1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Aerated waters

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AERATED WATERS. Waters charged with a larger proportion of carbon dioxide than they will dissolve at ordinary atmospheric pressure occur in springs in various parts of the world (see MINERAL WATERS). Such waters, which also generally hold in solution a considerable percentage of saline constituents, early acquired a reputation as medicinal agents, and when carbon dioxide (fixed air) became familiar to chemists the possibility was recognized, as by Joseph Priestley (Directions for impregnating water with fixed air . . . to communicate the peculiar Spirit and Virtues of Pyrmont water, 1772), of imitating them artificially. Many of the ordinary aerated waters of commerce, however, do not pretend to reproduce any known natural water; they are merely beverages owing their popularity to their effervescing properties and the flavour imparted by a small quantity of some salt such as sodium bicarbonate or a little fruit syrup. Their manufacture on a considerable scale was begun at Geneva so far back as 1790 by Nicholas Paul, and the excellence of the soda water prepared in London by J. Schweppe, who had been a partner of Paul's, is referred to by Tiberius Cavallo in his Essay on the Medicinal Properties of Factitious Airs, published in 1798. Many forms of apparatus are employed for charging the water with the gas. A simple machine for domestic use, called a gasogene or seltzogene, consists of two strong glass globes connected one above the other by a wide glass tube which rises nearly to the top of the upper and smaller globe. Surmounting the small globe there is a spring valve, fitted to a narrow tube that passes through the wide tube to the bottom of the large globe. To use the machine, the lower vessel is filled with water, and in the upper one, round the base of the wide tube, is placed a mixture, commonly of sodium bicarbonate and tartaric acid, which with water yields carbon dioxide. The valve head is then fastened on, and by tilting the apparatus some water is made to flow through the wide tube from the lower to the upper vessel. The water in the lower globe takes up the gas thus produced, and when required for use is withdrawn by the valve, being forced up the narrow tube by the pressure of the gas. In another arrangement the gas is supplied compressed in little steel capsules, and is liberated into a bottle containing the water which has to be aerated. On a large scale, use is made of continuously acting machinery which is essentially of the type devised by Joseph Bramah. The gas is prepared in a separate generator by the action of sulphuric acid on sodium bicarbonate or whiting, and after being washed is collected in a gas-holder, whence it is forced with water under pressure into a receiver or saturator in which an agitator is kept moving. Some manufacturers buy their gas compressed in steel cylinders. The water thus aerated or carbonated passes from the receiver, in which the pressure may be 100-200 lb on the square inch, to bottling machines which fill and close the bottles; if beverages like lemonade are being made the requisite quantity of fruit syrup is also injected into the bottles, though sometimes the fruit syrup mixture is aerated in bulk. For soda water sodium bicarbonate should be added to the water before aeration, in varying proportions up to about 15 grains per pint, but the simple carbonated water often does duty instead. Potash water, lithia water and many others are similarly prepared, the various salts being used in such amounts as are dictated by the experience and taste of the manufacturer. Aerated waters are sent out from the factories either in siphons (q.v.) or in bottles; the latter may be closed by corks, or by screw-stoppers or by internal stoppers consisting of a valve, such as a glass ball, held up against an indiarubber ring in the neck by the pressure of the gas. For use in soda-fountains the waters are sent out in large cylinders.

See W. Kirkby, Evolution of Artificial Mineral Waters (Manchester, 1902).