Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/111

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101
FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

ous over the business. The countenance of the President glows with satisfaction over the thought of all the good he is doing. For our part, we view the matter in a different light. The money will, of course, meet certain expenses of government in Puerto Rico; but there is reason to fear that it will do as much to pauperize the island in one direction as the restriction of its trade will do in another. What the Puerto Ricans want is not alms, but commercial liberty. The repayment of this money will not stimulate their trade; it will not stimulate anything except their helplessness. It is an open question whether they will suffer more by our protectionist greed or by our wishy-washy sentimentality. Meantime what are we to think of the party system whose exigencies place us in so ridiculous a position before the world? How long shall it abuse our patience?

 

Fragments of Science.



Ventilation of Tunnels.—The question of the ventilation of tunnels forms the subject of a series of articles, by M. Raymond Godfernaux, published recently in Le Génie Civil. The principal sources of definite information, upon which the discussion of M. Godfernaux is based, are the reports of the committee on ventilation of tunnels of the Metropolitan Railway of London, and of the commission appointed by the Italian Minister of Public Works to investigate the tunnels of the railways of the department of the Adriatic. Although the vitiation of the air in a tunnel may proceed from three sources—i. e., the lighting, the respiration of the passengers, and the combustion of the fuel in the engines—yet the two former sources are insignificant compared with the latter, which alone need be considered. The principal products of combustion which are injurious are carbonic acid, carbonic oxide, and sulphurous acid. Of these it is found that the proportion of carbonic oxide should not exceed 0.01 per cent, which corresponds to 0.13 per cent of carbonic acid in excess of the normal proportion of 0.03 per cent and to 0.00027 per cent of sulphurous acid. In practice it is found that if the total proportion of carbonic acid be limited to 0.15 per cent the proportions of the other gases will be well within the comfort and danger limits. This is much lower than is often attained in crowded auditoriums, where the proportion of carbonic acid sometimes reaches 0.4 to 0.5 per cent, but in such cases there is no carbonic oxide produced, while in the case of tunnels traversed by steam locomotives we may assume that the carbonic oxide will be about 1 to 13 of the carbonic acid, and the sulphurous acid about 1 to 440. Assuming a given limit of deterioration of the air, it would be easy to devise a system of ventilation if it were possible to treat the tunnel as if it were a closed room or controllable space. In practice, however, the conditions are peculiar. The space to be ventilated is a long, narrow passage, usually open only at the ends, and traversed periodically often almost continuously, by trains in one or both directions, these trains emitting the objectionable gases and also disturbing the air currents best adapted to proper ventilation. How best to reconcile these conflicting conditions forms the problem under consideration. Where there are but few trains it has been proposed to close the ends of the tunnel by doors, and provide a fan exhaust or pressure system, but this method is obviously limited in its applications. The practical conditions which must be considered are those in which frequent trains in opposite directions pass through the tunnel, and these conditions M. Godfernaux has analyzed graphically in a very interesting manner. Assuming a double-track tunnel eight hundred metres (a metre contains