose any of the products of the experiment, and may thereby procure truly conclusive results of the phenomena which occur. The metals, in general, dissolve in acids with effervescence, which is only a motion excited in the solvent by the disengagement of a great number of bubbles of air or aeriform fluid, which proceed from the surface of the metal, and break at the surface of the liquid.

Mr Cavendish and Dr Priestley were the first inventors of a proper apparatus for collecting these elastic fluids. That of Dr Priestley is extremely simple, and consists of a bottle A, Pl. VII. Fig. 2. with its cork B, through which passes the bent glass tube BC, which is engaged under a jar filled with water in the pneumato-chemical apparatus, or simply in a bason full of water. The metal is first introduced into the bottle, the acid is then poured over it, and the bottle is instantly closed with its cork and tube, as represented in the plate. But this apparatus has its inconveniencies. When the acid is much concentrated, or the metal much divided, the effervescence begins before we have time to cork the bottle properly, and some gas escapes, by which we are prevented from ascertaining the quantity disengaged with rigorous exactness. In the next place, when we are obliged to employ heat, or when heat is produced by the process, a part of the acid distills, and mixes with the water of the pneumato-chemical apparatus, by which means we are deceived in our calculation of the quantity of acid decomposed. Besides these, the water in the cistern of the apparatus absorbs all the gas produced which is susceptible of absorption, and renders it impossible to collect these without loss.

To remedy these inconveniencies, I at first used a bottle with two necks, Pl. VII. Fig. 3. into one of which the glass funnel BC is luted so as to prevent any air escaping; a glass rod DE is fitted with emery to the funnel, so as to serve the purpose of a stopper. When it is used, the matter to be dissolved is first introduced into the bottle, and the acid is then permitted to pass in as slowly as we please, by raising the glass rod gently as often as is necessary until saturation is produced.

Another method has been since employed, which serves the same purpose, and is preferable to the last described in some instances. This consists in adapting to one of the mouths of the bottle A, Pl. VII. Fig. 4. a bent tube DEFG, having a capillary opening at D, and ending in a funnel at G. This tube is securely luted to the mouth C of the bottle. When any liquid is poured into the funnel, it falls down to F; and, if a sufficient quantity be added, it passes by the curvature E, and falls slowly into the bottle, so long as fresh liquor is supplied at the funnel. The liquor can never be forced out of the tube, and no gas can escape through it, because the weight of the liquid serves the purpose of an accurate cork.

To prevent any distillation of acid, especially in dissolutions accompanied with heat, this tube is adapted to the retort A, Pl. VII. Fig. 1. and a small tubulated recipient, M, is applied, in which any liquor which may distill is condensed. On purpose to separate any gas that is absorbable by water, we add the double necked bottle L, half filled with a solution of caustic potash; the alkali absorbs any carbonic acid gas, and usually only one or two other gasses pass into the jar of the connected pneumato-chemical apparatus through the tube NO. In the first chapter of this third part we have directed how these are to be separated and examined. If one bottle of alkaline solution be not thought sufficient, two, three, or more, may be added.

SECT. III.

Apparatus necessary in Experiments upon Vinous and Putrefactive Fermentations.

For these operations a peculiar apparatus, especially intended for this kind of experiment, is requisite. The one I am about to describe is finally adopted, as the best calculated for the purpose, after numerous corrections and improvements. It consists of a large matrass, A, Pl. X. fig. 1. holding about twelve pints, with a cap of brass a b, strongly cemented to its mouth, and into which is screwed a bent tube c d, furnished with a stop-cock e. To this tube is joined the glass recipient B, having three openings, one of which communicates with the bottle C, placed below it. To the posterior opening of this recipient is fitted a glass tube g h i, cemented at g and i to collets of brass, and intended to contain a very deliquescent concrete neutral salt, such as nitrat or muriat of lime, acetite of potash, &c. This tube communicates with two bottles D and E, filled to x and y with a solution of caustic potash.

All the parts of this machine are joined together by accurate screws, and the touching parts have greased leather interposed, to prevent any passage of air. Each piece is likewise furnished with two stop-cocks, by which its two extremities may be closed, so that we can weigh each separately at any period of the operation.

The fermentable matter, such as sugar, with a proper quantity of yeast, and diluted with water, is put into the matrass. Sometimes, when the fermentation is too rapid, a considerable quantity of froth is produced, which not only fills the neck of the matrass, but passes into the recipient, and from thence runs down into the bottle C. On purpose to collect this scum and must, and to prevent it from reaching the tube filled with deliquescent salts, the recipient and connected bottle are made of considerable capacity.

In the vinous fermentation, only carbonic acid gas is disengaged, carrying with it a small proportion of water in solution. A great part of this water is deposited in passing through the tube g h i, which is filled with a deliquescent salt in gross powder, and the quantity is ascertained by the augmentation of the weight of the salt. The carbonic acid gas bubbles up through the alkaline solution in the bottle D, to which it is conveyed by the tube k l m. Any small portion which may not be absorbed by this first bottle is secured by the solution in the second bottle E, so that nothing, in general, passes into the jar F, except the common air contained in the vessels at the commencement of the experiment.

