Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/881

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
857
FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

mound extends for about twelve feet outside for the greater part of the circuit, and here most of the bone and flint implements have been discovered. The largest article found in the site was a very fine canoe, thirty-seven feet long and forty inches beam, dug out of a single oak tree, which lay in what has proved to have been a dock. A curious ladder was also found here, the rungs of which were cut out of the solid wood, and which has somewhat the general appearance of a post of a post-and-rail fence. The exploration of the site is much interfered with by the rising of the tide, which covers the crannog for a considerable time every day. All the relics found—consisting chiefly of objects of bone, staghorn, jet, chert, and cannel coal, with some querns, the canoe, ladder, etc.—have been placed in the museum at Glasgow.

 

Portland Cement.—The following facts are taken from an address delivered before the Franklin Institute by Mr. Robert W. Lesley: "It was not until the end of the last century that the true principles of hydraulic cement were discovered by Smeaton, who, in the construction of the Eddystone Lighthouse, made a number of experiments with the English limestones, and laid down, as a result, the principle that a limestone yielding from fifteen to twenty-five per cent of residue when dissolved in hydrochloric acid will set under water. These limestones he denominated hydraulic limestones, and from the principle so laid down by him come the two great definitions of what we now know as cement, namely, the natural and artificial cements of commerce. The natural variety, such as the Rosendale, Lehigh, and Cumberland cements, was first made by Joseph Parker in 1'796, who discovered what he called 1 Roman cement,' based upon the calcination at low temperatures of the nodules found in the septaria geological formation in England. This was practically the first cement of commerce, and gave excellent results. Joseph Aspdin, a bricklayer or plasterer, took out a patent in England in 1824 on a high-grade artificial cement, and, at great personal deprivation, succeeded in manufacturing it on a commercial scale by combining English chalks with clay from the river beds, drying the mixed paste, and after calcining at high heat the material thus produced, grinding it to powder. This cement, which was the first Portland cement in the market, obtained its name from its resemblance when it became stone to the celebrated Portland stone, one of the leading building materials in England. The rocks used in the manufacture of Portland cement are very similar to those from which natural cement is made. The various layers in the natural rock may vary in size or stratification, so that the lime, alumina, and silica may not be in position to combine under heat, or there may be too much of one ingredient, or not enough of the others in close proximity to each other. In making Portland cement, these rocks, properly proportioned, are accordingly ground to an impalpable powder, the natural rock being broken down and the laminae distributed in many small grains. This powder is then mixed with water, and is made into a new stone in the shape of the brick, or block, in which all the small grains formerly composing the laminæ of the original rock are distributed and brought into a close mechanical juxtaposition to each other. The new rock thus made is put into kilns with layers of coke, and is then calcined at temperatures from 1,600° to 1,800°. The clinker, as it comes from the kiln, is then crushed and ground to an impalpable powder, which is the Portland cement of commerce. Portland cement may be made from other materials, such as chalk and clay, limestone and clay, cement rock and limestone, and marls and clays. In every case the principle is the same, the breaking down and the redistributing of the materials so that the fine particles may be in close mechanical union when subjected to the heat of the kiln."

 

The French Nontoxic Matches.—It is believed, by Frenchmen at least, that the problem long sought, of finding a composition for a match head in which all the advantages of white phosphorus shall be preserved while its deleterious qualities are eliminated or greatly reduced, has been solved in the new matches which the French Government has placed upon the market. These matches are marked S. C, by the initials of the inventors, MM. Sèvène and Cahen, are made in the factories at Trélazé, Begles, and Samtines, and have been well received by the public. In preparing the composition, the chlorate of pot-