Page:Scientific Memoirs, Vol. 1 (1837).djvu/16

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4
M. MELLONI ON THE FREE TRANSMISSION

it is then exposed to a heat twice as strong, and therefore exhibits a far greater effect of conduction. Hence it follows that when we deduct from the observation furnished by the transparent glass the observation furnished by the glass blackened, the result obtained will be lower than the true temperature of the rays transmitted freely. But the error will not be the same in all cases. Being of no account when boiling water is employed, it will increase in proportion as the temperature of the source is raised. The measures of the free radiations which suffer the greatest diminution will be those furnished by the highest temperatures. Hence it is evident that this latter cause of error in the measure of the immediate irradiation, instead of invalidating the law of Delaroche, serves only to give it greater certainty. We are therefore justified in saying, as we have said, that the want of exactness in the method has no influence whatsoever on the truth of the law which it has served to establish.

To Delaroche we are also indebted for a discovery, no less important than the foregoing, relative to the amount of loss sustained by the same rays of heat in passing successively through two squares of glass. But I abstain, for the present, from entering into any detail on this subject, as I shall have occasion to speak of it hereafter[1].

None of those whose labours we have been thus briefly noticing has thought of making an exact comparison between the transmissions of caloric rays through screens of different kinds; and, if we except the experiments of M. Prevost and those of Herschel, from which no consequence can be deduced, all the others were confined to the single purpose of ascertaining the law of transmission through glass only. Neither has sufficient attention been given to the influence of the state of the

  1. I must not omit to mention that, notwithstanding the results obtained by Delaroche, some most eminent philosophers (and of these it will be sufficient to name Laplace and Brewster) continued to deny the immediate transmission of heat through transparent solid bodies. Their principal objection was founded on an experiment of that author, from which it was inferred that a thick glass intercepted a greater quantity of radiant heat than a thin glass, though the former was much more transparent. It was insisted that this circumstance proved the presence and action of heat successively propagated from one surface to the other, and every elevation of temperature observed on the other side of the screen was assigned to the conductible caloric. This opinion can no longer be maintained in defiance of the results furnished by the application of the thermomultiplier to this species of phænomena. It will be seen, further, that the calorific action through a transparent layer is instantaneous, and that the time necessary for the instrument to mark its total effect is the same, whatever be the quality or thickness of the screens. Let the direct rays from an unvarying source of heat be received on the thermoelectric pile; let them be first made to pass through any diaphanous screen of one hundred millimetres in thickness: the index of the galvanometer sets itself in motion from the instant when the communications are established, and stops after having described an arc of greater or less extent in an unvarying interval, which, with my apparatus, I find to be ninety seconds.