The same apparatus answers extremely well for experiments upon the putrefactive fermentation; but, in this case, a considerable quantity of hydrogen gas is disengaged through the tube q r s t u, by which it is conveyed into the jar F; and, as this disengagement is very rapid, especially in summer, the jar must be frequently changed. These putrefactive fermentations require constant attendance from the above circumstance, whereas the vinous fermentation hardly needs any. By means of this apparatus we can ascertain, with great precision, the weights of the substances submitted to fermentation, and of the liquid and aeriform products which are disengaged. What has been already said in Part I. Chap. XIII. upon the products of the vinous fermentation, may be consulted.

SECT. IV.

Apparatus for the Decomposition of Water.

Having already given an account, in the first part of this work, of the experiments relative to the decomposition of water, I shall avoid any unnecessary repetitions, and only give a few summary observations upon the subject in this section. The principal substances which have the power of decomposing water are iron and charcoal; for which purpose, they require to be made red hot, otherwise the water is only reduced into vapours, and condenses afterwards by refrigeration, without sustaining the smallest alteration. In a red heat, on the contrary, iron or charcoal carry off the oxygen from its union with hydrogen; in the first case, black oxyd of iron is produced, and the hydrogen is disengaged pure in form of gas; in the other case, carbonic acid gas is formed, which disengages, mixed with the hydrogen gas; and this latter is commonly carbonated, or holds charcoal in solution.

A musket barrel, without its breach pin, answers exceedingly well for the decomposition of water, by means of iron, and one should be chosen of considerable length, and pretty strong. When too short, so as to run the risk of heating the lute too much, a tube of copper is to be strongly soldered to one end. The barrel is placed in a long furnace, CDEF, Pl. VII. Fig. 11. so as to have a few degrees of inclination from E to F; a glass retort A, is luted to the upper extremity E, which contains water, and is placed upon the furnace VVXX. The lower extremity F is luted to a worm SS, which is connected with the tubulated bottle H, in which any water distilled without decomposition, during the operation, collects, and the disengaged gas is carried by the tube KK to jars in a pneumato-chemical apparatus. Instead of the retort a funnel may be employed, having its lower part shut by a stop-cock, through which the water is allowed to drop gradually into the gun-barrel. Immediately upon getting into contact with the heated part of the iron, the water is converted into steam, and the experiment proceeds in the same manner as if it were furnished in vapours from the retort.

In the experiment made by Mr Meusnier and me before a committee of the Academy, we used every precaution to obtain the greatest possible precision in the result of our experiment, having even exhausted all the vessels employed before we began, so that the hydrogen gas obtained might be free from any mixture of azotic gas. The results of that experiment will hereafter be given at large in a particular memoir.

In numerous experiments, we are obliged to use tubes of glass, porcelain, or copper, instead of gun-barrels; but glass has the disadvantage of being easily melted and flattened, if the heat be in the smallest degree raised too high; and porcelain is mostly full of small minute pores, through which the gas escapes, especially when compressed by a column of water. For these reasons I procured a tube of brass, which Mr de la Briche got cast and bored out of the solid for me at Strasburg, under his own inspection. This tube is extremely convenient for decomposing alkohol, which resolves into charcoal, carbonic acid gas, and hydrogen gas; it may likewise be used with the same advantage for decomposing water by means of charcoal, and in a great number of experiments of this nature.

FOOTNOTES:

[60] The representation of this apparatus, Pl. IV. Fig. 1. will convey a much better idea of its disposition than can possibly be given by the most laboured description.—E.

CHAP. VII.

Of the Composition and Application of Lutes.

The necessity of properly securing the junctures of chemical vessels to prevent the escape of any of the products of experiments, must be sufficiently apparent; for this purpose lutes are employed, which ought to be of such a nature as to be equally impenetrable to the most subtile substances, as glass itself, through which only caloric can escape.

This first object of lutes is very well accomplished by bees wax, melted with about an eighth part of turpentine. This lute is very easily managed, sticks very closely to glass, and is very difficultly penetrable; it may be rendered more consistent, and less or more hard or pliable, by adding different kinds of resinous matters. Though this species of lute answers extremely well for retaining gasses and vapours, there are many chemical experiments which produce considerable heat, by which this lute becomes liquified, and consequently the expansive vapours must very readily force through and escape.

For such cases, the following fat lute is the best hitherto discovered, though not without its disadvantages, which shall be pointed out. Take very pure and dry unbaked clay, reduced to a very fine powder, put this into a brass mortar, and beat it for several hours with a heavy iron pestle, dropping in slowly some boiled lintseed oil; this is oil which has been oxygenated, and has acquired a drying quality, by being boiled with litharge. This lute is more tenacious, and applies better, if amber varnish be used instead of the above oil. To make this varnish, melt some yellow amber in an iron laddle, by which operation it loses a part of its succinic acid, and essential oil, and mix it with lintseed oil. Though the lute prepared with this varnish is better than that made with boiled oil, yet, as its additional expence is hardly compensated by its superior quality, it is seldom used.

