obtained approximately by observing the position of the weight on the scale, or it may be obtained more accurately in the following manner:—The upper edge of the shelf on which the weights slide (see fig. 8) is graduated into equal divisions, and the weight is provided with a sharp tongue of metal in order that its position on the shelf may be accurately determined.
Fig. 7.—Lord Kelvin's Ampere Balance.
Fig. 8.—Slider of Kelvin Ampere Balance.
Since the current passing through the balance when equilibrium is obtained with a given weight is proportional to the square root of the couple due to this weight, it follows that the current strength when equilibrium is obtained is proportional to the product of the square root of the weight used and the square root of the displacement distance of this weight from its zero position. Each instrument is accompanied by a pair of weights and by a square root table, so that the product of the square root of the number corresponding to the position of the sliding weight and the ascertained constant for each weight, gives at once the value of the current in amperes. Each of these balances is made to cover a certain range of reading. Thus the centi-ampere balance ranges from 1 to 100 centi-amperes, the deci-ampere balance from 1 to 100 deci-amperes, the ampere balance from 1 to 100 amperes, the deka-ampere balance from 1 to 100 amperes, the hecto-ampere balance from 6 to 600 amperes, and the kilo-ampere balance from 100 to 2500 amperes. They are constructed for the measurement not only of continuous or unvarying but also of alternating currents. In those intended for alternating currents, the main current through the movable coil, whether consisting of one turn or more than one turn, is carried by a wire rope, of which each component strand is insulated by silk covering, to prevent the inductive action from altering the distribution of the current across the transverse section of the conductor. To avoid the creation of induced currents, the coil frames and the base boards are constructed of slate. Kelvin ampere balances are made in two types—(1) a variable weight type suitable for obtaining the ampere value of any current within their range; and (2) a fixed weight type intended to indicate when a current which can be varied at pleasure has a certain fixed value. An instrument of the latter type of considerable accuracy was designed by Lord Kelvin for the British Board of Trade Electrical Laboratory, and it is there used as the principal standard ampere balance. A fixed weight is placed on one coil and the current is varied gradually until the balance is just in equilibrium. In these circumstances the current is known to have a fixed value in amperes determined by the weight attached to the instrument.
Calibration.—The calibration of ammeters is best conducted by means of a series of standard low resistances and of a potentiometer (q.v.). The ammeter to be calibrated is placed in series with a suitable low resistance which may be ·1 ohm, ·01 ohm, ·001 ohm or more as the case may be. A steady continuous current is then passed through the ammeter and low resistance, placed in series with one another and adjusted so as to give any required scale reading on the ammeter. The potential difference of the ends of the low resistance is at the same time measured on the potentiometer, and the quotient of this potential difference by the known value of the low resistance gives the true value of the current passing through the ammeter. This can be then compared with the observed scale reading and the error of the ammeter noted.
Kelvin & James
A good ammeter should comply with the following qualifications:—(1) its readings should be the same for the same current whether reached by increasing from a lower current or decreasing from a higher current; (2) if used for alternating currents its indications should not vary with the frequency within the range of frequency for which it is likely to be used; (3) it should not be disturbed by external magnetic fields; (4) the scale divisions should, if possible, be equal in length and there should be no dead part in the scale. In the use of ammeters in which the control is the gravity of a weight, such as the Kelvin ampere balances and other instruments, it should be noted that the scale reading or indication of the instrument will vary with the latitude and with the height of the instrument above the mean sea-level. Since the difference between the acceleration of gravity at the pole and at the equator is about ½ %, the correction for latitude will be quite sensible in an instrument which might be used at various times in high and low latitudes. If G is the acceleration of gravity at the equator and g that at any latitude λ, then g = G(1 + 0·00513 sin2λ). In the case of an instrument with gravity control, the latitude at which it is calibrated should therefore be stated.
Switchboard Ammeters.—For switchboard use in electric supply stations where space is valuable, instruments of the type called edgewise ammeters are much employed. In these the indicating needle moves over a graduated cylindrically shaped scale, and they are for the most part electromagnetic instruments (see fig. 9).
(J. A. F.)
AMPERSAND (a corruption of the mixed English and Latin phrase, “and per se and,” of which there are many dialect forms, as “ampussyand,” or “amperseand”), the name of the sign & or &, which is a combination of the letters e, t, of the Lat. et= and. The sign is now usually called “short and.” In old-fashioned primers and nursery books the name and sign were always added at the end of the alphabet.
AMPHIARAUS, in Greek mythology, a celebrated seer and prince of Argos, son of Oïcles (or Apollo) and Hypermestra, and through his father descended from the prophet Melampus (Odyssey, xv. 244). He took part in the voyage of the Argonauts and in the chase of the Calydonian boar; but his chief fame is in connexion with the expedition of the Seven against Thebes, organized by Adrastus, the brother of his wife Eriphyle, for the purpose of restoring Polyneices to the throne. Amphiaraus, foreseeing the disastrous issue of the war, at first refused to share in it; he had, however, promised Eriphyle when he married her that, in the event of any dispute arising between her brother and
- See “The Electrolysis of Copper Sulphate in Standardizing Electrical Instruments,” by A. W. Meikle, read before the Physical Society of Glasgow University on the 27th of January 1888, or J. A. Fleming, A Handbook for the Electrical Laboratory and Testing Room, vol. i. p. 343.