Page:Scientific Memoirs, Vol. 1 (1837).djvu/28

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16
M. MELLONI ON THE FREE TRANSMISSION

timetres in length, blackened on the inside; and at a certain distance from the mouths of these tubes are placed the stands destined to receive the screens. In strictness, a single tube and a single stand would be sufficient, and one of the sides of the pile might be closed by means of a small metallic cover; but, when we have to operate on bodies differing in quality and thickness, it often happens that they differ in temperature not only from one another but from the pile also. Then if we place but one screen before the apparatus, the calorific actions at the two sides are unequal, the index of the galvanometer moves away from zero, and we must wait for some time until the equilibrium of the temperature is established and the index returns to its original position.

Now this inconvenience cannot occur when the pile is furnished with two tubes and two stands; for, by placing before each side of it a plate of the same quality and thickness, it is clear that, if care be previously taken to place the two in the same circumstances, they will have the same temperature, and will consequently emit the same quantity of heat on the two sides of the pile. The index of the galvanometer will remain stationary, whatever may be the difference of temperature between the plates and the thermoscopic body, and we may therefore immediately proceed with the experiments. Hence, if we would save time, we should always have a pair of screens of each sort; and, as we have just observed, put both sides of the pile in the same state.

In order to ascertain the influence exercised on free transmission, by the different circumstances relating to the surface, the volume, and the composition of the screens, we must procure a constant source of heat. For this purpose, there is nothing better than a good lamp with a double current of air and a constant level. When this apparatus is well prepared and filled with oil freed from mucilage, by means of sulphuric acid, we obtain a flame which maintains an invariable temperature for more than two hours. Of this I have been able to satisfy myself by means of the thermomultiplier. But in order to have things in this preparatory state, we must wait some moments until the pipe, the oil, and the glass funnel of the lamp shall have attained a maximum of temperature. This time, which varies a little with the construction of the lamp, is about ten or fifteen minutes.

There may be some objections raised against the employment of an Argand lamp as a calorific source. It will be said, perhaps, that in this lamp the heat acts only through the glass funnel; that the funnel itself becomes heated, and mixes its rays of nonluminous heat with the luminous caloric of the flame; and lastly, that such a source of heat is neither uniform nor separated from the agent which usually accompanies it in high temperatures.

But I wish it to be particularly observed, that the only thing about which we are interested at present is, to know whether the state of the