The above fat lute is capable of sustaining a very violent degree of heat, is impenetrable by acids and spiritous liquors, and adheres exceedingly well to metals, stone ware, or glass, providing they have been previously rendered perfectly dry. But if, unfortunately, any of the liquor in the course of an experiment gets through, either between the glass and the lute, or between the layers of the lute itself, so as to moisten the part, it is extremely difficult to close the opening. This is the chief inconvenience which attends the use of fat lute, and perhaps the only one it is subject to. As it is apt to soften by heat, we must surround all the junctures with slips of wet bladder applied over the luting, and fixed on by pack-thread tied round both above and below the joint; the bladder, and consequently the lute below, must be farther secured by a number of turns of pack-thread all over it. By these precautions, we are free from every danger of accident; and the junctures secured in this manner may be considered, in experiments, as hermetically sealed.

It frequently happens that the figure of the junctures prevents the application of ligatures, which is the case with the three-necked bottles formerly described; and it even requires great address to apply the twine without shaking the apparatus; so that, where a number of junctures require luting, we are apt to displace several while securing one. In these cases, we may substitute slips of linen, spread with white of egg and lime mixed together, instead of the wet bladder. These are applied while still moist, and very speedily dry and acquire considerable hardness. Strong glue dissolved in water may answer instead of white of egg. These fillets are usefully applied likewise over junctures luted together with wax and rosin.

Before applying a lute, all the junctures of the vessels must be accurately and firmly fitted to each other, so as not to admit of being moved. If the beak of a retort is to be luted to the neck of a recipient, they ought to fit pretty accurately; otherwise we must fix them, by introducing short pieces of soft wood or of cork. If the disproportion between the two be very considerable, we must employ a cork which fits the neck of the recipient, having a circular hole of proper dimensions to admit the beak of the retort. The same precaution is necessary in adapting bent tubes to the necks of bottles in the apparatus represented Pl. IV. Fig. 1. and others of a similar nature. Each mouth of each bottle must be fitted with a cork, having a hole made with a round file of a proper size for containing the tube. And, when one mouth is intended to admit two or more tubes, which frequently happens when we have not a sufficient number of bottles with two or three necks, we must use a cork with two or three holes, Pl. IV. Fig. 8.

When the whole apparatus is thus solidly joined, so that no part can play upon another, we begin to lute. The lute is softened by kneading and rolling it between the fingers, with the assistance of heat, if necessary. It is rolled into little cylindrical pieces, and applied to the junctures, taking great care to make it apply close, and adhere firmly, in every part; a second roll is applied over the first, so as to pass it on each side, and so on till each juncture be sufficiently covered; after this, the slips of bladder, or of linen, as above directed, must be carefully applied over all. Though this operation may appear extremely simple, yet it requires peculiar delicacy and management; great care must be taken not to disturb one juncture whilst luting another, and more especially when applying the fillets and ligatures.

Before beginning any experiment, the closeness of the luting ought always to be previously tried, either by slightly heating the retort A, Pl. IV. Fig. 1, or by blowing in a little air by some of the perpendicular tubes S s s s; the alteration of pressure causes a change in the level of the liquid in these tubes. If the apparatus be accurately luted, this alteration of level will be permanent; whereas, if there be the smallest, opening in any of the junctures, the liquid will very soon recover its former level. It must always be remembered, that the whole success of experiments in modern chemistry depends upon the exactness of this operation, which therefore requires the utmost patience, and most attentive accuracy.

It would be of infinite service to enable chemists, especially those who are engaged in pneumatic processes, to dispense with the use of lutes, or at least to diminish the number necessary in complicated instruments. I once thought of having my apparatus constructed so as to unite in all its parts by fitting with emery, in the way of bottles with cristal stoppers; but the execution of this plan was extremely difficult. I have since thought it preferable to substitute columns of a few lines of mercury in place of lutes, and have got an apparatus constructed upon this principle, which appears capable of very convenient application in a great number of circumstances.

It consists of a double necked bottle A, Pl. XII. Fig. 12.; the interior neck bc communicates with the inside of the bottle, and the exterior neck or rim de leaves an interval between the two necks, forming a deep gutter intended to contain the mercury. The cap or lid of glass B enters this gutter, and is properly fitted to it, having notches in its lower edge for the passage of the tubes which convey the gas. These tubes, instead of entering directly into the bottles as in the ordinary apparatus, have a double bend for making them enter the gutter, as represented in Fig. 13. and for making them fit the notches of the cap B; they rise again from the gutter to enter the inside of the bottle over the border of the inner mouth. When the tubes are disposed in their proper places, and the cap firmly fitted on, the gutter is filled with mercury, by which means the bottle is completely excluded from any communication, excepting through the tubes. This apparatus may be very convenient in many operations in which the substances employed have no action upon Mercury. Pl. XII. Fig. 14. represents an apparatus upon this principle properly fitted together.

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